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After Thanksgiving, and a string of crappy weeks in the fall, I decided to climb back onto the wagon with a BANG, and challenge myself to finish 2017 stronger than ever!

I started a “35 days of gainz” challenge on social media, and invited my Anytime Fitness members to join me, (as well as my coworkers and friends and anybody else who was feeling inspired) to try to attempt to complete one work out a day, every day, until the very end of the year.

It could be as little as taking a quick walk around the block with your dog, or a full on, metabolic “burn-down-the-house” kind of workout! Either way, I was committing to making sure that my body was up, moving around, being active, every single day…till the new year.

It has been an amazing, but challenging feat, but as I write this I am proud to say that I have already done my workout for day 22, of 35. (With 13 days left to go!) I have lost 7 pounds, but the greatest part of all, is that I feel BACK in action!! My slump that I fell into is ancient history, and I love feeling active, and alive again! #FitnessMagic!

Amiright?!??

LOSING weight between Thanksgiving and Christmas??

Cray.

Im feeling myself.

Im walking taller.

Ive got my bounce back in my step.

Im feeling strong, and confident once more, trusting this darn process, and chasing after my best self.

And then it happened.

One of my amazing Team Mates posted a VERY sweet shout out to me on our gym Facebook page, and within seconds, some random dude (not even a member) had posted this comment.

I quickly hid it so that no one could see it, and think that this was how anyone at our gyms behaves or treats people. (Because its 1,000% NOT!)

Now I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me. For the first few seconds it literally stung my face as I read it, but I let it dissolve and I just shook my head, because unfortunately this is the kind of thing that happens to us big girls (and dudes!)

All. The. Time.

You CAN NOT POSSIBLY assume to know what kind of journey someone is on, just by looking at them. In fact, one of the MOST wild things I have learned on my fitness journey, is that no matter what size you are, (whether you’re starting out 200lbs overweight like me, or you’re looking like the most fit person in the gym, cutting weight for a bodybuilding show) we all struggle with the very same exact body image issues, fears and doubts in our minds.

The reason I decided to share this here on my blog, is because I want you guys to know that we CANNOT be derailed by ANYTHING or ANYONE.

This could have triggered me, and set me on a downward spiral for weeks if I had allowed it to plant a seed in my heart, and let that old voice start to speak to me again.

Instead, I TOLD myself the TRUTH:

*I have just worked out 22 days in a row!

*I’ve lost over hundred pounds, and and am working on at least 80 more to lose! While getting stronger and faster every damn day.

*I’m actually the CLUB MANAGER of one of the best Anytime Fitness locations in the whole country, on the baddest ass team of people, (who LOST IT when they saw this comment…let me tell you) who have my back and wont EVER let me quit!

*I have the most wonderful, loving husband who has loved me even before I could love myself. We have a beautiful, active family! I am richly blessed!

*I REPRESENT SO MANY OF MY BEAUTIFUL MEMBERS. I can NOT allow one ignorant comment to wilt my resolve. My people are counting on me to show them that we are strong enough to withstand any road block, even fat shaming!

We are NOT what others THINK we are.

Do NOT listen to the voices of fear and doubt.

SPEAK truth to yourself instead.

Raise your forks with me, to 2018!!!!

Its going to be a HELL of a year!!!

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Attitude is Everything: Fat chick at a Fitness Conference 2.0

I just just stuffed my backpack above me, and sank into my plane seat. I take a deep breath and close my eyes with relief. Im ready to head home and see my family.

I’m exhausted.

Sunburned.

Dehydrated.

And definitely, hungover.

But I feel like I just won the lottery.

My heart is full.

My LIFE is full.

I look down at myself and and survey the scene:

Even though I’m still squeezed in close to my favorite travel teammate, I’m buckled into my chair with ease. It just keeps getting easier and easier for me to travel! I say a silent prayer of thanks, knowing how HARD this has all been for me before.

Walking down the isle of the plane, my sides no longer brush and bump the peoples arms, and it feels amazing to not have to apologize for my existence…walking that gauntlet of shame.

I’m wearing pajama pants, a Palm Springs conference tee, purple shoes, and my purple running man, manicured nails are clutching my purple water bottle and brand new copy of “Love Work” by Chuck Runyon. I notice my “persist” running man, flame tattoo on my wrist and wonder if I’ve not just stepped into overkill territory?

I’m a hot-AF-post-conference MESS!!!!! But, I LOVE IT.

You see, last year I struggled.

( You can read all about that here: https://mandimonblog.wordpress.com/2016/09/14/fat-chick-at-a-fitness-conference/ )

Last year, I was still trying to be invisible. Despite my efforts, I was still battling with shame, discomfort and embarrassment with my body. And, If I’m being completely honest, not much has changed for me physically in a year. I’m down about 30 more pounds from the Lake Placid Conference. I’ve gained muscle and more endurance, but this time the weight I’m most proud of losing, was in my heart and mind.

This year I was was promoted to manager of my Anytime Fitness club, and I took that position of leadership VERY seriously. I have battled with that dark part of myself that felt fearful and unworthy. I finally surrendered to the fact that my value as a leader was NOT based on a certain number on the scale. If that were the case, I wouldn’t have been offered the position, right?

Being FAT is NOT the worst thing a person can be.

Your value and worth as a human is not worth less if you are fat. But being miserable, ashamed, depressed, suffering with pain and barely alive IS the WORST thing a person can be. And THAT is what has changed for me with the magic of fitness. THAT is what I LIVE to show the people who come into my gym everyday. The scale will move…but I must PERSIST.

My value is here NOW. It always HAS BEEN. I decided to OWN the fact that I am “representing a possibility”.

Ive decided to OWN the fact that I actually have an advantage with my size, and that WONT last forever.

I have the ability to say,” Look at me…I work HERE. I workout HERE. I was changed HERE. I found out who I truly am in HERE. I was welcomed and loved HERE…and so are YOU.”

It has been the most powerful year of my life. Realizing that all of the members in my gym, that I have the honor of representing, are looking to me as an example of persistence, and they are proud of me…that is enough to snap me out of any self doubt or sabotage.

There have been MANY struggles and setbacks…and times where my confidence and resolve was shaken, but there has been a permanent shift in me, and it SHOWED itself this week in Palm Springs.

No longer was I desperately trying to blend in and disappear. I just literally, let it all hang out, and allowed myself to just be MYSELF.

Proudly, alongside my team…my family… just like I am everyday in our clubs. Why would I want to come to conference and be anyone other that who I am everyday with my people?? If I’m constantly urging them to step outside of their comfort zone and believe in themselves…shouldn’t I be??!

Last year I was afraid to workout alongside 2,000 people for a world record breaking 3 minute workout. This year, I jumped into a live, 45 minute group session on the purple turf, in the middle of the trade show, with tons of people watching (and the AF corporate head trainer/she-hero herself, Rachel Prairie!) and did NOT CARE. I know what I am capable of.

This is it. This is who I am, and this is who has been given this amazing opportunity to live in the crazy fitness world and grind.

I TRULY was “hired to inspire” and I am so unbelievably grateful.

To my team, each and every one of you has made more of an impact on my life than you will ever know. You have made me one of you since DAY ONE and I am forever thankful for how you have changed my life and never let me give up. I’m so honored to live this life with you guys.

And, to Brandon and Amber Borden, my club owners, who just won the 2017 O2i of the Year Runningman Award…thank you.

Thank you for changing my life, and then taking a crazy risk in hiring me, believing in me and pushing me to be better and better and BETTER. I am so proud and honored to be on #teamborden and am SO EXCITED the whole AF world got to see/hear how amazing and special you two are. Also, I’m sorry I “Kanye-ed” you on stage. With all this new confidence…I do declare, I literally could not help myself. 😜

Fat chick attempting a 5K



A few days ago I walked my first 5k.

I repeat, a few days ago I walked a 5k.

Me.
Still over 300 lbs, me. 
Still in pain from nerve damage in my feet, me.
Still fat, plus sized and jiggly me.
Still scared that I might get made fun of or fail, me. 
Still huffs and puffs even though I’m killing workouts 6 days a week, me.
I, signed up for…and actually finished a 5k.  It took me just over 1 hour.  H
I still almost don’t believe it.
Last July on my birthday, if you would have told the almost 50 pounds heavier and 100% more miserable me…that within 6 months my life would be different and I would have accomplished my first 5k, I would have laughed in your face! 
My first day in the gym back in August was an alarming eye opener as to how really out of shape I was!   I barely did 15 minutes on the treadmill at a speed of 2.0 and went strait to the bathroom and burst into tears.  I called my husband at work, crying and humiliated.  Overwhelmed at the long and grueling road I had ahead of me.  Unsure if I was really going to be able to do this everyday.  
The pain was sharp and unrelenting.  My feet were swollen.  My body was heavy and not used to being pushed beyond what I was able to do everyday to run my household.  It was like staring up at the Empire State Building and knowing I had to get to the top by climbing the stairs.   Who wouldn’t want to turn around and bolt?! 
Everyday after I had to MAKE myself drive over to that gym and climb on the treadmill.  
Even though it hurt.  
Even though I hated it.  
Even though I felt stupid. 
 I told myself that if my husband had to make himself get up and go to work everyday, I had to get up and make myself come here, THIS would be job right now.  Since I couldn’t  yet do it for myself, I did it for him.  
Knowing it was a sacrifice for our family to rely on his income only so that I could dedicate myself to getting healthy, I made myself go.  I did not want to waste the gift he had given me in believing in me.  
So, I made myself walk.  
I made myself do an extra minute here and there until eventually I was able to stay on for 30 min. 
 I made myself do it everyday. 
Then I made myself do what the trainer asked me to do.  I totally submitted myself to her authority and would not allow myself to not at least try and do the things she told me to.  
Even when it hurt.  
Even if I felt like a wiener. 
Even when I’d catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror to see that my belly was showing doing the ball slams, and I wanted to die from disgust and shame.   I’d pull down my shirt and make myself keep going, even though all I wanted to do was grab my keys and speed away in my truck, and never look back. 
Those first two months were brutal. 
Sometimes it’s still brutal. 
Sometimes I still catch glimpses of myself and am bummed that more progress and hard work isn’t visible.  
And sometimes I complete 5k’s and feel like I own the world.
Sometimes I amaze myself by the workouts that I’m able to do know.
The endurance I’ve built.
The weight I can lift.
The distances I can go.
Sometimes I’m amazed at how bad I want to be in the gym everyday day now! 
How excited I am to push myself.  
How amazing it feels to make my family proud.
How amazing it feels to make myself proud. 
I’ve always wanted to do a 5k and I never did. 
 I was afraid.  
Well now I can say I’ve DONE one.  
One goal reached and many more to come.  Im not where I want to be yet but I’m well on my way, because I’m not afraid anymore.  And as cliche as it sounds…if I can do this, quite LITERALLY anyone can do this.  


Don’t stop till you get enough

15 days of “sober” living and “in bounds” eating.

I have survived baby showers, dinners with friends, restaurants, and a church dinner that ended at a friend’s house with a buffet of See’s candy.

Seriously.

Thought I’d share a little bit of what I’m experiencing half way through:

– Structured eating has given me confidence and a feeling of freedom that I would not have imagined. It seems to have muted the obsession with food I felt I was a slave to. Since the overeating has always been some weird attempt at exerting control, it’s surprising that staying “in bounds” makes me feel more in control than ever. Thank you Jesus.

– I’m learning to listen to my body. How I feel, what I need is based more now on feeling hungry or not. Stopping when I’m full, and honoring that. Before it was just a free for all…all the time. I was compelled to eat even when I was not hungry.

– I have been drinking tons of water and know that my body appreciates it. Some of the inflammation I was experiencing in my feet has minimized because my body is not retaining water. Not having as much of the intense pain I was experiencing is enough to dance a jig. This alone makes it all worth it.

– I am not planning to weigh myself till my 30th day…but I do feel “bendy-er”. My clothes fit a pinch better. I’ve got more energy. I don’t feel gross or sluggish.

These are some of the exciting rewards I am enjoying for the hard work I’ve put in. I am experiencing a determination that I never have before and I am just simply grateful. Thank you to,everyone for all of the continued support, enthusiasm and encouragement. I feel like the hard part was actually starting DAY ONE.
Now, I just have to keep going…

Happy Monday!

Terrible news and scary times seem to be made WORSE by reading the debates and nasty comments people are dumping out freely.  Is hard enough to try and process the facts... #notetoself

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