You have to walk before you can run.
At this moment in my life, I am nowhere near a gym buff or in the shape that I once was. Just walking up the stairs can make me dizzy at times. But I have been walking outside almost every single day since my purchase of a FitBit. I find it is a good motivator and works well for me. It was always difficult to get to the gym over the summer with my daughter home, but I managed to get there as much as I could. It was never as much as during the school year, though. Swimming in my parents’ pool and working out at home was how I managed to stay in shape in the summertime. However, the last time I was at the gym was July 23, 2016. Soon after came my diagnosis of anaplastic astrocytoma, which threw me into the hospital, putting me on steroids and anti-seizure medication with orders not drive. Then the doctors warned me that my energy was going to be low because of the brain surgery and all the medicine I was on. They were totally correct. I tried to walk on days when I felt good enough but it was getting really cold and having these ‘auras’ (mini-seizures you are very aware of), I was nervous to walk alone. I started putting weight on from the steroids, and fast. I ended up gaining almost 30 pounds in 4 weeks. When I looked into the mirror, I did not recognize myself. Some said I looked like I was packing away walnuts in my cheeks, others said I looked the same, but they were just being nice. The reason I am writing this is to give some inspiration to those who hate to look in the mirror. Maybe some take criticism too personally. Maybe some of you just need some motivation to get back on track. Even if it touches one person, I will feel like I did my job.
I have never really been heavy but always struggled with self-esteem issues. My pregnancy with my son was the heaviest I had ever been and I had gained even more weight through my cancer journey than when I was pregnant. Let me tell you, those steroids make you HUNGRY! My boyfriend Jay would always joke how I was putting him to shame by being able to eat more than him. I am not really sure where my self-esteem issues came from or when they even started. All I know is that when I walked into a gym for the first time back in 1997, I found my passion. I had no clue what I was doing so I pretty much spent my time doing cardio. At some point I worked with my first trainer and absolutely fell in love with how I felt about myself and the transformation of my body. I loved being able to eat what I wanted and being able to just work it off at the gym…not the case anymore. LOL! There have been times when I have taken breaks from gym memberships and worked out at home. In fact, back in 2012 I started running. And that was my new passion. I did a few 5Ks, ran the trail almost every day and got myself up to running six or more miles. Which to some runners is not that much, but for me it was a huge accomplishment.
Using a treadmill at home is very boring to me. I can use it once in a while but I would much rather be outside or at the gym with people I can interact with. However, I started back on the treadmill, knowing I could not drive to the gym. I remembered that my parents had this quote, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.” My will was starting to get strong. I stopped beating myself up about the way I looked, now that I was also losing my hair from radiation. It’s just hair, right? It will grow back. Knowing that looking in the mirror was so difficult for me I had to figure out a way to stay positive while I tried to lose weight. Affirmations are huge for me and a lot of what I use in my sessions being a life coach. Researching in the book, You Can Heal Your Life by Louise L. Hay, I starting looking up affirmations to go with health, motivation and losing weight. Affirmations really do work in training your brain to think the positive, which will then manifest all positive things into your life. Google is a great place to find affirmations. One of my daily affirmations is, “I am the loving operator of my mind.” I was inspired to write affirmations down on Post-it notes and hang them all over my mirror. This way, when I would glance at myself, that was all I would see. I would then start to recite them as I visualized myself being back to my ‘feel good’ weight. Maybe I lived and still live in yoga pants and oversized shirts, but I also know this too is temporary until I fit back into my clothes. Right now comfort is important to me.
My time on the treadmill was thankfully cut short when the weather started to get nicer and my daughter wanted to walk to school everyday. I’m so grateful that in doing this both my dog and I were able to continue a walk for a good 35 minutes once we had dropped her at school. Rain or shine, we walk. Although my Chihuahua refuses to go out in the rain. Some days, I will walk twice depending on if my friend Rachel wants to go for one. Some days I am hitting 20,000 steps. And although I was walking, something still was missing from my life until today. Don’t get me wrong, I like to be home especially when it is quiet. But not being able to drive has meant my trips out of the house weren’t any further than Hellertown. In prayer, I asked God to help me get back to the gym as long as it is for my highest good. Within a few days my friend Heather messaged me and asked if I’d like to go to the gym with her. At first my thought was, “Well, I will be on my chemo pills and unsure of how I will feel.” Not soon after that thought, I was texting her back with a yes. She picked me up at 9 a.m.
this morning and off we went. It sort of felt like a dream being there. I took it easy and followed her routine with a little modification. My body was unsure of what was going on. Haha! And, she didn’t want to have to carry me out the door or call 911. When I got home and thought about how awesome it felt to be back there, I got a little emotional. I realized that I am getting my life back. And although I cannot drive, God brought people into my life who are willing to help me get there. So my message to you is never to hesitate to ask for what you want. God has ways of making things happen that you may not even think of. And, everything is temporary. My hair is growing back and I have already lost 14 pounds since being off the steroids and being able to walk. Once I can be off these chemo pills and not have to endure the nausea, I will go off bread again. Just going bread-free made me lose a ton of weight. I still did eat gluten, though, but not as much.
If you want something bad enough, visualize it. I visualize myself running daily, in clothes that are currently too small, but fit me great in my visualization. I feel free, with tons of energy. And it actually makes me feel like I could run again. Soon I will and I am so excited. In closing this article, I just would like to add, that it doesn’t matter what anyone thinks or says. YOU are the important one. When you are ready to make a change, you will. Remember, “Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”