I can’t believe it’s been two months since I’ve posted a Thankful Thursday. And to miss all of November seems borderline sacrilegious. Yikes!
Hopefully I’ll make up for that, though. I’ll preface that this Thankful Thursday post is going to be a somewhat vulnerable topic for me, but I feel like it’s been awhile since I’ve head a heart-to-heart with my blog followers. I thought about writing it last week, actually, until I realized it was Thanksgiving and seemed to be hypocritical given it’s a day of (over)indulgence.
Today (and practically every day for the past few months) I’m thankful for my health and how far I’ve come in the past few years. And even though I’m incredibly proud of that success, I don’t really talk about it (with the exception of the middle and the little). It’s something I keep buried in the past for one reason or another. I’m done with that. It’s time to embrace the whole picture. Celebrate the accomplishments and the process, right?
Health is a big passion of mine but I didn’t always make it a priority in my life. Growing up I constantly thought about trying to lose weight and get in shape. It was the putting it into practice part where I fell short. I always reasoned that I didn’t have the resources, time or know-how to create a healthy lifestyle. Case in point: first year of grad school.
The sad thing is, there are worse photos. And I mean much, much worse (in fact, the middle sent me one she found yesterday while looking for the photo that captured the disaster that was my holiday sweater a few years ago…). Thankfully most of those god-awful photos are stored away in photo boxes and scrapbooks in my mom’s craft area of the basement.
But that was then, and this is now.
Once I was done with school, I got serious and things finally clicked. What’s great is that it isn’t about vanity. It started out that way. but somewhere along the way it became about something else entirely. I always blush when people comment on how much I’ve changed. I get a bigger high, though, from a really great spinning or zumba class. This whole journey has been about how working out and eating right makes me feel. When nothing is going right in my world, a great class or going out for a run can easily change that.
That’s really the mindset shift that needed to occur. It became about me. Last weekend I read What I Talk About When I Talk About Running and there was a portion where the author talked about hating gym classes and team sports. For him, working out was about doing what he enjoyed, not competing or what other people thought he needed to do to get into better shape. Running is simply about bettering himself. That’s how I finally started to feel about my efforts. I’ve found exercise I love and that’s made all the difference.
This process was also really important for me because I’m overly obsessive about preventing chronic health conditions (hence my public health passion and co-leading the chronic disease self management course). Lindsay (who coincidentally took the photo below) and I were talking a few weeks ago about health and longevity. In her family nearly everyone has lost their lives to cancer. In my family, it’s primarily chronic health conditions — many of which are preventable and manageable by making healthier choices.
Even from an early age, I knew I was at risk for a range of health problems given my family history. It’s in my best interest to stay on top of my health, and if that’s not motivation, I don’t know what is.
At this point I’m a good 60 pounds lighter than I was at my highest weight. I normally try to hide that fact, but instead I want to embrace it and be open about it (I’m telling you, Brene Brown will change your whole perspective on shame and vulnerability!). I’ve come a long way, and for that I’m incredibly thankful.
I’m also blessed with fabulous instructors. Very few people could get me excited about a 5:30 a.m. spinning class and I’ve been going to my regular zumba instructor’s class for more than three years now. Thank goodness for all of them!
Losing weight and getting in shape is a hell of a lot easier said than done. I can absolutely vouch for that. I’d say I’m thankful for willpower, but in my opinion it’s not entirely about that. It’s really about the lifestyle and mindset change and making it part of a daily/weekly routine. It’s about dedication and investing in yourself and your health. It’s amazing what the human body can do when you put your mind to it and stick with it. Like completing a 5K…
I’m incredibly thankful for this shift in my life. And for finally talking about it.