Getting started in “life changes” can happen in two ways. You can begin full force or you can begin slowly and carefully. In trying to regain my healthy lifestyle, I at first, began gung-ho only to watch it not last. Excuses of why it wouldn’t work that way flooded me each time I attempted to make changes. Running hurt my knees. I hated the smelly trucks in the route on the highway I was trying. I was cutting calories to the extreme only to grab something late at night and then I just quit, knowing I didn’t have a solid plan.
Finally, I stopped my attempt at changing everything all at once and now it is working. It took making just a few changes at a time. First was to push away from the computer.
If I wasn’t working, I was network socializing and eating junk food at my desk. I began there, taking breaks and stretching with yoga stretches, moving my body from its hunkered down position at the keyboard and mouse. I also stopped eating junk food.
After a week of this change, I took it a little further. I made a plan for how many calories I would take in and I began using my weight bench. I had to move my weight bench into my living room so that I eliminated the excuse of “out of sight out of mind”. That week, I lost five pounds of the 10 I had recently gained. Stretching and easing into strength training was just enough to motivate me to add calorie burn. The following week I began power walking; this was to save my meniscus from flaring up or causing injury.
I started off once again on the highway, dreading the trucks, and spied a recreation center with a half mile walking track! It was perfect! I veered my power walk into the park without breaking my stride. With the track and what I had already walked I calculated two and a half miles of brisk power walking. Sweat was running down my body and it felt good. I was not sore the next day and I didn’t dread doing it again – because it was enjoyable. I took my time and did what was good for my body.
Over the last year, I had crossed over from when working out was enjoyable to it now being painful, so to find myself enjoying the walking and also knowing it was making a difference where I was sure to see results, I felt that I finally had a plan in place and this was now doable. I could reach my goals. I also began swimming laps in the pool. After three weeks, I lost the 10 pounds I had recently put on and lost inches. Now that I was on track again and I was not only motivated but determined, I thought about why I had let myself give up.
I am an outgoing person and I love to be around people. I love to encourage them and enjoy making them laugh. Lately, I had not been doing that. I am not sure which came first – the chicken or the egg, but I think I stopped being social because I was ashamed to have put on so much weight. Did I gain the weight because I became a hermit? Or did I become a hermit because I had gained the weight? It didn’t matter, the fact remained that I had to do something about it. This just wasn’t me. When I stop to evaluate “why” something has occurred it is to help me understand so that I can make necessary changes. But this was one situation where understanding why didn’t matter to me because it was obvious.
Re-building your life isn’t instantaneous. It doesn’t happen all at once. I lived with family, friends and now by myself. I had adjustments to make, finding a routine in each situation and sort of feeling in limbo while waiting for other things to occur. Learning to work from home, being my own boss, was stressful. I don’t like to be micro-managed, but at the same time, I had to come up with my own schedule. I had to map out when I would do interviews with people and when I would write. I had to make time for setting up interviews and then preparing if one was canceled or someone didn’t follow through. I began stress-eating. Not only was I on my own with my work, I was living by myself with no one to be accountable to. I could eat at eleven o’clock at night if I felt like it.
Luckily, by not over-thinking things, I was able to make slow changes - one step at a time - and it has worked for me. Where I crossed over from the once healthy-minded, active person into the word I hate – “sedentary” person - I realized it took the last year to become this way and it was going to take at least that to get myself back. But instead of letting that overwhelm me, I had to start somewhere. I encourage anyone with whatever lifestyle change you need to make – to stop over-thinking it, stop thinking about the excuses of why it can’t happen. Just do one step at a time.
When I realized about five years ago that I had no control in my life and I had lost myself, I began making changes and it wasn’t overnight. It took courage to begin leaving an unhealthy situation that I was in. That procedure took time. While that was going on, it also took time for healing, growing and moving on. When you are making spiritual changes, emotional changes and growing in the person you are becoming while shedding the person that was holding you back from being all of who God wants you to be; you may have other places that take back burner. Mine was my physical well-being.
Maybe it was because I was going through so much transformation on the inside and I knew that the outside was going to be easier to deal with after the other stuff was in place. Oh, it is still a challenge, it is not easy to lose weight; but I had to begin with the inside-out. It amazes me when people want to make changes – whether it be a job, a relationship change or in their faith - how they think just a few months’ time and they are ‘good to go’. I point fingers at myself here. I remember after three months of beginning my divorce that I was ‘all better’. Looking back over the last few years, I see that each step was needed and there was no way to hurry up any process or changes occurring in my life.
Transitions take time to adjust to no matter what they are and leaving some things to be put on hold. As I have grown, spiritually and emotionally and regaining my health back full spectrum, it is time to stop being this hermit and closing myself off in a cave. Yes, I have gained weight, but my family and friends love me anyway. I have to love me too and not let myself take backward steps, thinking I have no place in this world because of any weaknesses. After all the life changes that have occurred, it is understandable that some part of my life had to be put on hold – I have done a lot of work in the other areas. Now it is time to focus once again on the outward things.
While going through transformation of my inside, I tucked myself away - forming a nice protective cocoon. I have stayed in this sheath long enough. I no longer need its protection. I have accomplished all that I set out to do. It will take a while to get my body back the way that I want, but at least I am doing it and I don’t need to wait to get out and enjoy life. I have to trust that people care about me no matter what I look like. I can’t hole up in my apartment and avoid getting out. That is the catch 22 where I would become a hermit and allow myself to give up. No… it’s time to emerge from my protective layering and fly with all the colors God has placed in my being. I am a beautiful butterfly and I am to share that beauty with the world.