"But God has surely listened and has heard my prayer." Psalm 66:19
As one who has struggled with weight all of my life, seeing the ups and downs in jean sizes became my reality. I would lose some pounds only to face a stressor in life and see them return and bring friends along for the ride. I spent years believing lies, yet secretly hoping for a better reality. Lies that I am not capable of overcoming my sweet tooth and that I am just not the workout type, topped the list. I have never really lacked self esteem or self confidence; I know who I am. However, I know from personal experience, others define me by what they first see. Having been a plus-size lady for years, I was treated differently, intentionally or not, when I dropped pounds.
My health journey to where I am today began back in 2010.
It is amazing that things do not happen accidentally, even if they seem to in the beginning.
Actually, as the pieces of my story have come together, this story begins way back in high school and college and can be read in this post.
In early 2010, I slipped on a patch of ice and hurt my back. Firecrackers shooting up and down my back, kind of hurt. I could not stand up straight, get up and down from sitting/lying without pain, or simply breathe/laugh with ease. Everything I did or thought was first filtered through pain.
After 3 months, I decided that I could go to the doctor/physical therapist and pay them $ to tell me that I needed to lose weight and exercise more or I could just go start doing that on my own. I joined the local Y in early May of that year. Off and on, I would go and walk the track and use the elliptical. After my back began to feel better on a more consistent basis, I met a wellness coach and she set me up on some weight machines. I fell in love with lifting weights. When I went to the Y, I also found myself drinking more water. I enjoyed going to the Y, but the problem was the inconsistency of my going.
In January of 2011, I began a morning routine and that continued until summer. Summer changed everything and it was hard to begin again come August.
So, I was a member of the Y and exercising more than before, but not seeing many results. I did feel better, though. My back was less troublesome. This cycle kept repeating itself. Off and on...on and off.
In April of 2013, having put on a lot of pounds again and feeling so totally controlled by sugar/carbs, I whispered a prayer for help. Now, I am a Christian and prayer is not a new thing for me, but this prayer was a desperate plea for help. I was under the influence of something I could not overcome on my own and I was wearing myself out trying.
The next 3 months were filled with one event after another that slowly, but surely, were an answer to that desperate plea for help. I was learning how to eat less sugar/carbs, losing weight, and feeling better about my appearance. It was not until August, however, that my thought processes changed and met up with what reality really was. I saw a friend from high school post a challenge to do 100 push-ups and squats a day for 30 days. That first day of those push ups/squats were actually easier than I thought they would be. I had been gaining strength with my trips to the Y, but had never really put myself to the test to prove it until the challenge.
I found myself changing the way I thought about working out.
I challenged myself to do more and do it more consistently. That 30 challenge turned into an everyday challenge. I was making time to go work out at the Y, not trying to find some time. I put more weight on my machines and logged more miles. It began to pay off to the point where others were noticing the changes and commenting. Inspiration was born from people I know personally as I saw what they were doing in spite of life's circumstances.
Against the odds.
This would serve to be very important.
In October, when things were going well and I was seeing muscles in places I have never had them before, a little curveball called cancer entered the picture. I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Found by a routine mammogram; stage 0 DCIS. Treatment: surgery and radiation.
I remember meeting my surgeon for the first time. Through all her information, prognosis, and treatment suggestions, I held it together. I had not once shed a tear about my cancer diagnosis until the moment I opened my mouth to ask her if I could continue to keep on working out. It had become so meaningful to me and I had come so far.
I did not want to give cancer the opportunity to steal this from my life.
I did not want to give myself an excuse to let it.
Encouraged to keep on doing what I was doing and taking one day at a time, I left feeling confident. Through surgery in November, recovery in December, and radiation in January-March, I fell hard into my workouts. They were there before cancer. I felt most like myself when at the Y. I only missed a few days after surgery and the final week of radiation due to pain/exhaustion. My friend from high school, a Beachbody coach, gave me great encouragement and helpful tips through my recovery. It was so hard not doing anything, but my body needed to rest and recover. So did my mind, but that's a story for another day.
Through the months of battling and holding on, I knew the next step was going to be big and one of faith. The final avenue to cross in order for my prayer to be answered in full was at my feet. I borrowed P90X from a friend and ordered a sample pack of Shakeology from my friend, now my coach, who posted the challenge back in August. I began P90X and drinking Shakeology in April. I have not looked back since. In fact, I have ordered my own copy of P90X and 21 Day Fix and look forward to my next bag of Shakeology to arrive each month.
Since April of this year, I have lost over 10 inches and almost 10 pounds. Since my prayer in April 2013, I have lost 40 pounds. My God supplied every person and every thing I needed along my fitness journey. Some characters were indeed characters, but played a pivotal role, nonetheless.
I can do more than I believed possible.
I can work hard, feel good, and see results.
You can too!
Knowledge is power. Encouragement is key. Beginning is the first step. Take it!
I did and will never regret it. Find something that works for you and get moving.
April 2013 Me and July 2014 Me...Praise God for answered prayer!