Here is the last part of the 3 part series (part one and part two) on my journey in health and fitness. These posts have been a bit more emotional and sappy than I had originally planned (and nope sorry this one is no different) but I am hoping that from opening up and sharing with everyone I can in some small way help to motivate,support or encourage someone out there to do something awesome for themselves.
Much of my young life was spent clouded by a negative image of myself and it wasn’t until my early 20’s that I started to realize that in order to grow I had to want to grow. This is the realization that lead me to seeking out the help I needed in order to find that growth, and well here we are today. I am now getting ready to leave my glorious 20’s in just a little over a year and I am now finally starting to feel settled in my skin. When I say “settled in my skin” I by no means mean that I am at a point where I feel that I look perfect, act perfect, know everything and never need to look inwards again. What I mean is I have realized that I am not perfect, I cannot fix everything on my own, and not everything needs to be fixed, and I am happy and comfortable knowing this.
Over the short years that have been my life I have always wanted to be perfect or better yet be someone else. It wasn’t until the introduction of some solid and supportive friends, positive role models, inner reflection and learning how to ask for help, that I realized I just am who I am and that is okay. This realization began when I found my Naturopath; she was caring, understanding, and an amazing listener. She encouraged me to take a minute for myself and taught me how to start asking for help without feeling shame. My monthly visits with her were something I looked forward to, it was exciting learning new things, catching up and having her check in with how I was doing (I was on a cleanse at the time, I was completely crazy), but she was there to help me get through it, monitor my progress and encourage me.
It was during this time with the Naturopath that an amazing friend of mine and I decided to start dabbling in yoga, starting up one day a week, two, three, and then it somehow turned into an almost daily ritual with us. Going to yoga wasn’t only about moving my body and burning calories, it was about self time and it eventually started to feel like a small community. Seeing the same faces from week to week, instructors getting to know my aches and pains and encouraging me try the next level. It was this type of gentle encouragement which started me back on a path of loving my body and respecting all the amazing things it was capable of doing without comparing it to others. I began to learn how to appreciate my body for what it was/is, instead of hating it for all it was/is not. Slowly all of this positive momentum built and I started experimenting with cooking again, started looking after myself (my knees in particular) and making healthier and happier choices.
I think I should point out that despite this love of sweating and learning to cook/bake new healthy things for myself I still wasn’t in peak physical form I was just happy. Which I have found makes a huge difference no matter where you are physically in your life.
I understand this is all sounding very soft and fuzzy, so happy, so positive and it definitely was, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a couple if not several bumps and hiccups along the way. In my experience there is no such thing as a never ending winning streak, it is just a matter of learning how to deal with the loses or bumps that matters. For me the struggle is learning how to deal with self dissatisfaction and disappointment, and turning it into lessons and motivation as opposed to roadblocks.
At this point I had been seeing what I was capable of on my own or with a friend, but I had always toyed with the idea of personal training, but always felt too self conscious to really examine it seriously, until the fated day I told to enter my name in a raffle while attending the opening of a new gym and was lucky enough to win 3 free personal training sessions. I pretty much instantly feel in love with the gym, the workouts and the trainer. Working with Alannah has been as encouraging to me as my first days with my Naturopath, my first full week of yoga, or my first 10k race. I am so happy I won those sessions and have been lucky enough to keep training with her, it has been and continues to be amazing discovering how much I am capable of, the ceiling just keeps getting higher.
Now welcome to the present day of my journey. I’m sure it would have been nice to start off where I am today but then I think “would I have learnt all the things I know now?” “would I have respect for all the little things I had to work so hard for?” Maybe, but having put in the amount of effort I have over the years to; build up to that 130lbs deadlift, do a full side plank in my yoga classes, run 5km in under 30 minutes or choosing steamed broccoli over poutine as a side dish makes me beam with pride, and that I would never want to lose.
I have maybe taken the long route to get to where I am but this route has helped me to realize what potential is and can be. It has taught me that potential is what matters, not perfection and that potential isn’t a place to arrive at but rather an idea to keep you motivated for change and growth.
What small decisions do you make every day that make you proud of yourself? Have you ever struggled with self-satisfaction?