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Start: One Day at a Time

There was a time, when I was at my heaviest weight of 324 pounds, that I would easily be one of the heaviest people in a fitness class, if not the heaviest one there. I remember the first ever Boot Camp class I attended and how intimidated I was walking into that room and humiliated I was after I finished the class. I actually wrote a blog post about it back on December 21, 2013. Here is an excerpt:

A couple nights ago,  I attended a Boot Camp fitness class for the first time.  I really didn’t know what to expect.  Shortly after the class began, I heard the instructor say we’d be doing 1600 reps of exercises to begin with.
Wait, what?  Did she just say 1600?
She had a list of exercises for us all to complete, fifty reps at a time.  Everyone kind of works at their own pace until they have completed all the reps.  For example,  some of the exercises were knee to elbow crunches, mountain climbers, push ups, scissor kicks, fire hydrants,  squats, lunges, and the list goes on.  You complete your fifty reps and then move on to the next exercise.
Let me just say, some of those exercises were extremely difficult for me to do.  I hadn’t done a lot of them in years, and others I had never tried at all.  I was struggling.  But I pushed through and finished to the best of my ability.
But I was the last one finished.  I don’t get easily embarrassed, but for some reason that night, it just hit me in the gut.  Whether it was unfounded or not, I was disappointed in myself.  I got mad at myself.
For the first time since I have started this journey, I was just plain ticked off at what I had allowed my body to become.   Angry at myself for being complacent for so long.   Embarrassed that I couldn’t keep up when once upon a time I could have.  Frustrated that no one else looks at me and sees an athlete inside when I know she’s there waiting to get out.
After that, we did some more exercises.  Then, when class was over, I got in my car and had a little pity party meltdown and cried on the way home.  Then cried on my husband’s shoulder when I got there.
He quoted what I wrote Wednesday right back to me, “All that matters is that you’re doing it.”
I am so glad he can help me put things into perspective.  Now, two days post workout, I can look at everything objectively.  All that matters is that I was there.  And I worked out hard as I could.  And I’m making steps in the right direction little by little. 
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It is so surreal to look back on that night, to remember what I felt when I was first starting my journey. To see what state of mind I was in when I was in an all out battle for my health, one that would ultimately lead me to having weight loss surgery and be where I am today.
I’d like to tell you that that was the only night that I ever walked into a Boot Camp or Zumba class and felt intimidated, embarrassed, or self-conscious, but it wasn’t. I felt that way most of the time. But I kept going anyway. I pushed myself to do things that made me feel uncomfortable.

If you’re just starting your weight loss journey, or are close to the beginning, let me talk to you for a minute.

Starting is hard. It’s uncomfortable. It’s intimidating and embarrassing sometimes. You have to push through those feelings. You have to get out of your comfort zone to change. Change is never easy. Cultivating new habits is never easy. Creating a life you love is worth the uneasiness that comes with being thrust outside of your comfort zone. Being in your comfort zone is what got you to where you are now.  It’s uncomfortable to change your eating habits, to cut out foods that are a comfort to you. Do it anyway. It’s unnerving to walk into to a fitness class full of fit twenty year olds that are bouncing around like jack rabbits when you are struggling to pick one foot up off the ground. Do it anyway. It’s exhausting to make yourself walk your miles for the One Hundred Mile Challenge after you’ve worked all day or taken care of kids all day. Do it anyway. Put one foot in front of the other; one step at a time, one mile at a time and get it done.

Hear me on this: You are worth the effort it takes to take control of your health! You are worth it!

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Guys, taking control of your health and actively changing your eating and exercising habits take grit. It takes pluck. It takes gumption. It does involve getting out of your comfort zone, whether that is making the decision to have weight loss surgery, or to step foot in the fitness class. It takes a willingness to be uncomfortable.

The hardest step in any journey is the first one. It’s getting out of your comfort zone so that real growth can happen. I just want to encourage you to start. Start where you are, push yourself a little more each week, and soon that thing that was so hard at the beginning isn’t as challenging and you can push yourself to do the next hard thing!

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