Have you been discouraged lately? It's not a good feeling, and it's one that usually makes you delve into bad habits, which results in feeling even worse. Discouragement, it's not a good thing. The opposite of which is encouragement, a very good thing.
For me, I've been discouraged about my fitness. After two months of getting in shape for Brian's homecoming, then two months of celebration/vacation (which is keeping me company around my waist) I am getting back on the wagon. And as usual, I've been running up a storm now for two weeks and still haven't noticed visual results. Okay, so my chest shrank, but that's NOT encouraging. I have finally regained my stamina and can run 4 miles without feeling like I'm about to die (or needing the rest of the day to nap because I'm wiped out.) So though I'm not seeing the results I would desperately like to see, I've got to look at this with a broader scope.
Four miles. Kelly, that's A LOT.
I didn't grow up with an athletic family and I never aimed to be physically active until my mid-college years. Running 1 mile was a major accomplishment! Honestly, it has only been the past four years -since being married to He-Man- that I learned I could push myself athletically and attain higher goals than I had ever dreamed of.
I remember three years ago reaching the ability to run a solid 3 miles on the treadmill. I learned that it's okay to grunt as I strained on the pull-up machine. I pushed myself farther on my sit ups and instead of leaning on a set number, I knew I could squeak out a few more until my body quit. I wasn't ripped, but I was exceeding goals and learning that the tough stuff counts.
Persistence, dedication, patience, sweat and gumption. Most of these I learned through the example and encouragement of my husband. You just do it (Nike was on to something.) So with two months of "vacation" around my waist, how can I expect to slough it off in a mere two weeks? Exactly. I'm on a roll now and where there's smoke, there's fire. As I'm smoking myself on the trail, pushing the stroller and being pulled by the dog, those calories are sure to burn off in time. For now, I can cheer myself on, "Way to go, Kelly!," and be encouraged. I am cultivating a lifestyle that I desire and persistently pursuing my goals, and you can, too.
My sister and I have had many heart to hearts lately as she has been over going a major lifestyle change in her eating. She's also making exercise a priority and encouraging her six children by setting a new standard for her health and well-being. There's a lot of tough stuff she's working through, many old habits that definitely die hard, but she has noticed so many positive results in her overall health and THAT'S definitely an encouragement. Her bravery as she takes a hold of her life and gives it a major make-over has been so inspiring and helped me these past few weeks as I get myself back to where I want to be.
It's not so much vanity as it is about health, really. I want to be active and in great shape, getting outdoors as much as possible and eating well and responsibly for the rest of my life. I also want to look the best I can, within reason (I'm not going to be a gym rat or ban ice cream from my freezer.) Healthy is happy, and I definitely feel miles high after I've conquered my four mile run, or backpacked 5 miles of the trail toting Wilder. I'm more peaceful, alert and satisfied. In a way, I've already reached my goal. I may not be able to squeeze into a certain pair of jeans, but I have regained my physical stamina and feel darn proud to be running again.
If you're working towards a fitness goal, pushing hard and being consistent, don't be discouraged if you're not seeing results right away. They'll come. You must remember that you cannot undo months or years of results of poor health in a few days. It truly is a lifestyle change and, coming from a previously inactive person, be encouraged. YOU CAN DO IT!
PS: I have a little term that spurs me on when I'm dragging on the trail. "Exercise My Demons." (A play on words for those who think I misspelled it.) It reminds me that the tension and frustration I'm carrying, the grueling hills I'm climbing or the humid air I'm trying to push through like wet blankets, all will melt away with the amazing peace and satisfaction of a conqueror when I reach my finish line. So though it's painful to work through, there is peace at the end -and I want that peace.