A Life In Progress

I said at one point, I would write a transformation story.  What I realized is there is no story, there is no beginning or end.  It is just a life in progress..

transformation

The picture above does show a snapshot in time of a physical transformation.

What is important, though, is to see past the photo itself and understand the reason why so much of this blog is devoted to the mental and emotional sides of being fit.  See, being fit isn’t just a physical thing to me.  It is not as simple as saying one day, I am going to lose weight or I am going to be healthy.  In some ways, it is very simple.. either you do it or you don’t.  That part is true.  What goes on behind the scenes of  “doing it” is what is key.

We’ve had many years (some of us many decades) of acting a certain way, thinking certain thoughts, and living a certain lifestyle.  We have developed a clearly defined version of ourself.  In my case, my defined self is more closely depicted by the picture on the left.  That person is not a bad person or an “ugly” person..that person is simply a person that is scared to speak up for herself; is scared to take up “space” in this world; and a person with little confidence.  Someone who doesn’t see her inner or outer beauty.  She is a person very comfortable flying under the radar and not bringing attention to herself.  She is definitely a person who would gladly point out every flaw instead of graciously accepting a compliment.  She apologizes for everything..practically even breathing and never asks for what she wants.

butterfly

Any transformation process or success story: 1) takes time; 2) is difficult;  3) is made up by many decisions and choices; and 4) is not without failures or set-backs.

success

Consider the following..

What if there was a single pill to lose weight?  How many would try it?  If you read my story (http://wp.me/P2W8ZN-1V), you know I would and I did  Let’s follow that scenario out.  My eating plan was similar to this:
PopTarts for breakfast.  (Man, I loved me some PopTarts..yum!)
My lunches and dinners would include my favorite foods..blackened chicken fettuccine or any kind of creamy pasta dish; fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy; and desserts at every meal.
So, I take a pill because I don’t want to give up my favorite things. My thought is, “I just need to lose 20, 50, 100 pounds, then I won’t let this happen again.  (I know this because I have lived this story.)  But I ask the question, How?  How does the cycle then stop?  PopTarts and fried chicken are still my favorite and I still don’t want to deprive myself of my favorite stuff.  I mean, I shouldn’t have to, right?  So explain to me again..how does the cycle stop?

Another example, I am a shameless binge shopaholic.  I literally get a high from gathering (aka, buying) a bunch of new clothes.  Let’s say I win the lottery.  At first this seems as if it is the answer to any financial woes I may have created. Now, I can finally get my finances in order, quit my job, pursue my passion, and do what I really want in life.  All is set straight with this windfall, right?  Nope.  You see, there is a reason why I haven’t been given a large sum of money.. and that is because my closets aren’t big enough!  Haha..  just kidding!  No, in this case, a large sum of money wouldn’t fix anything because I haven’t taught myself new habits.  I would make the same choices again because I haven’t retrained my thought process.  Oh, yes, you can bet there would be a large spike in consumer spending and I would have even more crap that I don’t need.  At the end of the day, however, things would pretty much be the same if not worse.

When taking on any new goal that involves changing habits or life-style, it is a series of mental battles.  It is a series of decisions that eventually become habits.  Those become the new norm.  This eventually leads to the new definition of ourself.  It is about winning the little battles in the mind more often than losing them.  And it is knowing if you lost one, or even a dozen, that doesn’t mean you lost the war.  In just a moment, there will be another opportunity to make a different choice.  Seize that next one and shake off the last one.

As I go through this process, I blog and I post to the Fitsploration Facebook page.  To tell you a secret..quite honesty, some days, I feel like a complete fraud.  Don’t think I have not been told, “You need to read your own blog.”  Both my blog and that page, serve as a pep talk to me in some ways.  It is a method of driving home positive messages to myself and, hopefully, others as well.

I intend to be a person that is confident and courageous.  One that believes I shine and have greatness.  One that loves myself enough to know, no matter the amount of rejection and possibly even ridicule, it is not personal and does not lessen who I am.  A person who speaks up for myself and is unapologetic in asking for what I want.  A person who not only faces my fears but conquers them.  One who knows that I am one bad ass unicorn!

BAU

With that, I am going to share a success story.  I do so wish I had a better one but this one clearly demonstrates a difference between the old self and the new self.  I preface this also by saying..these are years apart and this is not a common occurrence in my life.

So, I was at a concert recently with a friend and this guy (a stranger) was definitely stepping over my/our boundaries. It started with just too much “closeness” and touching.  This, alone, was making me uncomfortable.  I was trying to politely create a little more distance; but then, the grinding started.  Yes, I said grinding; but yet, I STILL tried to find polite ways to make this stop..little non-verbal hints and adjustments.  At one point, I tried to negotiate a geographical swap with the couple next to us.  To which they unapologetically said, “No”.  I had exhausted all my usual passive methods and clearly no one was going to step in and “save” me.  I finally thought, “Why am I going to let this person ruin my evening?”  I have the power to stand up for myself.  So I turned around and stated, clearly and firmly but without anger, ”Please stop. Do not do that any more.”  Admittedly, it felt odd and I wondered if I seemed like a bitch; but again, that is just training of a different thought process.  A few minutes later, he leaned and said, “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to get all up in your business and stuff.”  To which I replied, “AH, but you did.”  The old self would have replied, “Oh, that’s ok.” because I wouldn’t want him to feel badly.  It wasn’t ok to me though.  Do you know how liberating that exchange felt?  Oddly enough, a very similar thing had happened a few years earlier.  At that time, my five-foot-nothin’ dear friend stepped in, looked straight up at this guy, and said, “You, stop f*cking with my friend!  I mean it.”  (She’s firm and not afraid to speak up.)  This time though..I. DID. IT!!!

I take my successes where I can because the path is not straight.  There are many setbacks and failures as I shed the old self and all her harmful beliefs and habits.  The key is to do my best, be assiduous in my pursuit, and win more of those mental battles than I lose.

battle more than once

Two footnotes:
1) Thank you, Paul, for sharing what success looks like! (http://paulpetersonlive.com/2013/04/09/what-success-looks-like/)
2) If you are a dude and think that grinding on a woman is the way to her heart (or whatever), I would politely suggest you evaluate your success rate.

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