This post has been rolling around in my mind for months, but I just haven’t been able to sit down and share exactly what I want to say for some reason. I keep being prodded and encouraged on several different levels and I hope that what I share will be encouraging.
When I was younger, I remember never being one of those kids in gym class who got picked. I was not the athletic one or the fast one. I was coordinated, but not having one of the other two desired factors still left me almost always being one of the last folks on the sideline. I dreaded physical fitness tests, especially the 1-mile run, I hated changing into gym clothes in the locker in high school and have always been sad more than anything that in most crowds of friends, I’m the “bigger girl.”
Now, perhaps this is one of those reasons I hesitate writing this post. People don’t just lay it all out there. We’re scared, ashamed and fearful of what others might think if we do. Now, although that was apart of my past, I also have this really beautiful part. Being very creative in music and writing, excelling in school, having a wonderful family to encourage me regardless of the societal impact being the “bigger girl” might have had. I recall almost every family meal growing up being followed by a walk down the dirt road at Grandma and Grandpa’s. I fondly remember hikes in the snow, camping, laughing and lots of love. I have aunts and uncles who are marathon runners, hikers, and speed-walkers. And I wanted nothing more but to be like them.
In college, I realized that not all people are shallow and only look at your outer appearance, not to say I didn’t have a few of those in high school. I had wonderful friends who never made any issue of my weight–and other friends who shared those struggles; something I had little of before. So, I kept living life as it had been lived, not paying much attention to my diet (oh, how I hate that word ), trying to eat low-fat, some veggies, etc. to keep off the freshman 15. I went to the campus rec-center on occasion, had a year or two where a group of about 6 friends would walk each evening starting around 11pm for exercise, but was never super intentional about taking care of my body. Although I was still the “bigger girl”, I had friends, a sense of humor, a loving family and was about to have a college degree. I loved life! I am so fortunate that my self-image for the most part was shielded from what the media could have done with it.
The post college years were pretty much all the same–trying to figure out life now that I didn’t have a college schedule, figure out meals now that I didn’t have my same college friends around, figure out if I wanted to be the only one going to the Rec Center or if I’d just order a workout DVD online and then let it collect dust, figure out how to do life, etc, etc, etc. I tried a weight loss system in there at one point and had some success. But after I stopped paying the weekly fee, the pounds came back on.
Fast-forward to the present–I love my life! I am very happy, very blessed and still have a positive self image. I have a wonderful job, fantastic friends, got married, bought a house, the American Dream. However, there’s one thing that’s just been rolling around in my head for years. Years…..
What is the difference between people who are runners and people like me? What’s the difference between those folks who lose weight and keep it off? What’s the difference between people who get up at 5am and workout for 2 hours a day and me? What’s the difference between my athletic aunts and uncles and me?
The answer? It’s not genes. It’s Willpower.
Last year, the Beau and I decided that we wanted to change some things. We altered our diet, signed up for a 5K back in Virginia on Thanksgiving Day. My dream of becoming a runner was going to become a reality. We ate well all of October and November, ran the 5K, then proceeded to enter the debacle of all food debacles– we hopped on board the Holiday Rollercoaster of Food–too many loops and too fast to even comprehend. Everything we’d worked so hard for was thrown out the window once we saw those homemade rolls and sweet potato casserole on the Thanksgiving dinner table. We had no willpower.
As you may know, the Beau and I turned 30 this year. I was (and still am) exited to enter such a great decade. Many of my friends secured great jobs and started their families in their 30’s. What do I want to secure? My life.
We hit 30 and realized a lot of things on our “30 before 30 list” had gone unaccomplished, we knew that we had even more important things we wanted to accomplish that weren’t even on that list. How was it gonna happen? How could we avoid the Rollercoaster?
You see, we, rather, I–am privileged to be able to get out of bed every morning, wipe the sleep out of my eyes and pull on some running pants. My childhood goal of being a runner WOULD be fulfilled. Why? I know folks who can’t even get out of bed on their own. I have not treated my body like the temple of the Holy Spirit that the Word says it is. I have been lazy, made excuses and sat on the couch way too long. I went to my 10 year High School reunion excited to have a fiance on my arm, but left feeling sad that I looked the same as I did in High School.
Sidenote: Let me get something straight. Beauty is within the eye of the beholder and COMES from within. I am not talking about wanting to look more beautiful on the outside by being a certain weight or size. I know that I am beautiful, because God creates all things to be beautiful. What frustrates me, is that I have taken his creation and not been the best steward possible to be healthy.
So, we ran that same 5K this Thanksgiving at about the same pace as the year prior. We started training again after our birthday and vacations were over, although our food choices still were not dialed in at 100%. However, this time, we left the race and didn’t board that Rollercoster. We rode the kiddie version, still indulging in some holiday treats, but not feeling nearly as humiliated that we’d just reached a goal and then succombe to the lack of willpower to be even weaker than we were before. How did we do it? Willpower. How’d we get the willpower?
We realized that we had 2 legs that not only could make us walk, but make us run.
The Beau and I both have very important people in our lives who have challenges that do not allow them to walk freely without assistance or walk at all. We run for them.
When I get tired, I think of them.
The freshman soccer player in my class last year injured and out for the season.
My friend who just had major brain surgery at age 30.
My grandma who had foot surgery at age 80.
Minds rattled by anxiety.
Football players dreams crushed by a career ending injury.
Brothers and Sisters in the armed forces protecting our freedom–they run through much more challenging circumstances than I.
I run for them.