Big Girl Job

When I started my blog five years ago, I never would’ve dreamed my writing would be lucky enough to be featured on anything bigger than my own dang Facebook page, let alone shared by anyone else!

This month I got the honor and privilege of getting to write for the Anytime Fitness employee dashboard about what it might be like for those who may have just started their fitness journeys in January. To help give coaches a peek at what its like on the “other side”.

HOW COOL IS THAT?!?!! 😍💘

Of course, my post was LONG WINDED.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I get REAL passionate, and my posts can be long. On a personal blog where I have no boundaries, its easy to do! So I got to learn how/practice how to take my idea and condense it in a way that was easier for peeps to read and apply. It was such an amazing opportunity to have a “big girl” writing assignment about something I’m passionate about, for a company Im obsessed to be working for.

So I thought I would still post my original piece here, in my own little blog world, where it can live forever as a part of my writing/fitness journey, forever and ever, amen.

“A Gym Newbie’s Perspective”

I was asked recently, “What was the ONE THING you experienced in the gym that made you keep coming back after you first joined?” After some thought I replied, “a sense of belonging.”

Despite the obvious feels that we know a newbie might have their first few weeks in the gym, there’s one feeling that stands out to me as being the most crippling to someone who is trying to embark on a healthy lifestyle change; and that is loneliness.

For someone like me who had 100+ pounds to lose, or someone who might have other health concerns that seem overwhelming, feeling alone can make a hard job seem impossible. I truly believe it is the most important thing to remember when you’re sitting across the table from a new member, for the first time.

In the Gym

The first way people can feel lonely is just learning how to navigate inside the gym! This one is obvious, but even if they’ve had a detailed tour and amazing FC with their new coach, new members can still feel unsure of where to begin and probably won’t ask until they feel “safe”.

They will stick with what is the least likely to draw any attention or eyeballs.

One of my biggest fears when I joined was that someone was going to be filming me and my body, without my knowledge and post it online. I was terrified to become a “gym fail” video. That is a very REAL fear for new peeps, and something that I try hard not to re-post or give a spotlight to on my social media, no matter how funny they are.

Working hard to create a club culture that is warm, welcoming, and inclusive to everyone is what makes Anytime Fitness so special! The community vibe we all strive for is what helps people feel like they are in a safe place and that they belong…and when they relax in that, they can get to work!

In Their Social Circle

The second way people can feel lonely as they embark on their new health and fitness journey, is within their social groups and families.

Breaking away from bad habits and trying to create a new heathy lifestyle can feel ESPECIALLY lonesome if you’re the only one in your family or friend group committed to making changes. It can feel overwhelming and exhausting to stay strong when the people you love can be sabotaging you, without even realizing it.

From time to time, it’s easy to identify an unsupportive spouse, or jealous and nay-saying friends. But one of the hardest things new peeps will have to learn to face is themselves. Often, eating and sharing a meal with loved ones is THE last social activity overweight and/or obese people can participate in. It’s MORE than just food. If someone has reached a point, like I had, where they cannot join in many of the other activities that make them feel connected to others as a human…breaking bread is all they feel they’ve got left.  This has been the hardest part for me to re-learn.  Giving up certain foods or learning moderation does not affect my connection with others, but this takes time, practice and climbing back up on the wagon…again and again.

In Their Own Skin

The last and most important way people can feel lonely as they start their fitness journey is actually in their own skin.  I had spent so much time disconnecting my mind from my body, trying to ignore how bad I had allowed myself to become. When I finally began to workout with my trainer, having to learn how to connect with and be aware of my body to move it was painfully humiliating at first! Being the size that I was, and not knowing how to properly dress my body for the work I was asking it to do, took time and confidence. There were many times my shirt would roll up and my belly would be exposed, or my pants wouldn’t cooperate and roll down…I was a hot mess.  Luckily, she was always quick to modify what she was asking me to do so that I wouldn’t get frustrated and want to quit. Over time, I lost some weight and built the confidence that I needed to finally start to feel comfortable and less lonely in my skin.  I’m so grateful for those who took the time to care, coach and connect with me.  It changed my life forever!

So, if there’s one thing I hope you can take away from my experiences, as your schedule is likely filled with back to back appointments, consultations, and sessions and you feel your energy starting to dip…please remember that the person sitting across from you might be feeling the loneliest they’ve ever felt in their whole life, but have been brave enough to show up.  Giving you the opportunity of a lifetime!

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Love hurts

My heart has broken for a close loved one who is experiencing a broken heart. An unexpected break up leaving shock and devastation in its wake.
It’s so hard to watch someone you love hurting and in pain when you’re powerless to do anything about it. Though there wasn’t much I could do to satiate my big sister hunger for blood and revenge, I was pleased to at least offer my home as a retreat for a few days for her to hide away in without the risk of running into him.
The truth is, heartache has to simply run its course. There is no cure. (Though, I attempted to distract with a scary movie which may or may not have been the best idea.)

I sometimes forget how it felt to be younger and waiting for my turn with true love. There were days (MANY days) I thought it would never come. That I would be skipped. Many days I believed I was somehow unworthy of being swept up in a grand love that would leave me breathless. Waiting for it felt like an eternity.
Now, I have been blessed for almost 9 years by a husband who is faithful, loving and amazing but even in the best case scenario…marriage is really hard work. It’s not this dreamy, breathtaking love song all day like we sit around fantasizing about. Romantic movies have really done us all a disservice.

There are SO many things I wish I would have enjoyed more in my single days that I had before marriage. (Eeeeeeek! Im not supposed to say that right? ) Christian culture for the female 18+ year old is ALL ABOUT nabbing that godly husband. It becomes quite the obsession. Bridal showers and bridesmaid dresses in abundance. Without realizing it, the message we spread is that our value as women can only be found if and when a man finds it in us. So we all cross our fingers and toes and PRAY PRAY PRAY for that husband to arrive. What does this mean for single women? Or women who have been called into important careers, ministry or missions that feel second class because of not having a husband!? What?! Is that what our Heavenly Father has planned for his daughters?

I read in a book recently that my calling as a woman of faith is not to my husband, house or children as we are taught…it is to Christ alone. It is to be all the me I was intended to be. Created to be. Which will ultimately make me the wife and mom I ought to be if that becomes a part of my life not the destination.

All I’m saying is on the flip side, there was so much learning about myself and loving myself I missed out on in the big hurry to fall in love and set up house.
If there was any advice I could ( and do) give to young, single gals out there awaiting love or mending a broken heart it would be this:

1.) GOD CREATED YOU BEAUTIFULLY JUST AS YOU ARE. YOU ARE PRECIOUS TO HIM. HE IS WITH YOU ALWAYS EVEN IN THE LONELIEST OF TIMES. HE HAS AMAZING PLANS FOR YOUR LIFE!

You are altogether beautiful, my love; there is no flaw in you.”
-Song of Solomon 4:7 ESV

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
-Zephaniah 3:17 ESV

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
-Jeremiah 29:11 ESV


2.) YOU HAVE THE WORLD AT YOUR FINGERTIPS! GO PLACES! DO THINGS! CLIMB MOUNTAINS AND CONQUER FEARS! SOMEDAY YOUR BIGGEST CONQUEST WILL BE A 4FT PILE OF LAUNDRY…DON’T WASTE TIME! ADVENTURE AND SEEK AND LIVE FULLY. DON’T WAIT ON SOMEONE ELSE TO MAKE LIFE WORTH LIVING.

3.) IF A GUY IS TREATING YOU LIKE AN OPTION AND FEELS THE NEED TO SURVEY THE LAND BEFORE HE COMMITS TO YOU…KEEP MOVING LITTLE SISTER. HE AIN’T WORTHY. SADLY, WE SOMETIMES ACCEPT THE LOVE WE FEEL WE DESERVE. THAT IS WHY IT’S SO IMPORTANT TO LEARN TO LOVE YOURSELF WELL. THE WAY YOU LOVE YOURSELF WILL SHOW OTHERS HOW TO LOVE YOU. THIS IS THE HARDEST LESSON TO LEARN.

4.) GET TO KNOW YOURSELF. A STRONG WOMAN IS ONE WHO KNOWS WHO SHE IS.

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All I know for sure…

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.”
– C.S. Lewis

The “unexpected study of me” was conceived after I was faced with some challenging debates in what I had believed to be a solid faith. I had become pretty comfortable in my corner of American church culture. Over time you relax into it as you learn the language and customs as you would in any foreign land. Fluency brings friends, seniority and “opportunities to serve”. So I got busy. If I’m being honest, most of the time it’s as much about impressing your Christian friends with what your “doing for The Lord” as much as it is actually serving for the Lords sake. We want to feel useful and like a contributing and vital member of the club. We want to feel welcomed and part of something big. And we are, we are just too busy and impressed with ourselves to notice it.

I came to a point where I had to stop and examine what my own personal faith was all about. What do I really believe and how to I genuinely and sincerely live that out in my everyday life? I’ve written in previous posts about how trying to live up to the “standard” as a wife and a mother in our church culture has left me feeling stupid and missing the mark. I have a genuine desire to be the wife and mom that my family deserves but trying to mold myself into someone else’s version of that left me really loathing myself and feeling like a constant failure. I also have a genuine desire to be authentic and real as a person. I don’t want to be in self-denial or deceiving myself about anything if I can help it. The only way I know how to live this way is to be REAL.
So when certain theological trends and debates starting to weave their way into my life, my discomfort with the content sat in my soul and began to stink. I wished I could understand. I begged for clarity because I was desperate to gulp down this new
point of view that my friends were so easily understanding so that I could hurry up and get on the band wagon. It doesn’t feel good to be the only kid in class who doesn’t “get” it. Never mind that scholars and theologians debated these same points over the past thousands of years…
The inadequacy I felt became staggering. So, not only was I a lousy housewife and Christian mother…but now I can’t even grasp these “simple” biblical concepts.

Hmmmm.

Deep down I knew this wasn’t right so I began my soul search…and here we are. Digging up the REAL truths of what I believe about my faith, myself, beauty, motherhood, wifedom, and friendship. I have found that instead of seeking God to unlock the all answers I’m seeking or unlock me from the chains of being overweight…I need to just seek him because He is GOD.
Every morning really is new.
The things we think we KNOW for certain are fleeting. We have to be really careful in how we project our faith onto others…we are all on our own journey. God is way too wonderful for anyone to capture with human words.

For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love and sound judgment.”
– 2 Timothy 1:7

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