Do you know that woman who has it together? The one whose children eat broccoli and who looks healthy, happy and fit? For many years I resented her just because she represented everything I wasn’t.
At the time I was a preschool teacher in an affluent community where the majority of moms dropped their kids off on their way to a workout. I would look at my insecure, overweight self who had been on the couch for years and I would feel myself fall short. I compared my inside to their outside. I failed to recognize these women had their struggles, and made their own sacrifices to be who they were.
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Instead of making a decision to turn things around, I would put them down so I could feel better about myself. “But look, she feeds her child Oreos, I would never do that.” Of course not … I would be the one eating the Oreos.
But about three years ago, I decided to change. I didn’t have a health problem or a burning bush moment; I was just tired of being tired. One of my classroom moms owned a small gym and I asked if she could help me get started. She did, and the rest is history.
I didn’t last in the gym, but working out there led me to feel like I could finish a short triathlon. Fifteen races later I am just shy of my biggest show yet: an IronMan triathlon (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run). If you would have told me three years ago I would be training for an IronMan someday, I would have told you: “I’m sorry, but you mistake me for someone else.”
And though I am still not that super fit woman whose children eat broccoli … I am happy, healthy and doing things I never dreamed possible. If I can change, so can you.
Here are some strategies I’ve used that can help you get going:
Focus on you. Stop looking at everyone else; this is about you, not your daughter, mother, husband, neighbor or friend.
Admit defeat. Admit that there are areas in your life that aren’t working and inventory them. You can’t improve upon what you don’t measure. Ask yourself: do you live a mostly sedentary life or are you active? How is your diet? Be honest: no one is looking and no one is judging.
Example: I am mostly sedentary, and though my lunch plate has a healthy salad, my desk drawer has a stash of afternoon treats. By 4:00pm I am so tired I need a coffee or something sugary to get me going. I run out of breath going up a flight of stairs. I drive everywhere I go.
Set goals. Where do you want to be? Don’t measure success by weight loss but rather by how you want to change.
Example: I want to fit comfortably into my clothes. I want to wear a bathing suit without feeling I need a cover; I want to be able to keep up with my kids when they run in the park; I want to stop needing my treats.
Pick your battles. Change does not come overnight. What will you tackle first? You can’t change your eating, fitness, and family health all at once. Pick your first obstacle.
Example: I will incorporate exercise in my day. I will join the beginners running club at my local running store, or attend a Zumba class at my gym, or sign up for the martial arts studio, dance tango. Your choice.
Become accountable. Nothing keeps you more honest than reporting results.
Examples: Announce to the world your intentions. Tell it on your social media channels, or document your journey. Find a friend to meet you on a run/Zumba/karate date. Sign up for a race, a karate test, or set a date to nail a Zumba song.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Stuck in a rut? Don’t know where to start? Lost your mojo? Talk to a friend, an online group or email me! Just don’t give up.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step—you might as well take it now! I know from my own experience and I assure you, a healthy, happy you is wanting to come out. The human body has an undeniable ability to change and I promise that if you make a commitment and take these steps, you too can find yourself doing things you never thought possible.