It’s All About the Climb

Friends, it feels like an eternity since my last blog post. Just before Christmas, I turned onto a new section of trail along my continuous journey toward wellness. Here’s the humbling photo depicting that starting point…is what it is.

It was a restart of the same holistic weight loss program I slayed back in 2012-13, so this re-entry was kind of like the 2.0 version…who knew that shortly it would become a more challenging master course? I’m older, more beat up and my horomones are vying for complete control, even more reason to hit reset, right? It was well past time to regain focus and I was so, so ready to ignite and set flame to this leg of my journey. See, I’m still dreaming and working toward a healthier me, but extenuating circumstances and that darn voice within immediatly started saying I’d never reach it. It all but extinguished my fire.

Mere days in, so many new struggles attempted to knock me down, that I began likening my situation to Miley Cyrus’ song “The Climb.” It was uncanny how aligned this road was becoming with that song!

I suddenly became support person for my brother that landed in the hospital with an appendix so outraged, they couldn’t remove it yet.

Every time I’ve been in that hospital, I’ve felt literally trapped. Time and energy are consumed in mass quantities and there’s nothing left but exhaustion. My big bro was discharged Christmas Eve night and that’s when the uphill battle really began for both of us.

I did all the little things I could to fit workouts and good nutrition between my everyday family stuff, work and my brother’s check-ins at the hospital. But as the song suggests, “always gonna be an uphill battle,” and this one felt like it was trying to knock me down. At this time, my mom was wintering solo in Arizona with unmistakable signs of dementia. I seriously felt lost with no direction…which way to turn? With my bro out of commission and no other siblings to share the load, it was clear to me at this point, I couldn’t allow this all to take me down…I had to keep on trying to find time for me. I kept my head held as high as I could even though I felt like crying my eyes out at most inopportune moments/places like the gym, work, social gatherings, etc.

I reminded myself I had to be strong and keep pushing on. But at the same time, I had to grant myself some major grace knowing sometimes, in my endeavors, I’m gonna have to lose. At the moment, it felt like my weight loss endeavors were smothered.

An upcoming short vacation I had planned, before all hell broke loose, had me questioning which way to turn. I didn’t want to lose this one. I had others I was responsible for to consider, and many people giving me opinions. In the end, I set all my ducks in a row, trusted my gut and decided that little getaway was what I needed most. And that afforded me some much needed time with my husband as well as a meetup with my faraway soul sister.

The respite was exactly what I needed to recharge so I could come back to everyone and everything stronger and ready to face whatever came next. And am I glad I did, because I got thrown right back in the hot seat, or plane seat to Arizona; it was time to bring my mom home so I could help her instead of just worry about what I couldn’t do for her from afar.

Knowing it was perhaps the last time I would be in the area, I had some unfinished business that seemed all too appropriate. Picacho Peak was a nearby mountain I had meant to hike/climb everytime I was down there, so it seemed to be now or never at this juncture of the sojourn. I felt like I had something to prove to myself. I did my homework to know this was going to be an uphill battle as in a difficult, strenuous metaphor for what was going on in my life.

Though parts of it were downright dangerous, I reminded myself it just wasn’t about how fast I got there. I was simply determined to tackle those chances I’m taking, the struggles I’m facing. Sadly, in my heart, I knew I was going to be climbing tougher, more terrifying challenges in the future with my mom’s declining health.

Though stretches of Hunter’s Trail/Picacho Peak were the hardest, sketchiest thing I’ve ever done, I know it doesn’t compare to what my heart will be going through in the near future, I just have to keep pushing on. I have to keep moving, climbing, and keep the faith as Miley urges.

At my own pace, in a body that’s proven its strength again and again, with plenty of what sustains me (water, fuel, faith)…well, I knew I could do it. And I stayed up there long enough to remind myself…there will always be another mountain that I’m always gonna wanna make move. And I should listen to those desires within because stretching myself, taking important time for me…these are going to be the game changers for my soul.

I figured as much effort as I put in, I needed a little reminder of what I had just accomplished…love that hat! I’ll be sure to wear it on days I need to dig extra deep. And with that, it was time to pack my mom’s things up and bring her home.

No sooner did I get her home and settled as best as I could in this frozen trundra, it was time for someone to finally get rid of an appendix!

Friends, if you’ve managed to read this far, know I appreciate you for listening. All of us are on this forward journey of life with our loved ones. We can be oh so grateful when life is calm and uneventful. But I invite you to take the inevitable struggles in stride, because it’s not about what’s waiting on the other side of these mountains. Just keep moving, keep climbing, (take care of yourself the best you can throughout) and keep the faith. These challenges with our loved ones, they are the moments we will remember most because it’s all about the climb!

Why Wait for the New Year!

Friends, it occurred to me on this first day of October…there are only three more months until the New Year! How did that happen?!?

I’ve been in a funky headspace the past couple of days. Maybe it’s the drastic transition into fall that killed my summer buzz, perhaps an overdose of fake, sensationalized social media…who knows, but it stirred up a bunch of yuck in my mind that has taken me days to clear…I keep thinking I’m beyond this, and yet, here I am again.

See, I made a few drastic lifestyle changes back in June that I thought would make significant progress toward my long-term wellness goals. I thought I had given them a fairly decent shot, but real life seemed to pull the proverbial rug out from under me again and again, leaving me with no measurable results. It would be easy to declare defeat…something I defaulted to over and over again in the past. Compelled to avoid the old habit of backslide, I dug up a tangible reminder why I won’t do that again.

I pulled this photo out of the vault for some valuable perspective. I can’t believe I’m sharing it!

This was my exhausted reality eleven years ago. I yearned to be active outdoors, had strong desire to be well but was crushed in a number of suffocating ways. I was struggling with obesity, high blood pressure and great sorrow knowing my dad’s cancer journey was nearly over by then. I look into the eyes and heart of that girl, knowing she felt about 80 years old back then on any given day.

When I revisit that image, I’m so grateful for the perspective! I’m reminded that although I didn’t get to where I was hoping to be by Oct 1st, my summer looked very different from that 2007 version.

My body allowed me to continue exploring new fitness modalities.

Despite coping with some chronic injury pain, I was able to move forward in ways that recharged my spirit!

 

I was able to embrace and celebrate special days I wasn’t completely sure I’d be around to witness.

I was able to tackle new adventures in a way that old body would never have allowed.

   

This newest version of me, despite not hitting that latest health target was able to play every inch of the way!

And so I may not be exactly where I’d hoped to be…I’m far from feeling as sick, tired and broken as my 2007 version. As a matter of fact, in ways, I am more driven, more balanced than ever before…

Friends, as we head into these last three months of 2018, I can choose to forget my routine notion of that past…that the upcoming holidays are a big giant train chugging closer and closer to derailment. That it will be time again to care for myself as the festivities wind down and the New Year reminds me to start trying again. Well, I could. And I used to. But why would I do that now?

There is no need to give up hope! We have such a great opportunity to be your best you, to start again today! Wherever we may be right now, we can make some loving, caring changes for ourselves one day at a time. Why wait until January?

I forgave myself for not hitting that bullseye I was aiming for these past few months. As I look back, I realize I didn’t miss the target altogether…I just need to slightly readjust, refocus my aim and give it my best shot. One more way to put my Best Foot Forward…and you can too!

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Moving Toward a Greater Good

I know I’ve been really quiet lately, Friends; it’s that time of year for me, I guess. Readers who have been with me for a while know I’ve been struggling for the past six years coming to terms with my dad’s death. Each year as October rolls around, although another year has passed, I find myself feeling that same familiar sting.

 

Remember, I was very much Daddy’s little girl, his continuous shadow here on earth until his very last night.

I’ve been spinning my wheels…in a holding pattern unable to move forward for a while now. So, recently, I did some tough work with my health coach. It was sort of disguised as a weight loss sort of session, but this woman is so gifted at peeling away the layers, tearing clear down to the heart of the matter so effortlessly. I’ve been working with her for the past 5 1/2 years throughout my weight loss journey and beyond.

Much of my struggle keeps coming back to grief and loss. So we did some pretty intense work on it recently. I’m finally coming to terms with the belief that although I grieve for what I lost, I know that a greater good will follow.

Thankfully, my husband and I have been involved in a challenge Walktober through his employer’s wellness program. It is a simple step challenge from Oct 2-Nov 12. I’m grateful I had a goal for this time of year, something to calm my October inner storm. Here’s what happened with that…

I put out an all call for walking buddies and grabbed this bull of a challenge by the horns. Here’s a little proof of the consistency a goal/challenge can afford. I got the job done EVERY SINGLE DAY.

It really helped to have company, gave me someone to catch up with, someone else to think about. Because on the days I was alone, it felt a whole bunch more somber, like this…

So I continued turning over that notion of a greater good following this immense loss I’ve experienced. And I know that can mean a million different things. But something happened, something so unexpected, something far too coincidental to be random, which made that idea crystal clear in my mind.

On the anniversary of my dad’s death a few weeks back, one of my dearest friends lost her mom. And on the anniversary of my dad’s funeral, we came together in Omaha to celebrate her life. The morning of her funeral I took some time to continue work on my step challenge in a most profound way.  The reality of what happened began to sink in.

I was simply astonished. Leave it to God to do something so unique, so healing through someone else’s loss.

This friend has walked supportively beside me throughout my journey (even on this challenge!!!), and I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to do the same while observing those tough dates together from now on. Something I think I may have needed but didn’t realize. A greater good?!? Well, maybe that’s not exactly what my health coach meant, but I can’t ignore a sign of this magnitude.

Just as in years past, as October turns to November and the focus shifts, the lump in my throat loosens, the tenseness melts away and I can breathe deeply once again.

I’m so glad I had a challenge to keep me moving forward. I have four more days to go…who wants to walk?

I must admit, with all those miles behind me, I can hardly wait to do anything other than walking!

 

NSV…Look What I Can Finally Do!

I was eager for my training session today…hopeful to finally put weight on the bar for my press. I’ve only recently started pressing the naked 45 pound bar and today was the day to increase. I admit, when I saw how small the weights were, my first instinct was to be embarrassed at how pathetic it must have looked to the heavy lifters around me.

Shame on me for going that direction! It quickly dawned on me how significant this was; in that moment, my perspective shifted to gratitude.

Although there is just no flattering angle for today’s NSV…this non-scale victory is so important! I don’t know if you can even see those weights on that bar, but I am pressing 55 pounds. Today I am especially grateful for the ability to lift anything considering it has taken me three years (post car accident) to work up to this following broken ribs/sternum and the chiropractor putting shoulder, neck and collarbone stuff back where it all belongs. It feels downright awesome to be fully functional again. ALIVE!

Friends, have you struggled to finally achieve something you’ve been spinning your wheels to accomplish? Instead of beating yourself up about how long it has taken, grant yourself a moment of grace. Look back at barriers you’ve had to overcome in order to be where you are right now, then consider it a NSV to celebrate! A shift in perspective may be exactly what you need to embrace where you are right now; it’s just one more way to put your Best Foot Forward.