Coldest Before the Sunrise

Two months ago I posted about my journey down a hard road that led to my decision to go ahead with gastric sleeve/weight loss surgery. Making that kind of life changing, and permanent decision was NOT easy. I was scared. Scared of the actual procedure, and doing something SO permanent to my body…and mostly, scared of what EVERYONE would think of me for making that decision. As much as I hate to admit it…the fear of letting people down, especially everyone in this fitness world I love, with people who have grown to respect me and support me whole heartedly was crippling.

Would they understand?

Will I be strong enough to persist if they dont?

But beyond my fear, there was peace. Knowing that everything I had worked for had set me up for this next step. All of the work and dedication would not be lost by finally “surrendering” to surgery…the years of hard work was preparing me for it, and setting me up for the optimum outcome, so that I COULD level up to a new season of freedom. Blogging about it, and posting it for the world to see made it official. A ceremonious show of faith. Surrendering that fear, and trusting what I KNEW was true, despite some who would disagree or be disappointed.

“Once all struggle is grasped, miracles are possible.” -Mao Zedong

A few days after that post, my whole world got turned upside down because of a video I had posted on my AF club’s Facebook page, that went crazy viral for a few weeks.

https://www.facebook.com/anytimefitnessnorthreno/videos/1828428767179406/

This video was made and posted in a moment of pure passionate impulse. My YEARS of absorbing the pain of terrible comments and the desire to protect my members from feeling that in our gym spurred me to action, and I truly DID NOT KNOW how much it would resonate with people. It was truly a miracle. I had NEVER spoken up for myself before. But I knew…if I was going to protect my members from nasty comments I HAD to have the courage to protect myself first.

Here I was, surrendering all I had to the hope of becoming something better…and within days I felt like God had taken my broken little bits of fear, shame and surrender and laid out a beautiful, mosaic path of hope, beauty and confirmation. A masterful and custom tiled path to my life’s purpose.

It wasn’t ME that made people connect to the video. It was bigger than me. It was only my willingness to speak. People connected to the pain and fear of being discounted, misunderstood and looked down upon. People connected with the intimidation of putting yourself out there, where you might be exposed and vulnerable to mockery or judgement. And people were inspired that it could happen…but you could PERSIST anyway.

It was amazing. To date, the video has reached over 500,000 people and has been shared over 3,000 times on Facebook, around the WORLD. I was asked to do interviews for the newspaper and local news. The articles multiplied overnight and so did the attention. It truly felt SURREAL to have so many people care about anything I had to say for 30 seconds, let alone for articles and interviews?! So many beautiful people reached out to me, sharing their own experiences. So many beautiful comments of love and encouragement. It was a crazy WAVE of love that came crashing out of nowhere.

Because of that video, I was also gifted with an AMAZING opportunity to go to THE MOST AMAZING wellness retreat in Northern Minnesota ( https://thepointretreats.com/) where I was fortunate to meet the MOST amazing people. I was also invited for a visit to Anytime Fitness Headquarters in Woodbury, MN, where I was treated like a queen for the day, got to chat with our MFCEO Chuck Runyon and my favorite AF rockstars, and spoiled rotten with love and support from my purple tribe.

It. Was. Unbelievable.

The whole time, being FULLY aware of my body and the space it takes up while traveling on planes by myself. The whole time, knowing my surgery was quickly approaching and how much physical, mental and spiritual work I still had ahead of me, reminding me this journey is far from over…and in some ways, just beginning. And lastly, knowing the whole time and being fully aware that for every 100 or so comments of love from sweet strangers on the internet, there was ALWAYS at least one or two mean and painful zingers, lurking from trolls and haters.

It all kept me completely anchored to humility during my little 15 minutes of fame. And in one of my many moments of panic and fear through all this, God gave me the best gift while out camping with my family and good friends.

My daughter had woken up at 4 in the morning on our last night and couldn’t get calmed down so I put her in her sleeping bag in the backseat of my car. I sat up in the front seat and we both fell back to sleep. A couple hours later I woke up because I had suddenly become CRAZY cold. I barely opened my eyes and saw that the sky was that perfect shade of blue just before the sun rises. There was a thin blanket of fog slowly rolling along the top of the lake we were camping by. It was one of those quiet moments early in the morning where you feel you’re the only person alive in the world. As I sat up and started pulling my arms into my sweatshirt to warm up, something my dad always used to say to us growing up, taking us fishing popped into my head.

“It’s always coldest just before the sunrise.”

As soon as I heard that I stopped.

I knew.

As cheesy as it sounds, I knew in that moment everything would be ok. All of the hard times, humiliation, shame, disappointment, embarrassment, doubt and fear would pass. I knew that it was not in vain. My body has served a bigger purpose, even in a state that I would not have expected.

Nothing is wasted.

Because, its always the coldest…just before sunrise.

You cant appreciate freedom without knowing the pain of bondage…and sometimes we all feel bound in bodies that we dont feel free to love.

It takes intentional WORK to appreciate what our bodies DO for us everyday, despite what they LOOK like. But that consistent work, leads to freedom.

When I first began this blog, I had no idea the journey I was starting. I had no idea fitness and exercise would become a LOVE and passion. I had no idea that I could be so surprised and honored by what my body was capable of. I had no idea how that would begin to build a magical, force-field of confidence that would spill over into all the areas of my life. It has changed me as a mom, a wife, sister, daughter and friend. It has changed my heart and my mind. It has given me the courage to take care of myself, and put myself and my health FIRST, in ways I never have before. Which is how I ended up choosing to have a drastic surgery, that would restore my stomach back to a size its supposed to be.

Of course, as I completed all the steps, and jumped through all the hoops required by my insurance and the reality of this surgery drew nearer, I prayed for confirmation that I was making the right decision. It came in an email that I received saying I was approved for surgery on my birthday, July 6th.

BIRTHday.

This whole process has been labor. Making a life change IS hard work. Changing the way you eat is hard. Starting to workout and exercise is HARD. And if you dont quit when it gets hard, you’ll find that it is A LOT like laboring and birthing a new YOU.

My surgery was a success. My surgeon said it only took 30 min to complete the procedure, and told us that he believed I did and would do SO well because of all the hard work Ive already done over these years, and will continue to do.

The biggest judgment and misconception I had about the surgery before, and the stigma I will fight now, (and probably fight forever!) is that this choice was a “cheat” or “cop out”. That could NOT be further from the truth. This has been WAY harder than I ever thought, and the next phase of work is JUST beginning!! I still have to WORK in order to continue towards my goals, despite what most people think. It has been a long journey to get here…but I do feel like the sun is starting to rise now.

*****THANK YOU******

To my Husband, squad, family and friends who have been here for me during this past 6 months….you’ll never know the depth of my gratitude, and what it has meant to me to have the unwavering support I’ve had to be able to do this. You KNOW who you are. Thank you.

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WAIT GAIN

“In these bodies we will live, in these bodies we will die, and where you invest your love… you invest your life.” – Mumford and Sons, “Awake My Soul” 

It’s true what they say…about social media being a highlight reel of our lives. A carefully curated presentation of the best moments, best angles and most brag-worthy accomplishments. I am 100% guilty of it. Its easy to share the good news, when you’re on top and killin it.

But what about when you’re not?

This is the post I have been waiting to write.

Probably the most controversial post I will write.

After starting in 2014 and losing almost 130 lbs on my own and hitting a long stall, I’ve spent the last year finding out what it felt like to continue to stall, break through, plateau, re-gain then re-lose, and gain again.

Again and again.

What comes along with this toxic spiral is my crazy fat girl brain. Stressed, desperate, disordered eating brain starts sneaking in. Out of control, relapsed, food addiction brain. Compulsive, negative, unhealthy patterns, and trying to hide out brain. The brain that starts to remind me of all the negative stuff that I have worked so hard to over come.

Which REALLY sucks because the entire reason I embarked on this journey was for freedom from all that. Freedom from the grip that food had on me, and the prison an unhealthy relationship with food turns your body into. No amount of exercise can overcome it. Trust me. I know. Because I love the way fitness has transformed my life and made me feel.

I feel AMAZING when I work out. My body is strong. I LOVE what I am capable of. But it has not been enough. Im still running as hard as I can into the same brick wall of food addiction and finding myself stuck in this same prison.

So, I have made the decision to have weight loss surgery.

There it is.

I have tried to write this post for weeks. Knowing that those of you who have followed and supported my journey deserve to know, just as I deserve to feel unashamed about my decision….but here I am anyway, feeling anxious to share, because there is a HUGE stigma.

A stigma that I myself perpetuated while I was “losing my weight naturally.”

A stigma that suggests that bariatric surgery is “a cop out” or a “cheat”.

A stigma that suggests that this is the way lazy people try to lose weight.

A stigma that is most likely spurred on by those who have never carried 100+ extra pounds around on their bodies, and had to endure all that comes along with it. Including, being faced with making a decision like this.

The truth is, anyone can lose weight.

This is what I know FOR SURE. If you make up your mind, research whats best for you, make a plan and stick to it…it WILL happen. You will lose weight.

However…what I didn’t know was how hard it would be to keep it off, leave it off, and keep my muscle and sanity while still having 100 MORE pounds to lose!

I didn’t know how my body/biology would FIGHT me constantly to get back to a certain weight, and the mental toll that would start to take on me. And I certainly didn’t know how to keep myself from falling apart emotionally and making it all worse, creating a big, FAT, toxic cycle. Which is what I set out out to change in the first place! Breaking this cycle for my daughter.

Its more than just losing weight and “staying committed” or “buckling down” when your compulsions have the potential to lead you down a road where you’re justifying throwing up the food you just ate, or any other number of psycho/harmful behaviors some of us resort to when we feel desperate.

This is real.

This is MY real life.

And I know I’m not the only one. The struggle is REAL. Thats why I know I have to share.

This decision has not come without some agonizing conversations with myself, loved ones and God.

How do you lose 128lbs (at the height of my weight loss) and still find yourself at this decision? Has everything you’ve worked for been in vain?

How do you know what miserable life you left behind at 400+ lbs and have the audacity to gain weight back after publicly professing it would ever ever happen?

How do you silently judge others whom have had the sugery and think to yourself, “that is a copout or easy way out…” because you dont want to admit you are actually jealous of the help they’ve sought out while you’re struggling and full of shit?

How do you keep credibitly with your DREAM JOB at a gym, with your members whom you love, and with co-workers/family whom you admire?

What about family and friends who’ve been so “inspired” while your whole story has been about I CAN…and this all seems like a surrender to I CAN’T?

I could give you a million reasons why I’made this decision. I could explain and convince. I should, but I’m not going to.

I want freedom.

I want to be ABLE to do all the things I want to do in this one life that I’ve been given. And that reason is enough.

That has always been my WHY.

I am ready to break down this brick wall and keep going!

This doesn’t mean I’m stopping or quitting ANYTHING!!! I just plan to use this to crank everything up a notch and be able to kick a LOT more ass!!!

There is so much I have changed about our lifestyle already, I feel so grateful for the timing of this, and how much I have truly gained by waiting until now to decide on medical intervention to further me on my fitness journey. I feel like good or bad, each step forward has only helped me to be strong enough to make lasting changes.

I have the full support of my husband, family and closest friends. I am obsessively grateful and starting to release the fear of failure and judgement…and step into what is waiting for me on the other side.

And, I am finally ready to declare that I am willing to do WHATEVER it takes to get there.

Begin Again

It’s November in Northern Nevada and the weather has just started getting wet and cranky.  I’m standing outside my gym in the rain.  My body is hot, and I can see steam floating up off my arms as I lean against the wet wall and let allow myself 1 minute to cry.  I had been pushing all of my built up emotions down and down and down, as far as I could, throughout the whole workout.  I finally had to step out so that I wouldn’t choke on my own feelings lodged in my throat.  “1 minute, that’s all you get.” I tell myself.

Pushing yourself physically in a workout will ALWAYS break down those walls we work so hard to put up.  It exposes you, makes you feel vulnerable and you cannot hide.  That is part of why working out is so uncomfortable for most people at first, and we don’t like to do it!   But eventually, it turns into a magical, victorious, HIGH, that us weird fitness people chase like a drug.  That feeling when you’ve conquered the initial discomfort and you start to feel stronger, faster, BETTER. Suddenly there is NOTHING you cant face out in the world, once you’ve faced yourself in the gym.

Fitness magic.

But…starting over is SO HARD.

“I am so tired of feeling this way.  Is this ALWAYS going to be how it feels?  Why did I do this to myself? Why did I stop??!  Will I ever get where I want to be?” I think to myself, as I struggle to catch my breath.

So MANY valid excuses…that mean absolutely NOTHING in this moment, because I feel defeated and robbed of all my confidence I had worked so hard for.    I lean over with my hands on my knees. I take in deep breaths and let the rain fall on my back, and my mind race.  Tears rolling down my face.   “Here I am, eating my own words.” I say out loud to no one, and laugh.

I stand up, wipe my face with shirt and head back in to the session to finish, because even though I fell off my wagon for a bit, I CANNOT quit.  Too many people are counting on me to BELIEVE in what I talk about everyday.

So here I am, walking my talk.

My 9 year old daughter has been asking everyone in our family if she is fat.

It’s been very subtle, but I have discovered that she has been privately polling multiple family members at different times and it shatters my heart.  She is NOT fat, though I know there have been kids at school who have called her fat, and she has become sensitive to it.  I recognize those feeling all too well.

I worry, is it because of ME? Because her mom is in THIS body? And her mom was in another body before that? And working on another body still?  Has she, despite my best efforts, inherited my shame?  Has her being present and aware of my weight loss journey/body image journey/self acceptance journey, done the opposite of what I had hoped? I wanted to show her that despite everything and ANYTHING, I am capable of AWESOME…so that she could KNOW that she is too?

Even just typing this, I can feel my insides start to ache with the thoughts of her not knowing how beautiful and magical she is.

I watch her when she doesn’t know I’m  looking, and wonder how I made this human.  Her little 9 year old girl face. Her nose is freckled like mine.  Her hair is thick, blond and short. She likes it just long enough to tuck behind her ears.  She is a tomboy who loves to fight and wrestle and get dirty.  She LOVES karate.  She hates pink and loves black and green.  But she also thinks boys are SO CUTE (especially Justin Bieber and her 20 year old karate instructor, AJ).

She is in love with love.  She thinks shes going to grow up and marry her dad.  She loves to hug and kiss and crawl ALL over us, and declare her love for everyone, much to the dismay of her big brother.  She’s obsessed with all kinds of animals (except creepy crawly ones) and her heart is so tender,  she cries instantly if an animal is lost, hurt or wounded in movies.  She loves to crank her music up and sing at the top of her lungs…but gets embarrassed and shrinks all the way down to the floor if she catches us listening.  She loves to laugh.  Once she starts up its hard to get her to settle down.

She is our favorite girl in the world!! My ladybug.

And some asshole kid called her fat?

Who could ever know the depths of how wonderful she is just by looking at her?

But isn’t that true for all of us? How do we so quickly forget that we are harboring all the BEST parts of ourselves inside of these bodies, and not the other way around??

Coming home from our conference in September was a climatic whirlwind. There was an overload of praise, contentment, pride and satisfaction with ALL THE THINGS!! And there was also recovery from being dehydrated,  and off of my regular routine of steady workouts and usual diet.   I happily let myself enjoy it ALL, and honestly never quite made it back to “normal” before going on another trip and adding insult to injury.  Slowly and surely I started to make excuse after excuse and feel like crap.  Days turned into weeks, weeks turn into months and lbs turn into more lbs. I gained some weight back, and started to spiral downward and feel out of control and lose heart.

The good news is, it is my job everyday at my club, to convince people that no matter how far they have fallen off the wagon…they can get back up and try again. It is my job to assure people that even though it SUCKS in the beginning…it turns into magic when you start to love yourself.  It is also my job to continue to KEEP IT REAL. All along, sharing this journey, with all of its ups and downs.

And my most IMPORTANT job, is showing my little girl that my value as a woman is not defined by the state of my body, but the state of my heart!

So, I had to begin again.

And, however many times I have to start over, I will. Again and again, I HAVE TO. Because I have to show my girl that there is so much more that makes a person special than what their body looks like!!

And, for those of us who continue to get back up and keep trying, despite seeing the results we want to see immediately, and despite all of the doubts, fears and setbacks…KEEP GOING.

Push through, until it is magic again.

Heavy Hearted 


This comparison stopped me in my tracks yesterday, and I was saving it for #facetofacefriday on Instagram. Same picture with my beautiful cousin Maria and I…but with a three year difference and what feels like an emotional lifetime apart.

I was excited about this because rarely do I physically get to see the BIG, “100lbs lost” kinds of changes (since I see my dang self every dang day and I still have some dang weight to lose!!) but this NSV was pretty cool for me! The picture taken in 2013 was just after our family reunion that a bunch of us cousins had worked hard on for months to pull together for our huge, Italian family. It was a big deal! There were about 75 people in attendance. As excited as I was to be a part of such a wonderful family event, deep inside my heart I was mortified that all of my family members were seeing me HUGE and out of control and easily around (or slightly over) 400 pounds. 

Even though I hated having my picture taken, I posed happily with my cousin Maria in my living room as we said goodbye…not knowing when we would get the opportunity again.  

This last weekend we did! 
My whole family threw my dad a surprise 60th birthday party, and when the weekend visits and festivities were all said and done, I found myself once again in my living room saying goodbye to my cousin and her family. We took almost the same exact picture and I was curious to see the difference between the two. I dug through the archives of social media and there it was! I was so blessed to see such evidence of change in my face, and more importantly to KNOW how much my life has changed since 2013. I couldn’t wait to make a side by side to post and share the progress with you, my online “fitfam”! 

And yet today…I’ve struggled to post it. Who cares about my “face to face Friday” pic?!  With all of the bad news on the news every single day…it’s hard to imagine any of this matters.  

I’ve not wanted to be disrespectful of current events by going along with my life as if everything is ok, and act like my weight loss pictures are important.  

Nothing is ok.  

The world has gone mad.  

I was awake most of the night, restless.  

Thinking about everything on the news. Like everyone else, I’m sure. 

Awake with fear and wrestling with all the unknowns. Alert with grief for ALL of the families laying awake out there in the world with shattered hearts. Worried about what might be coming up around the next corner for us all. 

Minnesota, Louisiana, Georgia…and still the aftermath settling in Orlando, Florida. And now, what’s unfolded in Dallas, Texas? I imagine so many more people than I can imagine laid wide awake last night.  

With shattered hearts and numbing disbelief. Living a nightmare.  

Loved ones ripped away from their lives and loved ones with violence.  

I know everyone has something to “say” about this today. Everyone is making “statements” about how they feel, and I guess this is mine, and that in some way pouring out our hearts and thoughts out here is ALL we can do right now to somehow try to connect and comprehend what’s happening? I don’t know. 
There’s no way I can possibly understand the depth of the despair and fear that is growing out there. It has only grazed my life from a safe distance each time I watch the news or scroll through my social media feeds…but it is enough to make me shutter and want to board up my family in our house and never come out again.  

I’m sure that’s how a lot of people feel this morning.  

Weary and wary of other people.  

There’s a heaviness laying right on top of all of us, in every city, as we try to go about our day today.  
It’s almost enough to make you wanna give up hope…but my faith (in God who is the ultimate source of perfect LOVE) showed up in my life today in a thousand different tiny ways and restored, at least for a moment, a tiny glimmer of hope that gave me peace.

Love showed up when I kissed my husband goodbye early this morning and was reminded that I still get one more day with the guy. 
Love showed up when I got up to get my day going and realized that our automatic deposits went through over night, and we are able to pay our bills and feed our kids. Always providing for every need. 
Love showed up when I went to my gym to workout and people were still sincerely smiling at me and wishing me a good morning, despite the sadness we were all feeling.  
Love showed up in multiple, beautifully and thoughtfully written posts from friends, standing firm in love and brotherhood regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliations. 
Love is everywhere if you stop and look for it. Even in a random little weight loss post. That’s what I’m choosing to look for today. And so, I’m going to share my “#facetofacefriday” post in name of love, because this is my corner of the world and I’m going to try and live it to the fullest while I still can.

I LOVE my life, however long I’ll get to live it, and this picture shows how hard I’ve worked to say that and really mean it. 

In the tiniest way, I hope that putting this out here in the world counteracts some of the negative…as we sift through all this bad news. May God have mercy and lead us all in a better way.  

When you wish upon a star


 

 “You know, any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.” – Jiminy Cricket 

When I was little, I used to look out my window and find the brightest star I could and make wishes. I was quite a dramatic kid. It makes sense now knowing that I’ve been a sensitive artist type all along, always leaning toward the whimsical and romantic. 

I used to wear my Grandmas satin nightgowns and high heels for dress up and imagine I was a princess or some fancy rich lady. I would go into her backyard, and remember feeling like it was an enchanted garden, where I was the center of everything wonderful. I used to constantly daydream and pretend.   
I’ll confess, as corny as it is to admit…I still do. I think that is why I have such an obsession with Disney, it allows me to reach into that place in my heart that still believes in magic. 
A wish is a “desire or hope for something to happen”. How many thousands of wishes have we had so far in our lives? 
How many of them have come true, unnoticed or forgotten about?
As we become adults our skeptical nature outgrew our ability to believe in wishes.  

Experience left us jaded.

Doubtful. 

Bitter.  

We learned that we must be responsible and realistic. We learn to rely on judgment and sometimes sarcasm to survive. Packaging up all of our hurts and disappointments from our childhood and carrying them around with us through life, waiting to find a place to set them down and rest.  
Some of us found a resting place in our friends, careers, and family life. Some found it in romance, accomplishment or a certain faith.  
But at some point, our little hearts grew hardened and we stopped believing. Finding that place to rest and catch our breath has become the goal of this life in some ways.  

Some of us do it well, and we find some contentment. While some of us crash and burn again and again. 

“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called “all the things that can go wrong”.”            -Marianne Williamson   

 

For me, it showed itself in my body. The bigger I got and the more I would eat to find “rest”…I lost the belief that I was special and made for any special reason.  
Even after I found my true love and got married. Even after I experienced the joy of becoming a mother. Even after I poured my whole heart into my faith and truth as I understood it, I still felt unworthy and discontent. I didn’t believe that it was possible for me to be the me that I wanted to be, and that I felt was created to be.  
I put up a front for a long time. Doing all the “right” things that I thought I was “supposed” to do, all the while believing that there was no use. I was destined to fail and live with a certain level of misery.

And then I began to believe it could be different. 

While on vacation last week at Disney World, I found myself reminded again and again of the power of what we BELIEVE.

I know, I know, it’s cheesy but I can’t help it! God speaks to us in all kinds of ways. During the fireworks performance at the Magic Kingdom, I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I heard Jiminy Cricket say, “You know any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.”  

Gratitude for all the ways that my life has changed from one little moment of courage. 
Gratitude is the secret path back to believing in magic.  
We are blessed beyond what we can even fathom on a day to day basis.  
The air we breathe, the water we drink, the opportunities, the compliments, the genuine friendships and relationships and ultimately the choice, again and again to choose LOVE instead of FEAR.  
Every single day of my vacation as I walked and walked and WALKED some more, I found myself saying thank you. My body was able to take me all over the place and endure the many hours of walking in the Florida heat. My body has changed for sure, but I know it had to begin in my mind. 

“Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is GOOD and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 NLT 



http://youtu.be/cRIzFNeEMqs

 

Taking Inventory

IMG_1207


“Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger.”
Proverbs 19:15

This is a scripture that I came across yesterday. It completely represents how far I’ve come spiritually on this journey.

I was constantly tired and constantly hungry. Constantly eating…but never satisfied. And sadly, deeply depressed. This was haunting to read, because it is hard to be honest with myself and admit that that was me.

Idle is a term which generally refers to a lack of motion or energy. I was an idle woman.

Self discipline is doing what needs to be done even when you don’t feel like it.

I’m still working on this virtue, but now I can honestly say that my days are filled with energy and motion!
I love it and I’m sad I waited so long to make this change. Every day I keep pushing forward and stay consistent is another day it all just becomes a normal part of my life.

And not just the gym grind, but also household work/chores and keeping commitments…being on time…being a woman of my word. Slowing down and being more intentional with my kids and following through. Planning ahead…making healthy meals. Even silly stuff like taking the actual time to do my makeup and hair on a more regular basis. I like that I’m becoming someone who takes care of her business. I like being someone who no longer wastes the time I’ve been blessed with.

The more self respect I gain, I am more comfortable shedding the tolerance for negative attitudes, vibes, relationships and habits in my life. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I’m enjoying this snowball effect. As I continue to take care of myself, I am finding that I am taking care of all my “stuff” too. It feels amazing. 😍

Balance

For someone who is a self-realized extremist, an “all or nothing” mentality has been the way I’ve approached most things. Nothing being the most common outcome, at least as far as my health and fitness was concerned.

Its been easy to get stoked and declare big plans in the past only to fizzle out quickly. It’s just not realistic to live the rest of your life eating nuts and leaves or consuming only juiced vegetables and fruits. I am the person who watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and immediately declared a 30 day juice fast that lasted about 9 hours. I am the guy that has tried to cut out whole entire food groups and expected miracles. I have mixed drinks and shakes and supplements of every kind, variety and flavor. Every effort was made to cut through the lengthy process that would be inevitable to reach extreme results. All attempts ending in the same way, disappointment and eventual surrender. This time feels different because it is different.

If there was one word that I had to choose to sum up what I’ve had to keep learning over and over and OVER, and repeat as a sort of mantra the past 4 months, it would be BALANCE.

“Balance” has been the hardest concept to embrace and put into practice and is probably why all of my previous attempts at a life change were fleeting. Consistency requires balance. It’s my trainer, Rachel’s favorite word. She reminds me constantly that this whole thing is all about balance. It’s the only way I survived the holidays without throwing in the towel.

There are going to be chocolate days. There are going to be stay in jammies and watch endless movie days. But now there are also work out days, and clean eating days. Cardio days and strength training days.

And this is my life now. No more going from one extreme to the other.

Just like I’m learning to eat the proper balance of macro-nutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) for the results I want, I’m also learning the proper balance between the physical effort, spiritual effort and soul effort that this journey requires. It is just as important for me to enjoy a meal cooked with love and butter and a glass of wine with friends, as it is to have a protein shake on a weekday morning. It is just as important for me to make time for writing, art and expression as it is to make time for prayer and meditation. Self-care is HUGELY important and may actually be the key to all that I’m accomplishing. And isn’t that so hard for us?? To take proper care of ourselves without feeling selfish or vain?

Every time I feel myself getting hyper about the scale not budging as quickly as I’d like it to, or the size of my pants not dropping dramatically, I am reminded that I’m learning balance and self care. It restores my focus. Even if I never lose another pound, if I can continue to practice balance, there’s no way I can lose.

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Reining it in

I love that my hair is long enough to pull up into the perfect messy bun.  No strays or stragglers.

I love that I opened this window on my left side and a burst of warm summer wind hit me in the face like a pleasant surprise.

I love that my Pandora is playing all the songs I like so I don’t have to waste any skips.

I love that my dog always knows just when I need her to snuggle up against me and be my friend.

I love that my babies are running through my house having fun despite me yelling at them to knock it off.

I know I will miss their mess and noise someday and I only need a moment of intentional gratitude to sober me.

I love that when I stop and take notice, I am overwhelmed with things to say thank you for.

The hardest thing about being a realist is that you’re really only a pessimist in disguise.

To halt myself from traveling down the familiar gloomy tracks and force instead a stroll down a brighter path…

Well, I’m more comfortable sitting in the shade.

My disappointment hangs from my body,

heavy and always inconvenient.

Protecting me from pain but hard to ignore…and if I’m being honest it only makes it worse.

But I am told to be in the light as He is in the light…

and I was.

Spent the fullness of time feeling welcomed and alive.

Now here we are again, and back to being the last resort.

Wasn’t quite ready to come home to the norm.

I have amends to make and bridges to burn, like calories…and we all know how good I am at that.

Frames and galleries of words that crowd my heart, and the space is getting limited in these chambers.

Bolted with hardware and welded to my arteries.

This kind of blockage requires a skilled surgeon.

Blood pumping through paths I’ve carved out to survive.

A masterpiece.
A bypass of emotion.

Today is a new day that has been made for my gain,

taking a new route and a fresh way.

I will choose gratitude.

What other choice do I have?!

I love that I have mastered the art of coming full circle, even when it seems pointless.

I love that a deep breath and honest words can set my focus strait.

I love that I will turn off this computer and leave the tears behind and get back to living.

Excuse my ramblings today. I just needed to rein it in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Summer Prayer

 

If fire is honor, then we’ll stand and let it burn.

Hot and loud as it calms into a deep burning midnight.

Popping and clapping its truths.

Glowing red and warm; a blanket of appreciation.

Shadows of flames dancing on our faces as we gather around and listen.

 

If water is pure,

let us strip off these pretenses and plunge in.

Washing away all of the expectations.

Easing the heavy weight from our bones, bathing us fresh and new.

 

If the earth is nakedness,

let us run.

Let us take to the fields and carry ourselves to the edges of sight.

Let us stomp our feet in the dust,
to the sound of drums.
Dancing unashamed.

Like the children who still live hidden away
under the layers piled on our hearts.

Let us uncover these wounds and expose them to the open air for healing.

 

If the stars are mystery,

let us follow their lead.

Surrendering our proud explanations and false humility.

Gazing upon the vastness and treasuring the wonder that we are so eager to dismiss.

 

If the moon is lonely,

let us be a friend.

Let us set ourselves aside and turn our faces toward each other.

Let us see what we don’t want to see.

Let us forgive and be forgiven.

 

If the sun is victory,

let it burn brilliant and forever.

Let us turn our faces upward in unison to soak up the radiance that is promised.

Let us lift our hands together in thanks.

Like warriors,
moments away from an earned homecoming.

Finishing strong and whole.

 

 

 

Miracle Grow

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” And she had a will like a root; it was sometimes hidden underground, but it was there, tough and fibrous and sustaining everything she did.”

My cheeks burn as I try to stand my ground.
Speaking my mind.
Having the audacity to challenge credentials.

Hold on tight… I can feel my grip slipping.
And I realize I’m done,
done and onto the next one.

Are friendships supposed to be this hard?
Is this the easy and light yoke that was promised?
What happened to fellowship and sharpening of swords?

It feels so heavy,
but everything about me is heavy, so maybe it’s just me.
Agreeing that yes, I need to die to myself.
So I try.
And try and try and try.
And it chips away at what is left.

And with it,
the belief in grace for all.
Pardon for all.
Faith for all.
Because, it’s taken me so long to figure this thing out,
and now it’s ruined.

Guilt regulating this frigid temperature.
Nothing can grow on this plot.
Hard like a rock.
You can blame yourself.

If I’m rebellious?

Bitter?

I’m disobedient because my back straitened taller when I challenged what you said?

Am I obnoxious because my voice is raised often, and with passion?

Am I lost because I can’t fake what I don’t believe?

The little root and sprout of the woman I’m supposed to be has been curled up and hidden beneath the dark soil.

The earth is fresh and damp and warming up under the beating sun.

Soon, there will be a new thing.

A bloom.

Rooted deeply and rooted onward by the ONE who created my lungs to fill with my own words.

I feel it coming back again,
the hints of something special.
That nudge that I was made for something special.
That you are special too.

Pound the shovel down and pierce what would have died,
with freedom.

I am exactly who I’m supposed to be.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:18

* the picture and quote I shared are from an Instagram account I follow
http://instagram.com/prettynpaleoatx *

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