Why "Taking Care of Me?"

April 16, 2011 marked a new starting point for me. My sweet husband surprised me with a trip to a health spa, Fitness Ridge to be exact. It was literally life-changing, but didn't have the immediate results I, and I presume everyone else, expected to see. We watch The Biggest Loser and are amazed by their quick transformations and think- finally a difficult yet good way to finally lose the weight. Don't get me wrong I did start losing weight, but more importantly I started the journey to taking better care of me. That gift, when I remember to apply it, has been so vital in changing so many aspects of my life. Taking care of ourselves doesn't always look like spas, facials and massages. Rather it looks more like taking the time to cut those vegetables; getting a little less sleep to make it to the early morning spin class; taking the 5-10 minutes to pray and meditate at the end of the day. All because these things are really what taking care of ourselves look like.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Seeing the Beauty.

When I first saw this picture on a public forum- I. ABOUT. DIED.  It was taken on July 25, 2012 by a good friend and EXCELLENT motivator, Kristie Nation.  When I came to, I realized that this is what I really look like, and have since tried to see it more positively.

Speed ahead to this past Sunday and I put on a knee length dress.  Saw those same huge calves, but decided to look at them differently.  They are the same strong legs that power me through difficult rides and rarely tire or get injured.  They are strong.  They are good legs.  I can decide to like them at any size.  And I am deciding to do just that.  What I have learned lately is that changing a paradigm, or way of thinking, is a process.  I first decide I want to change it, but then old ways of thinking continually crop back in.  So I have to fight back.  Maybe I will add something about my strong legs to my daily affirmation.  Currently its, "I AM a beautiful, happy, healthy, fit, faithful, kind, loving, strong, sensitive daughter of God."  I could add, "I AM a beautiful, happy, healthy, fit, faithful, kind, loving, strong, sensitive daughter of God, with nice legs."  I'll work on it a little.  This affirmation has helped me TREMENDOUSLY- thank you Jen, Carolyn and Alisha (three of my past and current therapists).

Back to the dress- instead of staying in my head and beating myself up I decided to rock the knee length dress and throw on some nude heels.   It was hard to walk out the door, but I kept telling myself how grateful I was for my strong legs, legs that not even 24 hours before this had helped me to ride 61 miles of somewhat tough terrain, a total ascent of 1,151.57 feet and that was over several hills.  Not a lot to some but it was a first for me, and firsts are kind of big things!  And you know what happened at church?  Did anyone look at me like the fat cow I have often told myself that I am. NO!  Or if they did I have chosen not to notice or dwell on those looks and actually realize those that judge me have some big issues themselves that they need to work on.  BUT what I did get was some really positive, "You are looking great and I know you are working hard for it!" kind of comments.  I felt great and I didn't look in the mirror again and say anything negative about my legs.  It was a victory- a big one for me.

Next victory- I have committed to taking a full body cycling picture once a month.  That means August 25 is my next one and I will use this as a tracking device, too.  I don't expect big changes- back to my reasonable expectations, but it will be a nice tool down the road as I stay on this journey.  And I good reminder of something I love and feel successful doing at any size.  And I feel beautiful on my bike.  And I'm choosing to see my beauty off the bike as well.  And changing the way I view beauty.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy, Healthy and Free!

I am still not anywhere near my goal weight, but I have reached an even MORE important milestone.  I am feeling happy, healthy and free!  And a big part of that has to do with what I thought would get my more quickly to my goal weight- fitness!

I signed up for my first triathlon training class in May 2011.  I was hooked!  Danielle, the instructor has more enthusiasm than her small frame can contain.  She's SO encouraging and such an example of fitness in her own life.  At the end of the month we did our own "triathlon".   That was the first time I had ever swam so far in my life.  In fact at the beginning of May I hadn't EVER swam a lap.  My running wasn't great, but I LOVED the spinning!

Later that summer, end of September- so I guess technically fall.   I signed up to compete in Triathamom, and completed my first official triathlon.  Still didn't love the run portion, but I felt like a decent swimmer at that point, and still LOVED the bike portion.  In fact I started scouring classified ads to find my own road bike.  Which I did shortly, after that- my own Little Red, otherwise known as a Specialized Dolce.  I've loved her and she's been a great companion- which you'll read about more shortly.

I don't know at what point I found a local athletic group, "Triple Threat Triathletes" started by Rachael Gill, but it has been a life-changer.  The strength of reciprocally encouraging friendships has been so amazing.  So many inspiring women and a couple of men, that help me get out of bed at 5:00 in the morning, or help me to not skip that run even when I REALLY don't want to do it.  I don't know if its a shared craziness, or mutual desires to escape the stresses of life, or truly just a love for these sports- probably a little of all three, heaviest emphasis on the last one.  Whatever it is- this is just what I have needed in my life.  It truly does make me Happy, Healthy and Free- which is where I want to be.  The weight is slowly coming off, and THAT no longer matters as much to me.

DON'T mistake that last statement as apathy or that I am now suddenly thick-skinned.  I still feel sad when someone sizes me up as a novice swimmer, or assumes I probably couldn't ride down the street, or wonders- "Wow, if she is riding her bike over 8 hours a week, why doesn't she look like all the other cyclists?"  The Truth is cycling and all fitness in general has become so much more accessible to the masses and I'm so happy about that.  I would love to look differently on my bike.   BUT that doesn't change the exhilaration I get when I cut time off of a hill climb, or just feel stronger all around.  I love it, I'm hooked and maybe possibly a little addicted.   You have to love it in order to be training for a century and then sign up to do a 70 miler 2 weeks later, just because it sounds like so much fun and you wanna do it with the other girls in the group.  Oh yeah, I didn't mention I signed up for my first half marathon in February 2013.  That will be the subject of another post!