"Never be afraid to fall apart because it is an opportunity to rebuild yourself the way you wish you had been all along." --Rae Smith
Here we are: the day after Christmas, bellies full of holiday treats, staring down the start of a new year. For many of us, this is the time to make new goals; for others, our goals are made all year long. While this blog post is just before the start of a new year, its timing is coincidental. This has been a long time coming, and once I got up the nerve to write it, my internet went down and was out for a week. Once my internet was fixed, it was time for Christmas and family, and writing this was delayed again. But now . . . here we are.
I'm not exactly sure where to start. The beginning seems like a good place, but which beginning? This whole journey of fitness has been marked by beginnings, endings, false starts, do-overs, and here we are at another . . . another what? Beginning? Ending? Do-over?
Let's just call it another marker in the journey.
This is where I'll start: for about 20 years, I considered becoming a personal trainer, but there was always one thing holding me back--fear of being a "fat trainer." I know myself; I know my history. It's one dotted with false starts and do-overs. I was afraid of not being able to maintain the trainer "look." Like, who wants to hire a trainer who isn't in shape? If you can't even get yourself in shape, who will ever pay you to get THEM in shape?
So I put that idea on hold. For two decades.
In 2016, I worked hard and got myself, at the age of 42, in the best shape of my life. I was lean, I was strong, I had endurance, I had energy. I felt like myself for maybe the first time ever. I was comfortable in my own skin, and I felt happy and energetic. And I coasted on this feeling for a while. The next year, I finally took the plunge and became certified as a personal trainer.
But then, it happened--I went back to full-time work outside the home, which was both physically and mentally exhausting. I got lazy, and "suddenly," coasting wasn't working anymore. The weight started to creep back up. The fat started to envelop those pretty muscles I worked so hard to reveal. I was tired. I was unhappy. I didn't feel like myself. I became the "fat trainer." I was embarrassed teaching classes--how am I possibly going to motivate these women with my muffin top hanging over my leggings? Why should they trust me?
I wrote all that in past tense just now, but let's be honest--it's all present tense.
I got on the scale recently, and while I know it is not a true measure of fitness at all, the truth is that in the last two years, I have gained back 20 pounds. TWENTY. Do I have more muscle than I did in January 2016? You bet. Can I run farther and faster than I could in 2016? Four half marathons say so. But can you gain 20 pounds through less activity and poor food choices and still feel good about your fitness? Not so much. At least, I can't.
And so here we are: at a crossroads.
At times in my life, I've gotten to this point, and I've felt hopeless. Honestly, I do a little here, too. But I remember how tough I felt, how strong I was, how hard I worked . . . I want that back, and one thing I know about myself now, I can get it back. One day at a time, one hour at a time, one minute at a time. I just have to take each choice as it comes to me. I'm stronger than the leftover pie in my fridge (which will be in my trash can before too long). I'm stronger than the pull of the couch when it's time to hit the gym. I'm stronger than the warmth of my bed when the alarm goes off before the sun comes up. I know I am. I've SEEN it.
So here we are: a new beginning. No, a rebuilding. I've taken myself apart and laid all the parts out. I know what parts need replaced, what parts need a little elbow grease, what parts are in good working order and can carry the whole.
If you're working with me, I'm sorry if I'm the "fat trainer" who let you down. I'm sorry if my inability to motivate myself has hindered my ability to motivate you. But I'm hopeful that, instead, it lets you see me as a "real" person, who struggles just like you do. I'm hopeful that my rebuilding can inspire you to know that you, too, can start fresh. I'd love to be a part of your crew as we rebuild better, stronger, and fortified against whatever storms lie ahead.
Here we are. Are you in?