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Motivate Me Monday {Patty's Story}

Posted Feb 27 2012 6:17am
I sat in front of this computer for eternity, deciding what to share with you for Jess's Motivate Me Monday. I have a weight-loss story, but it's not all that. I've always been weight conscious, even at 16 and weighing 120 lbs. This is nothing new for women who grew up in a generation of stick-skinny models with media saturated lives. I tried all sorts of diets and fads, and have always been engaged with sports or exercise, and I am fortunate that I do enjoy activity.

And I was never grossly over-weight, realistically. I just felt that way.

After the birth of our third child, I weighed 10 pounds more than a weight I thought I'd be comfortable at. I carried that weight for 10 years, and I was living a very busy SAHM life: pick up, drop off, run here, run there. Weight slowly crept on, and I stopped wearing shorts. I also stopped getting on the scale, as it creeped past the +25 pound mark.

One day, we were at the soccer field and my son snapped a photo of me that would be the motivation to finally, definitively, do something about my weight. I was wearing cropped, khaki, low-rise cotton pants and a cropped, sleeveless white t-shirt, and frankly? I thought I looked good. I couldn't believe what I saw in the photo... You could see a pooch of my belly that my shirt skimmed, and a ripely surface through those lovely cropped pants that made my legs look short. All I could think was, You've GOT to be kidding me! You people let me walk around looking like this?!

Newly motivated with my wake-up photo, I started to diet unsuccessfully, but eventually found my way to Weight-Watchers and after yo-yo-ing for about 3 weeks, I finally found my groove and lost a total of 15 pounds, my weight-loss goal, over three months. After ten pounds (such a small amount, really) I stopped having pain in my feet and could stop taping my feet before step class, something I had done for at least two years, ritualistically.

The following fall, during a very stressful time in my life, I lost another 8 lbs in 6 days, and another 2 pounds in the following week, for a total weight-loss of 25 lbs. I suddenly felt excited to get dressed, and stopped dressing to hide. Replacing my wardrobe was fun, and I felt young and energetic.

So that's my simple story, in a nutshell. What you don't know is that I've taught fitness classes for 30 years {gulp!}, and I hold a master's degree in physical therapy. I have a great working knowledge of the human body and exercise physiology. And still, it took me years of unhealthy choices and fad dieting before I realized what real weight-loss and real fitness required. And this is the stuff I want to share with you

Think of exercise as a way of life, not just a means to looking better. Exercise improves all aspects of health and leads to a better quality of life. And, it usually makes you look better, too. ;)

Know where you are and be FABULOUS there. It's important to know where you are in your fitness journey and do your very best there in order to progress. Don't become frustrated because you can't do something. Yet. You'll get there.

Do what you can, plus one more. We only grow when we are challenged. If you stop at that point where you feel challenged (or worse, just before that), you will never grow, or improve. Push through the hard part. Do one more. Then, do one more.

Do do-overs. Habits take 6-8 weeks to develop. Most people can't change patterns of eating and exercise overnight. When you fall short, don't dive into failure. Pick yourself up and allow yourself a do-over. Keep doing-over until you've developed a habit or adopted good eating habits.

Don't give up when it gets hard; this difficult part is your body getting stronger. If you stop working when it requires effort, you don't allow your body to go through the process required to develop strength, flexibility, endurance or fitness.

Find what you love to do, and do it. If you join the gym just to loose weight, you might... But good luck keeping it off and staying fit. You may prefer crossfit, or running outside, or tennis, or swimming, or dance, or Zumba, or hiking, or bicycling, or yoga...or maybe cross-training. Whatever it is, make sure it inspires you and leaves your feeling not only challenged physically, but wanting more because you enjoy it that much.

Know that anything worthwhile is worth working for. You will have hard days, times when you feel like giving up. Don't. Remind yourself you are in it for the long haul; sacrifices will need to be made. You might feel a little hungry sometimes, and your body might feel tired sometimes. That's life. Don't let it be an excuse to get off course. Temper the hunger with a good choice of snack and maybe choose an easier exercise that day. But still get up and move.

Forgive yourself. Don't punish yourself for lapses in will. We all have those days or those temptations. In fact, I say allow yourself treats, but make them healthy treats. Instead of seasoned french-fries at a local fast-food stop, I substituted kettle pop-corn in those days when I followed Weight Watchers. Yes, not the same, but I got through the craving and didn't sabotage my diet. And punishing yourself with negative feelings hurts your self-esteem and your motivation. Pick yourself up, brush your knees off, and stay the course.

Today? I am 47 years old and in the best shape of my life. I "play" with my teenage children: we ski and wakeboard and run adventure races together. I can keep up! We love crossfit and I still teach step and endurance strength training classes. And I recently began to follow a paleo diet, though not perfectly... I'm still learning. :) It leaves me feeling energized and I've lost my cravings for sweets.Whoda thunk it?

Good luck on your own fitness journey. I hope the lessons I learned along the way help you in some way. Right now you might be striving for goals to improve your looks, but remember that really, the important thing is your health. The looking good is a just a side-affect of wellness. :)

I am also breathing new life into a series on my blog called . It's dedicated to health and wellness. I hope you'll join me there, too.

Thanks Patty, that was perfect, just as I knew it would be.
Now hurry on over and check out  Patty's fabulous blog . Her photography will knock your socks off and her gift of words will leave you wanting more.
Reminder: You have until Friday to enter this giveaway !!Happy Monday!!

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