There are certain areas in my life in which I am pretty confident. These include activities, responsibilities, and skills that I have worked hard to achieve competency. The problem is–and maybe you’ve experienced this too–sometimes I stop getting the results I want. While I’m still putting in the effort, I’m no longer seeing progress.
For example, you could be an experienced parent who knows what to do in any situation, yet suddenly your child begins acting out and you have no idea why.
Maybe you’re successful at work, but now there are so many new changes being introduced that you just can’t keep up.
Or maybe you’ve recently moved to a new city and all your old ways of managing life just aren’t helping you get ahead.
What do we do when this happens? Do we just give up and accept the fact that we’ll never be at the place we once were? Are there actual steps we can take to get past these challenges?
My issue lately has been my health. I’ve never really discussed my health in my writing before because it’s a rather sensitive subject, especially in the last couple years.
My health journey in a nutshell is this:
In high school, I was at a normal weight in spite of the massive amount of junk food I ate. After high school, my weight slowly crept up and I still knew very little about being healthy. I got married and later acquired an office job where I packed on the pounds. I attempted to eat healthfully, but I still had a major sugar tooth. I ate a lot of carbs and sugar.
My weight fluctuated between my first two pregnancies. After my second child was born, I tried an extreme diet and lost over 30 pounds in a short amount of time. While I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this diet, I did develop self-control in my eating. Plus, I learned how to cook more with vegetables. Because it was a strict no-sugar diet, I kicked my sugar addiction (and, yes, it is an addiction).
At this point, I started taking my health more seriously. I even went through stretches of vegetarianism and veganism. I began consuming more fruits, vegetables, and whole foods while cutting out the carbs and sugar. I was finally beginning to understand my body and how food interacts with it.
I’ve always been active. Through high school, I played sports and I even continued playing volleyball through my adult years. Exercising usually is not an issue since it has always been a way of life for me.
I had my health and my weight on track. If I ever saw the scale creeping up, I knew what to do. My third pregnancy was much different than my first two. I stayed healthy and after my baby was born, I only had about 10 excess pounds to lose, which I lost quickly.
I was in control.
Then about two years ago, I noticed some weight gain. I did what I normally did and got strict with my diet, but I saw no change. In fact, I kept gaining! I put in more effort to no avail.
This happened to coincide with our family’s decision to move to Redding (read about it here), so perhaps all the changes caused extra stress in my body. I’m also in my mid-thirties, so it could be hormonal (boo).
Whatever the case, I figured I could just keep doing what I was doing and eventually I’d see changes. I was wrong. I continued to eat right and exercise and my body decided it wanted to gain 30 pounds. I had kept the weight off for roughly six years. I couldn’t figure out what the problem was.
That’s when I knew I had to do something different. The old ways weren’t cutting it anymore. I did a lot of research and talked to my nutritionist friend who helped me figure out some supplements that would balance my hormones.
The biggest change, though, happened when we moved to Southern California: I joined a gym and started taking a healthy meal replacement shake. I’ve never had a gym membership, mostly because I had never need one. I am self-motivated and I enjoy working out at home by myself. But, like I said, that wasn’t working anymore.
I ended up hiring a personal trainer, who was very helpful in showing me the ropes and setting me on a weekly schedule of muscle-building and fat-burning.
I’ve been loving my new healthy diet too. I have a ton of energy and feel great. I hate counting calories and depriving myself, so this works great for me. On top of that, I’ve already lost 8 pounds! With how difficult it’s been for me to lose weight (or even stop gaining weight), that is a miracle!
The most difficult part for me in this season was acknowledging I needed help. That’s probably why I waited so long. I just figured that I could do it all by myself. It took 2 years and 30 pounds to realize I couldn’t do it alone. I needed help.
I needed to humble myself to the process. I needed to submit to the knowledge and experience of my trainer and other people. I needed the support of others.
The other hard part in all of this was embracing the journey, especially as I’m surrounded by hard-core fitness buffs. I’m looking at my pudgy body in the mirror lifting 15-pound weights while standing next to the Jillian Michaels look-alike dead-lifting God knows how much weight. That’s humbling. But I’m ok with the process. I know that I’ll continue progressing as long as I’m consistent. My success is my showing up to the gym 6 days a week for the last 3 months. That’s something I can be proud of.
If you find yourself in a similar place as I have, I would encourage you to get help. Read a book, take a class, talk with friends or someone more experienced, hire a trainer. Whatever you do, don’t be stagnant. You may need to accept the reality that the old ways of doing things are no longer cutting it. When we’re stuck and not getting our usual results, we need to introduce new strategy.
You were not meant to remain stagnant and stationary. You were created with the power to grow, the ability to change, and the longing to mature. Do not allow disappointment, failures, and setbacks to keep you from where you desire to be and what you want to attain. You can do this!!
To see my “after” picture and to read about why I think health is important, please check out this blog!