It has been a while since I've done this. I've engaged in other forms of exercise, but nothing is quite as challenging or delivers better results for me than running. I put Kate in a stroller, pulled up my app that tracks my pace and distance, and set off.
For the last 18 years or so, ever since the birth of my first child, I've struggled with getting myself back in shape. I've read and studied about nutrition and exercise, and put many things into practice. I've studied emotional triggers and spiritual strength and the roles they play, and many other little things that have helped along the way, yet the success I longed for was still elusive. I knew WHAT to do, I just couldn't get myself to do it long enough to be effective.
Failure after failure took its toll on my self worth. Why did I keep making the same mistakes over and over again, and why couldn't I be a finisher? And why did it matter so much to me? If I wasn't destined to succeed, why couldn't I just accept myself the way I was? Not only that, but my repeated failures at losing the weight were painfully obvious to everyone around me. (Painful for me, anyway. I am surrounded by wonderful, loving, supportive people, but have hated wearing my shortcomings so publicly.)
As we traveled home from our family vacation in August, I thought about what my next attempt at personal health and fitness was going to look like. I made some plans, but was wary of hoping for too much.
My kids began school, and I was seeing modest success in my efforts. As the school year set in, I began to worry about my lovely daughter. Ashley was dealing with a lot of demands, and her health was suffering. She was experiencing stomach problems, pain, and fatigue. I knew that it was because the first things to go when the road got rough were her personal health habits, and she was under tremendous stress. She was hardly sleeping, and there was no time to blow off any steam by going for a run. Previously, some of those things were built into her schedule, but when she had to give up organized sports after her injuries last year (story here), it was easy to let those things go, and she was paying the price.
As I thought about how to help her one day, I had one of those mirror moments. Don't you love those? I realized that she was following my example by sacrificing her health for other pursuits, however worthy they might be (and how many of us are guilty of that?), and that if I wanted to help her, I needed to lead by example.
I went and saw a doctor, who after checking out my overall health, gave me some rather specific instructions. I followed them exactly. As I did, I found that I felt great, and the little missing pieces of the puzzle began to fall into place: those small things I had been unaware of that had prevented my success in the past.
|#31 - That's my boy.|
7 weeks later, I am down 31 pounds. I have not arrived, and I know that there is still significant effort ahead, but I am now certain I will succeed.
Best of all, I am helping my family. Ashley has found a running partner and scheduled some time, and has found that she can run again without pain. (Hooray!) She changed some things around to enable herself to reduce the stress and get more sleep, and she is feeling better. I am so glad she has the chance to learn these things here before heading off on her own.
Yesterday, Cameron approached me in the foyer and "blocked" me like he does when playing football (except much more gently!), pushing me backward across the room. He smiled and commented on how easy that was now and told me how proud he was of me.
However, despite how good success feels, I am grateful for the years of struggle. I honestly would not change a thing if I could, because of what I've learned along the way. It has all led me to where I am now, and helped me in other areas. I've not only learned how to care for my body, but I've learned how to keep going when things get hard. I've learned how to rely on the Lord to overcome my weaknesses, and that my husband is an angel who will love and support me through EVERYTHING, and never stopped seeing the real me. And so much more!
How wonderful the school of life is! So grateful that even during those times that feel just awful, there is still good to be found and progress being made.