The people side of the journey
I am swimming in blog topics this morning and finally chose this one after a Facebook message from my Mom and my experience at the gym yesterday inspired me.
From the very first day I blogged, and as I packed to head up to Fitness North boot camp, people have overwhelmed me with support and encouragement. Much of it has come from expected places. My close friends were there – Jimbo, Kate, Dennis and Jolita, and so many others. My college sorority sisters have been truly amazing, and the Marketing that Matters team with Jodi at the helm, equally amazing. Some of it though is unexpected. One of the unexpected surprises was how enthusiastically and aggressively each and every one of my family members wished me well – many of them encouraging me every day of the boot camp with cards and facebook posts, etc. I have not always felt this kind of enthusiasm for my accomplishments from my family, so this was an extra special blessing and it makes me so happy.
Throughout the last year, there have been many more positive surprises. Acquaintances on Facebook, former colleagues, more distant relatives — all reaching out, some on a regular basis with cheers, kudos, and just general admiration. When the Fitness North story was published in the Star Tribune and I was on the cover of the Variety section – nearly 200 people personally contacted me by phone, email or Facebook. Most I knew, but many I did not. Yesterday, after my workout at Balance for Life, one of the trainers came up to me to congratulate me on my success. Last week at Balance for Life, it was another client who just raved about my transformation. Complete strangers who have only watched me from afar.
Lions in the Den
O’Neal Hampton told us the eve of our fitness camp experience, that indeed we would need lions in our den to support us along the way. I shared that story with my sorority sisters and they have “roared” for me all this past year – sometimes in a very fun and joking fashion, which of course encapsulates why I love them so much! My friend Jimbo, every step of the way, totally there. And so many people on Facebook who swoop in and comment, encourage and surprise me with their consistency following the journey and providing ongoing support. Some I suspect have had weight loss challenges of their own. Others may be inspired by the story of personal triumph.
Perhaps this is why NBC’s Biggest Loser is such a hit. It’s about overcoming the very thing that has eluded us; the most difficult to overcome. For me, and for the BL contestants, it is a battle with obesity. But don’t we all have something that we battle? To see personal triumph in its raw reality – the good, the bad, the ugly – is inspiring. It makes people believe they too can do it. And I am here to tell you – YOU CAN DO IT! And I will help you.
Paying it forward – helps others. Their success feeds your success.
The other really cool thing about putting yourself out there and sharing the journey in a more public way, is the opportunity to “pay it forward” and the number of people you can help…just by walking the walk every day. This is my favorite part.
I have not been afraid to expose the personal or emotional side of the journey because I believe there are thousands of people (millions actually) just like me who are struggling with the same issues. Feeling as lost, distraught, lonely and hopeless as I did. I know that if I can do it, they can do it. And, I am someone who has always hoped to change the world in some positive way. Perhaps this is my way…and my time.
If sharing my story as a compulsive eater who ate to deal with stress, hurt, worry, and literally “stuffed” emotions in an attempt to protect myself from a sometimes harsh world…if that helps you or anyone struggling with obesity in any way, then hooray! And if admitting to the world that I am less than perfect and opening up about the emotional side of this journey can help another overcome similar struggles or feel less alone, then woooo hooooo…it’s a no- brainer.
I want everyone I love, and everyone in this country struggling with the disease of obesity to know that they too can beat it. They can change their health and thus their happiness quotient one day at a time. Just like I did. In fact, whatever your challenge or struggle, I now believe personal triumph is possible. I am living proof. And, not only possible, but perhaps easier than you think! Look for a light – for a ray of hope. For a helping hand. I had almost given up hope and then I found a light in O’Neal Hampton and his personal story, and with his encouragement, I took a leap of faith. Wow, did it work. (More on this in future blogs.)
Every day I hear from people in my life – some I know and some not – that my story has inspired or helped them in some way. Every day. I talk with people on the phone, via email/PM and I meet with people who want help. It feels sooooooooo good. Amazing! And it helps me stay focused on my program, too. It keeps the mojo going. O’Neal Hampton has been my mentor and role model in the Pay it Forward arena. And I am excited to explore this topic further, personally and professionally. You will see more blogs about it for sure, and at some point I will announce more formalized plans for what I will do when I reach goal to “Pay it Forward.” There is no question it will become an integrated part of my life. It already has.
Way to go Mom
This morning my heart leapt when my Mom sent me a Facebook message that just by being with me over Thanksgiving weekend she felt inspired and came home Monday and started a nutritional plan and stuck to it. She lost 11 lbs this week! OMG. How cool is that? She blows my numbers right out of the water. And the thing is, my Mom is smaller than I am. Although obesity runs in my family, my Mom has always been the closest to normal weight.
I am so proud of you Mom and so excited. I want to help everyone in my family find success on this journey so they can experience the health and happiness I have found this past year. It is never too late. Go Mom! We are going to look “hot” at Christmas.
The tough part of the people equation.
I am not going to lie, there is a tough side to experiencing dramatic change and becoming a different person. Some people in your life – for reasons that have nothing to do with you – simply will not relate in a positive way. They cannot be there for you or be happy for your success, and the relationship changes. Perhaps on some level they are jealous. Or, you are a reminder of something they don’t feel they can attain. Or, by you changing how you relate, it simply changes the dynamic of the relationship in a way that no longer works for them. Maybe, none of the above or all of the above. Whatever the reason, it’s difficult.
For me, this has been one of the biggest hurdles this past year. O’Neal warned me about it privately and encouraged me to stay the course even when people treat me differently and relationships end or change. What I didn’t expect was where/with whom it would happen. Or, the fact that sometimes people can be spiteful or outwardly harsh to cover their feelings of insecurity, fear, or whatever it is. The challenge is to stay the course and to accept that another person’s behavior/perception is simply out of your control. (What, out of my control?! Crap. You mean I can’t single handily change or fix it…)
The thing is, I “get it” on some level because I have been on the other side many times and had to privately work through feelings of “I want what she’s got” or “why can’t I have that?” Perhaps on some level comparing ourselves to others is human nature. But, for someone who lives her life centered around the people she loves, very relationship-focused, it has been the toughest thing to process. And I am still working through it.
That said, I am finding my way. And I trust this too shall pass. For some, they may come back into my life in a different way. For others, perhaps not. I must accept and acknowledge the reality of these changing relationships, process my feelings (without eating to stuff the emotion), and be open to what comes next. Okay, enough of that.
For the most part, 99% of the people part of this journey is a true blessing. Getting here has not come with me forging ahead as a lone tiger. But rather with a plethora of lions in my den, supporting me, encouraging me, and rooting for my success.
To those of you who have read my blog, messaged me on Facebook, called me, or in any way supported me through this life-changing experience, I am deeply and forever grateful. You know who you are…and, please, from the bottom of my heart, know how very much it means to me and how your encouragement has helped me get to where I am today. The truth is, we don’t do it alone.
Have a great and healthy day!