My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Asking for help

This has been a tough one for me in the past.

I grew up very shy and very introverted.  I didn’t start coming out of my shell until I was in my 20s.  I did not ask for help often, even when I knew I needed it.  I would struggle through whatever was giving me trouble.  Although, admittedly, sometimes it was just my stubbornness that would get in the way.  And sometimes I think it was the fear of losing control that prevented me from asking for help.

But the older I get, the more I realize that there is no shame in asking for help.  In fact, it’s often the best thing to do.  And the idea of losing control over something just because you ask for help is quite simply a little ridiculous.  I wish I had learned those lessons when I was younger.

When I started this journey to a healthier me, I knew from the beginning that I would help… and lots of it!  At the beginning I did a lot of reading, watching health segments on tv, searching online for information.  It helped get me started, but I knew it wouldn’t be enough.  But of course, I didn’t really know where to find the help I needed.

Our friend Sharlene was the one who suggested we join Quinte’s Biggest Loser in 2012 when it started.  The first year, I think there was a group of 8 of us who joined.  I’m not sure how many joined the second year.  (And for the record, for some reason they are not doing it on this year).  They had nutrition classes, plus we got free passes to some of the local gyms and lots and lots of information.  Plus I met some really awesome people.  It really kicked up my journey in a big way.

And because I started going to the gym, I met other people who could help me, most important of all is Tyler.  Asking him to help me was the one of the scariest, yet best things I ever did.  His help has been priceless to me.

But I’ve met many people who’ve helped me too, whether they realize they have or not.  Sometimes, their help has just been being a friend, listening to my troubles, or cheering me on.  Sometimes they have given me ideas for my blog.  Sometimes they answer my questions or show me a better way to do something.

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned in the journey is never to be afraid to ask for help.  We can all use help, whether we want to admit it or not.  I’m not afraid to admit that I need the help.

And right now, I could use some help.

I need to add exercises to the ones I already have.  Ones I can do at home or outside, not just ones for the gym.  Ones where I need little or no equipment. Know a book you think might help?  Have a favourite website? Let me know! I can use all the suggestions I can get.

I need suggestions for healthy snacks and meals.  Do you have a favourite recipe? What’s your go-to snack?

I need help with motivation and inspiration.  Do you have a favourite quote that helps you? Maybe a favourite celebrity or fitness guru? Any tips or tricks you like to use to keep yourself going when you struggle?

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I’m in control …

And I have been from the start…

But I just figured that out.

I’ve been trying to write this post for a while now. But every time I started, I just couldn’t find the right words. Very frustrating when that happens.

And that’s part of the reason I haven’t posted anything recently. There are things I want to write. Things that are stuck in my head, but I just can’t seem to get them out on paper or, in this case, on the screen.

When I started this journey in 2009, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I knew that I had to make changes, but didn’t really know how to do that. I sort of winged it at the beginning. First changing how and what I ate, and then just moving more. Those were really the only things I knew for sure. I didn’t know how long it would take to get to my goal, and I didn’t know exactly how I would get there. I just knew that I had to start small. More than once I felt lost, unsure of myself. But somehow I managed. The universe tested me repeatedly, and while I stumbled, I never gave up. Admittedly, I came close a few times. But I knew my life depended on me continuing, so I kept at it.

And then things seemed to calm down. The universe appeared to be leaving me alone. I was making bigger strides. I joined Quinte’s Biggest Loser, found a gym, made some new friends. And while I still wasn’t sure I knew what I was doing, my world was expanding and I was slowly gaining more knowledge. And then I met Tyler. Sometimes I think meeting him was the universe’s way of saying sorry for all the trouble and here’s some extra help for you. I was very nervous when I asked him to take me on as a client, but I somehow knew he was someone who could really help me. And I knew I really needed the help. Together, I made even bigger strides. I learned more than I thought possible. Tyler taught me so much … about fitness … about nutrition … about myself. And in the process, we became good friends.

And then we were forced to change gyms. While I was worried about what that would do to my progress, Tyler was confident we would be fine. He, of course, was right. There have been other small challenges along the way, but with my new-found confidence (sometimes my own, sometimes borrowed from a friend), I tackled each one as they came. And learning more and more with each one.

And then the universe decided to throw a huge challenge at me. Tyler decided to go back to school … Across the country. While I was (and still am) incredibly proud of him for making that choice, I was worried I wouldn’t do as well without his help. He said we would still work together, it would just be online. He would send me workout videos, I would send him weekly and monthly progress reports, and we would video chat whenever possible. I was thrilled he still wanted to help, but I was still worried. I was worried he wouldn’t have time once school started. I knew school and work would take up a lot of his time. I told him repeatedly that his school and job were way more important than helping me. And I meant it (still do). So the new system worked for awhile, but as I suspected, it became too much for him. And while I was heartbroken about it, I understood.

So basically I was on my own. I had gained a lot of knowledge in a year and a half, but wasn’t completely sure what to do with it all. Tyler did leave me some stuff before he left. And I had the videos he sent me. But I was feeling lost. I always tried to do my best. I had a few friends that worked out at the same time as me, and that helped. I would ask them questions. They would help me with my technique, and give me a spot when I was dealing with heavier weights. But slowly, those friends disappeared for one reason or another. And then I was left to myself. (They didn’t completely disappear out of my life, they just weren’t working out at the same time, or they were no longer at the same gym, or life just got in the way.)

I still tried the best I could, but I started to struggle. It seemed that the harder I tried, the more I struggled. And more often than I want to admit, I wanted to give up. But I kept going, determined to prove the naysayers wrong. It’s been a battle though. Mostly a mental one. I’ve had so much support around me for so long, that I haven’t been able to figure out what to do without it. Okay, it’s not completely gone, I know that. But it’s not there every day. Does that makes sense? It does to me, but maybe not to everyone. Maybe you need to be in a situation like mine to truly understand. But that’s neither here nor there. The point is, even though I was struggling, I kept going and doing what I could. And the weeks and months went on.

So now it’s a new year. And I’m still trying to figure it all out. But something has changed. I feel more determined somehow. I know I need to make some changes, and I know I need to figure out how. I need to tighten up my nutrition. I need to add new exercises to what I’m already doing. I need to remember why I started this journey. I need to remind myself that I’m doing this for me. I’m the one in control.

I’ll repeat that — I’M THE ONE IN CONTROL. And here’s the thing — I always have been, I just didn’t realize it. That may sound odd. And you might be thinking, how is it that I didn’t know. But remember, this has been all new to me. Most of what I’ve done in the last few years, I had never done before. And while I’ve had plenty of help along the way, I’m the one who’s been making the decisions. Someone would tell me what they think I needed to do, and I’d say okay and do it. I trusted them to point me in the right direction, but I always made the choice to go there. Okay, sometimes I needed an extra push or two, but I’d like to think that if I didn’t want to go, I wouldn’t have gone.

I was smart enough to know I couldn’t do it alone. I was smart enough to find people to help me. And I’d like to think I’m still smart enough to know those things. But most of all, I hope I’m smart enough to remember that I’m the one in control. This whole process is up to me. It’s great having people help me and support me, and I definitely need both, but in the end, it’s all up to me.  In the end, I’m the only one I have to please, the only one I have to answer to, the only one I have to make proud.  Me and only me.

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Hello 2014!

The start of a new year has come upon us. I’m not one of those that makes New Years resolutions. For some reason, I’ve always thought that had a negative tone to it. Instead, I make goals. I write things down I’d like to accomplish throughout the year. I try to keep them realistic and attainable. Some are small, others big. Last year, I created 4 fitness goals for myself. And I completed them all in less than 6 months. I was pretty proud of myself for that, but that left me with no real goals set for the rest of the year. At times I felt a little unfocused. I’m trying to do better this year. And I want to look at other areas of my life, not just my fitness journey. So with that in mind, here are some of my goals for 2014:

1) volunteer more of my time

2) improve my jogging, both time and distance

3) compete in and finish a 5k Colour Run

4) declutter my house (at least in part)

5) have at least part of the skin removal surgery I need

6) improve my 5k time

7) try at least one new food each month or revisit ones I think I don’t like

8) learn new recipes

9) read more

10) incorporate more “me time”

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So there you have it. Not a long list, but then again it doesn’t really have to be. Some are fitness related, but all are related to my journey to be a healthier person in some way.

What about you? What are some of your goals for 2014?

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