Sunday, November 22, 2015

REACHING THE TOP

After 14 months of working with a personal trainer, participating in a group workout class, and eating healthy, I reached my weight loss goal.   On that very day, August 18, I weighed in with a 41 pound,  32 inch loss.  Why 41?  Why not 40 or 45?  The answer was simple for me.  My goal weight was the amount I weighed when I got married in 1988.

Setting a goal weight was easy and hard for me.  As I've mentioned in previous posts on my journey at Motions Fitness, my initial goal was not about weight loss, but for pain relief.  I knew I was overweight, and I didn't have much confidence at that time that I would ever weigh much less.  So why not choose a weight I was sure I'd never see?!  That part was easy.  When my personal trainer, Lisa, asked me to set a goal on the very first day, June 20, I threw out that number - 41 pounds!

The hardest part of this journey wasn't what you might think.  The hardest part wasn't about stopping my sugar intake or adding more protein, though they were big changes for me. The hardest part was developing the kind of thoughts and beliefs, the mindset, the personal confidence that I could really get there.  After all, if I thought I could do it by myself, why would I need Motions Fitness and a personal trainer? If I thought I could do it, that would mean I would believe in myself.  That was the hard part, for I haven't had much self confidence throughout my life.  I was taught that you didn't brag about yourself, for if you did, you should be ready to suffer the consequences somewhere down the line.  And being chubby as a child, led to shyness and disbelief that I could accomplish any physical fun. Because of being a fat kid, I was also bullied, which in turn led to more feelings of inadequacy.

I have faith in Jesus Christ, my Saviour, too.  I believe that God loves me no matter what decisions I make in my life.  But could it be that God was leading me here? Did He want me to realize that I could be so much more - stronger, healthier, full of the Spirit?  I never considered that God had a hand in my choice to go to Motions, until I went there.

There have been two other accomplishments in my life that I would consider reaching the top - raising three children to adults, mostly as a single mother; and graduating from college after a brain injury. All accomplishments have many factors. Mine were financial, mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual.

All the while I was working towards this physical goal, I started letting go of the fears from childhood, and the feelings of inadequacy that I had learned to accept in myself as an adult. I started seeing God's will for my life, a newer healthier life. One of my favorite scriptures, Isaiah 40:31 which is also a song, kept going around and around in my head during this time:

ON EAGLE'S WINGS

by Michael Joncas
1. You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord, who abide in his shadow for life, say to the Lord: "My refuge, my rock in whom I trust!"
REFRAIN: And he will raise you up on eagle's wings, bear you on the breath of dawn, make you to shine like the sun, and hold you in the palm of his hand.
2. The snare of the fowler will never capture you, and famine will bring you no fear: under his wings your refuge, his faithfulness your shield. (REFRAIN)
3. For to his angels he's given a command to guard you in all of your ways; upon their hands they will bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone. (REFRAIN)

Life is about joys and successes, but also about detours and bumps in the road to success, ones that knock you down and possibly hurt you to the core. There were times I thought I would never reach the top, and although I had set a safety net of allowing myself to quit, it wasn't long before I realized quitting was no longer an option.  And once I started to see progress in my abilities, along with pain relief and weight loss, I knew that I was on a new road to the top.

I did lose the 41 pounds.  I did strengthen my core to relieve the hip pain, and learn to keep it away by daily exercise.  I learned to make healthy food choices to eat healthier .... for the rest of my life.  But I also learned to let go of the childhood fears and love myself.  Yes, loving yourself is as much of an accomplishment as loosing 41 pounds and choosing to live healthy.  We've all heard of the idea that you can't love others until you love yourself.  I finally understand that.  I love who I was meant to be.  And that, I can tell you, is such a freeing thing!

So on August 18, I reached the top. But I'm here to tell you that being on the top does not have quite the view that I imagined.  Before I got to my goals, I thought I could sit back and relax, and do anything I wanted, when I reached the top, when I reached my goal of pain relief and a healthy lifestyle. That is a false assumption.  I've realized that working hard to get to the top (reaching my goal) doesn't stop there.  I must continue to make the same wise and healthy choices I've made during my struggle to stay here, because I have a new lifestyle, a new way of life.  I can live healthier because I am healthier.  I never once thought that by reaching the top, I would find some new goals and accomplishments to strive for, but that is what happened to me.  With the accomplishments I have, now I can move on to bigger and better things that I would have never, never even thought of, with the mindset of failure and fear I had.

At three months out, after reaching my goal, I still have challenges.  That is life.  I have moved on from group exercise and working with a personal trainer. I do outdoor fitness as much as the weather allows, carry out my personal stretches and exercises based on my own needs, and am considering what other healthy exercise choices are available for me. I still encounter situations and people that could let me enforce my safety net of quitting.  But I am stronger inside and out, and having reached the top, I know that I have to rely on what has kept me strong all this time - my faith and exercise and healthy eating choices.

Feeling free from the burdens of fear, failure and inadequacy, and a new-found love for myself, I have discovered that I can care about others without personally involved because my own needs are being met.  And because my own needs are being met, I have noticed that I no longer strive to make others happy as my number one goal - it just seems to come naturally out of my love for myself and the activities I engage in.

Finishing a project, successfully carrying out an activity, or participating in a fundraiser and reaching the goal were the only kinds of activities that had goal setting in mind for me.  So how has reaching the top changed the way I think about these types of things?  All of them are valid goals, but by having the ability to reach the top as I now have, I also have learned that I have what it takes to take these activities to a higher level.  I've found myself thinking, "now that we've done this, how about if we take it one step farther?" I can apply this famous quote, "To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield" by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

By reaching the top, I can say "the sky is the limit" and now have higher goals to set, with no fear holding me back.  A song I learned as a teen says what I have felt and am feeling when I think about my accomplishment and moving forward:


I'd like to climb to the top of a mountain so high
and lift my head to the sky
and say, "How happy am I"
that I'm working and giving and helping the land I hold dear.
Yes, I like it, I like it, I like it here! 

This song was originally posted at:
http://bussongs.com/songs/i-like-it-here.php

My next goal?  Perhaps going back to college and taking classes for the meer enjoyment of it!

It is my hope and prayer for you that if you are feeling down, that you are able to find within you a strength that can help you strive for a higher goal.  You can do it!  You can reach the top!

Thanks for stopping by!

SB

No comments:

Post a Comment