Guest blog: Because everyone tells me I have a story to tell….

(Featured guest blogger: Gina)

I am half the person that I used to be.  And I am sitting here writing this note because yet again today, another person told me that I have a story to tell to others.  This is about my journey to the me that I am now.

It always amazes me when someone hears that I have lost 120 pounds, and they ask me how I did it, expecting to hear about some magic pill I took or magic food I ate.  When my answer is “Hard work and discipline” they are kinda let down….hoping to hear a quick fix.  People want to know if I have used a weight loss plan, a drink, surgery and the such.  When I  tell them “not a chance”, they are dumfounded with my answer of “eating healthy and excersize”.  The only thing I paid for on my weight loss journey was a gym pass, and the healthy food I ate from the grocery store.  I always tell them nothing is a quick fix, and if it is, It will not last, as it has to be a life style change.  That is just a fact.

Was it hard?  Of course.  But anything worth anything is worth the work.  And my health was worth the work.  Losing a whole person or half of myself was the hardest things I have ever done…. Physically that is. (emotional and spiritual came into play also, but emotionally I have dealt with harder things, and my spiritual walk also has grown through everything)  For me, it was mind set.  Mind over matter.  “Do or do not, there is no try” as Yoda would say.  And we all know Yoda is wisest of all little green men. 🙂

I will never forget starting to eat healthy (which started with the help of my friend Maryhelen), and thinking that I  would never keep this up.  I remember thinking that I may as well start walking if I am watching what I eat.  So out I would go and do a 5k walk, at slow pace.  After seeing 5 pounds come off I got encouraged, kept up the good eating (lowcarb, lots of fruits and veggies, and no sugar) and I joined the gym.  I am the biggest fan of people who join the gym, and I see them in there at about the size I was (a size 26), and they are working it on the treadmill or the eliptical (which is where i lost the first 70 lbs of my weight), and I smile, and get teary eyed and I cheer them on in my head!  It reminds me of where I was, and I know they too can also do what I have done and improve their health.

My friend Leighton said to me along my wieght loss journey, “Gina, are you prepared for the physical and emotional changes that will happen to you as you are losing weight?”  I thought he was crazy, cause I mean, it was just about losing my physical weight, right?  But, oh, how right he was.  My world started changing.  People viewed me differently, and I got attention from people in completely different ways than I  was used to, and I didn’t know how to handle it.  It was overwhelming for me, but I learned many life lessons during that time.  One of my  students that I taught for 8 years kinda said it simply like this after I lost weight, “Gina, you were always a beautiful person, but now your outside matches your inside”.  And I know what she meant by that,  It was sincere and honest.  It was sweet.  I also know that physically my life changed, as I was more active, and things I did were different than before, so my time was spent differently.  Now, instead of sitting on the couch eating oreo cookies and junk during a movie, I was out playing squash and enjoying life 🙂  Don’t get me wrong, I was the same Gina in the inside, but I now was a more active Gina.

I guess I have been wanting to write something about my journey for a while now, especially when I keep hearing of all these quick fixes that really don’t lend to a lifestyle change, or something you can continue with for life.

Anything becomes a habit after 30 days they say…that goes for eating properly and excersize.  Exersize to me has become a good addiction, a stress reliever and my sanity.  Running something out is sure better for you than drowning that something that is bugging you in a tub of icecream.  I thanks my friend Jenny for getting me into running in the first place.  After losing 70 lbs she was the one who told me to up it a notch, and ran side by side with me for the first while when I could barely finish 1km without taking a break, and thought I would pass out.

I have had some of the most supportive friends and family members during my journey completely encouraging me on my way.

I am the biggest cheer leader for anyone now who is trying to improve their health with weight loss. It isn’t about a quick fix, but about a slow steady determination and discipline to be healthy.  Discipline brings results.  If you want it, you can do it.  You just have to work for it, and it is worth the work.

Five years ago I would have never imagined that I would have lost 120 pounds, that I would run up to 14k at a time, and that I would be enjoying life the way I do with those closest to me, or that I would be shopping for clothes sometimes in the single digits.  I am almost 35 and I feel so much better than I did at 25!

During the last 4 years I have been through alot of physical changes, emotional, and spiritual.  And all encompassing, the weight loss and everything else that goes with it that I have been through has made me a stonger me,,, “a better me” as my best friend pointed out.  It was alot of work and determination, and wasn’t easy, but completely worth it.

That is my story 🙂

Me at the start of my journey: 302 pounds/size 26. Then after 120 pounds lost!

The one with the dream…

I see chiseled muscles in my dreams.

You might think I’m talking about some fellow worthy of a romance novel cover but I’m actually talking about my own.

We had a guest speaker in one of my classes this week that said something that  has really stuck with me. She said before setting out to try something new ask yourself, “What does success look like?”. She was referring more to how one might evaluate the success of a strategic event plan but to me it meant so much more.

I realized then that my dreams were just my own personal manifestation of what success looks like. Now when I ask myself, “What does success look like?”, I know. Success looks like Jamie Eason, Emily Stirling, Lauren Fazio and Julie Bonnett to name just a few of the beautiful, successful, women I have seen strut their stuff on the stages of fitness competitions.

Realistically I know that being at that level is a lofty goal to achieve (not impossible – nothing is impossible) but I would be happy to have a sliver of what they have. It’s not a matter of wanting to be someone I’m not, it’s being inspired by others. You need someone there, even if you don’t know them, to keep you going when all you want to do is quit.

I’ve weight trained for years and although I have been serious about it I’ve always sort of stayed within my comfort zone, never being bold enough to really jump into the unknown. The past little while though I realized I’m ready and I’ve undertaken some huge changes to my weight routine. I feel strong and empowered and ready to take on the world. Now I’m just patiently waiting for my body to start showing me the fruits of my labour. I am not all that patient but I will try to hang on and do one more rep even though it burns because four weeks down the road I might finally get to see the outcome.

Until then, I guess I’ll just keep dreaming of my own success.