*Get ready for a ramble of a post*
I was awake for a good portion of last night just thinking. Thinking about my job, school, coffee and how I shouldn’t have it in the evening, the work candy jar (and the evil people who refill it), running 7 miles this weekend, and lastly – Why is everything so damn hard?
Okay, may be that is an exaggeration, but still. It feels that way when I push myself to exercise like a crazy person and then to flop when it comes to food. Why is that? Why am I broken record? Why am I constantly making the same lame excuses only to realize that what I am doing, and what I have done isn’t working?
I read this article yesterday on Jezebel, and at first it made me mad, but then I realized, it was right.
“Strong Is Not ‘The New Skinny’ Because Women Don’t Need A New Skinny”
When I started my whole Weight Loss Journey like 5 years ago, I started with Weight Watchers and working out about 4 times a week. I was using the Apartment gym we had with the treadmill and some weight machines, and then Jillian Michaels DVDs and The Firm system. I was losing weight steadily. Sizes I had never worn before were fitting, and I was gaining self confidence. I remember telling my husband that on Weight Watchers (The old Momentum Plan) that I couldn’t believe how people overate on this. I was always satisfied. I was never hungry, and I never went over my points.
I weighed in religiously once a week, and was shocked at how the weight – seemingly without work at all – was coming off. After 25 pounds melting away I was hooked.
Then it stalled.
So with the advice of some people on the message boards, I upped my game and started running. I hated it at first (sometimes still do) and averaged a 13’46” mile. I was happy with that at the time, and then progressively got faster and faster.
The weight started to come off again.
After having a love/hate relationship with Weight Watchers I dabbled in counting calories, no carbs, less carbs, paleo, south beach, clean eating only, intermittent fasting, you name it.
I regretfully state that I also tried Diet Pills of various kinds throughout this process too.
In March of 2012 I ran my first half marathon. I remember standing at the start line with Jason on the other side of the barrier and I looked at him and said “I am not sure I can do this.” and he smiled and said “Yes, of course you can.” It wasn’t a motivational speech or anything but it was a bit of an umph that I needed. The gun went off for my corral, and then about 2.5 hours later, I was done. I had completed my first half marathon.
I had also gotten down to my lowest weight in my adult life. I only had like 17 pounds to go to my goal.
Over the next and some months – to where I am now – I have floundered. I have gained 12 pounds and am still clinging to whatever ‘new information’ comes out about how to lose weight. I have kept up with running, finishing two more half marathons, a bunch of 10 milers, a crap load of 10ks and COUNTLESS 5ks and 4 milers. I’ve had some PR’s in those races, and some races left me wondering what the hell I thought I was doing even running at all.
This leads me to today.
The above article made me mad at first, and then it opened my eyes. What is strong? Is it 12% body fat? Is it the ability to run a half marathon (with walk breaks)? Is it the ability to say ‘No’ to dessert? Is it counting calories successfully? Is it beating Pre-Diabtetic warnings? Is it beating cancer? Is it waking up every morning and looking at your closet knowing only a small fraction of what you actually own fits you? Is it walking into a high school reunion KNOWING that you look better than you did in high school but still waiting for the endless taunts and insults from the ‘popular kids’? What is it?
I don’t think it’s one thing in particular, and I don’t think lifting weights, running miles, or getting to your goal weight defines it.
I think ‘Strong’ is a mindset.
You know who I think is strong?
My Mom – She loves animals. She works at a vet’s office and is one of the most caring people you will ever know. When a family comes in and has to do the unthinkable of putting their animal to sleep, she is there with her arms stretched out wide, and an embrace that I swear if it could be bottled, would cure the most horrible of diseases.
My Dad – Who, between his three jobs, works like 200 hours a week, never asks for anything, and does everything for everyone else. He gives up watching baseball or hockey so that my family can watch “The Bachelorette” or some TLC show about Ducks. He never complains, barely sleeps, and is one of the most supportive people I know.
My Older Sister, Meagan – She has two kids, and her own company. She works all week taking care of the kids, her house, and my parents house and animals and then works Saturday and Sunday doing her business of grooming dogs. She doesn’t get a break. She knows what has to be done and does it. She wakes up everyday and like a machine get’s it done. She is also always around for funny blog post at F*ck What You Heard and a quick conversation on facebook.
My Younger Sister, Cece – She works at Starbucks (a thankless job I had for 6 years) and goes to school at night so that she can become a Hair Stylist. Even though that means getting up at 3:30 in the morning to work the opening shift and then driving to Tysons Corner to go to school from like 5:00pm to 10:00pm at night, she does it. I watched her walk through her younger years being made fun of or treated badly by her so called ‘friends’ and she never once gave up. She just kept going.
My Husband, Jason – This man deserves a medal and a handshake from the President for 1.) having willingly entered this union of our marriage and 2.) dealing with my insane amounts of crazy on a daily basis. He doesn’t complain. He doesn’t let me give up. He has sacrificed so much so that I could be happy. Waking up at all hours to take me to races, working hard at his job so that we can have a house, two cars, vacations, and that I can go to school. He uses whatever strength he has to hold me up so that the metaphorically crumbling earth below me (in my mind) doesn’t eat me alive.
None of these people are body builders, runners, bikini models, motivational speakers, or crossfit box goers. These are the strong people. These are the ones that don’t give up because they know there is no way that they can.
Strong is Sexy – but it’s not physical strength that will get you there. You have to be mentally strong. Mental strength is something no diet, no barbell, no diet pill, no treadmill, no race medal, no PR, no amount of weight loss will get you.
Today, I am choosing to be mentally strong. I am choosing to be like those guys up there, and choosing to change my mindset.
Because your Mind is the sexiest thing you can possess. So I’m using it wisely from now on.