The Struggle

challenges

The young woman talked easily with  me sharing  her struggles with weight loss and food  describing her various up’s and down’s with weight loss over the years.

At one point she said…. “Oh, but I’m sure you don’t  understand that” as she does  an overall gesture that covers me from head to toe, indicating that based on how I look now I certainly couldn’t understand her struggles, or that I had walked in her shoes.

Maybe not to the entire degree she had, but the physique I have today, I wasn’t born with nor have I had it most of my life.

I’ve had to earn it, and it’s only come about in the past few years working at it. Which is pretty much exactly what I told her. She hadn’t known me very long when our paths crossed so it was perhaps easy for her to draw conclusions that I’ve always been some kind of fitness queen.

How did I explain the struggles I had been through in the past, yet, had overcome? Like, the need to go through a drive thru for a “snack” because I was “starving”? ( please note: you won’t really starve before you get home to get something better than a drive thru snack) I’ve since learned to keep a few decent snacks stashed away, for emergency purposes 😉 how I’ve trained myself to eat slowly and savor my food, and understand that it doesn’t take a lot to feed your hunger? That I made a dedicated, focused choice in the beginning to exercise? That some days I flat out didn’t want to do it, but now, couldn’t imagine NOT doing it? To treat food with respect and know that it will still be around tomorrow and I don’t have to eat it all tonight? Coming to an understanding that eating good, healthy, nutrient dense food wasn’t a punishment, but life giving, energy inducing, age defying goodness ?

I shared parts of my story with her and let her know that I did indeed, understand struggles. In fact, I’m pretty sure there isn’t a person around that doesn’t struggle at some point.

We struggle with eating to much, not eating enough, not enough of the good foods, or  to much junk, getting our bodies out the door to exercise, whatever it is, there can be struggles.

I’m no different.

I thought about that today as I was grocery shopping. There are SOOOO many tempting treats… so many impulse items we can buy. I mentally slapped myself and kept going several times.

You know how I don’t eat certain things ? I simply don’t bring them home…which…well… kinda sucks sometimes when I’m trolling really wanting something and it’s not there haha it’s a cruel paradox.

Not that I don’t have treats… ’cause I do… I’ve just learned that to be successful means saying no to impulsive moments more frequently than giving in to them.

If I want something, really want something, I do get it. Some things I try to not bring home ’cause I know it’s my “trigger”.

For instance, I adore Salt and Pepper kettle potato chips…. adore them. One day I was shopping with hubby and  drooling as I walked by them and he said.. “well, just grab them”

He doesn’t understand… they are like… crack to me…or I’m pretty sure they have crack in them… either way… no matter what… I know once that bag is opened … it’s all over.

My plan is to have just a few… but somehow… I nibble that bag away till they are gone the next day.

I know my weaknesses. I’ve learned tricks to deal with some of those weaknesses. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes, not so much so.

As I shared with the young woman, I haven’t gotten where I am without my fair share of struggles.

What’s kept me successful is not giving up, giving in, or quitting. Not saying I had a “bad” day and I’m a failure and it’s not working so I should just quit.

I guess, at some point, stubbornness isn’t a bad thing.  It can lead to success….

I want to remind you that struggles along the way to getting fit and healthy are normal. But I also think we are refined in the process.

struggle  to success

We learn to make better choices, think things through more, decide what really matters to us.

I’ve learned to think so critically about many things I put in my mouth, but again, it’s been a learned process that has been born through struggles.

I know it’s almost cliché to use that “anything worth having is worth working for” but it’s true.

Every time you make a better choice, pass on something you know you really don’t need, say yes to healthier foods, get out and move , whatever it is, will make you stronger and help you take the next step to your goals.

 

the-struggle-is-part-of-the-story-Whitney-English

I want to encourage you, no matter where you are on your journey, the struggle my friend, is a part of the victory of success.

Don’t give up.

Life Is Beautiful

life is beautiful

Life is beautiful. It’s really pretty amazing, isn’t it ? For a brief moment in time we’re given this glorious gift by our Creator to live out to our fullest.

New days. New moments. New opportunities.

Life can be glorious and beautiful and also full of struggles, hardships and down right overwhelming moments that leave us on our faces wondering if we will have the strength to stand for another day, and another shot, at this thing called life.

None of us move through this world immune to the difficulties that are a part of it. As much as we have good times and are blessed like crazy the hard stuff goes along with it.

Kinda like a painful ying/yang thing.

I was chatting with my childhood friend not so long ago ( ok, that is one of life’s blessings isn’t it? To still have a wonderful friendship with someone you’ve known since 5th grade??) and we were discussing lots of different things

When she tells me this…..

With you, I know you have all this energy and you’re always bouncing around, but I don’t get that kind of stressed-out, nose-to-the-grindstone kinda thing . Your vibe is so HAPPY, like even though you have a million things going it feels like you’re having a good time at the same time, you know?

Wow. I won’t lie … that meant a lot to me.

It meant a lot that in some ways as I moved through stuff in my life I’m able to still maintain a positive kinda attitude. When I share stuff on my personal Facebook page I try and maintain a positive vibe, even when I’m going through rough stuff. I will share things that are going on in my life that are hard, but I (over all) feel like those taking time to read my stuff have their own issues and don’t need me being down in my posts. It’s a choice I make.

I thanked her and shared with her several things I was currently dealing with… the real hard stuff.

No. My life isn’t perfect. I’m not, nor my family, often not daily circumstances, or situations I can’t control or other things that can come along.

Actually, nothing in life is “perfect” is it ? We do learn to appreciate the good times and blessings we receive, but hopefully, we learn how to stand, learn, and grow in the tough times.

Therefore, even when I’ve been in some of the thickest parts of the most painful experiences of my life, I try and keep in mind, life… beautiful, glorious life…. is still going on. I can take the good with the bad, the pain with the joy and embrace it or I can become hardened and bitter in the process.

My life has been blessed in more ways than I can count.  Sometimes I wonder what I’ve done to deserve such blessings. Really, I’ve done nothing. To me, God has blessed me, beyond measure.

In the past few years though, I’ve gone through many sorrows, difficulties, and much pain.

For example:

Child issues… it can be a rocky journey getting them to adulthood. There were many sleepless nights and a lot of tears with my kids.

My brother unexpectedly dying a few years ago. Holding my sobbing mother as we stood over his lifeless body, somewhere inside, I was screaming but it never seemed to make it’s way out. I drew on the strength that has always seemed to live in me as I helped her through those days. Yet as we moved through those days and months, I tried to find the beauty of life, and more importantly the beauty of what he saw in life. It was a surreal process we moved through.

My moms gradual declining health and struggle with various illnesses eventually led to her death last year. The sorrow of losing her and dealing with her affairs has been challenging at times. There are days I’m still wondering… how does one live in this world without a Mom ? And then I remember, I live in the ways she taught me. To be a strong woman and to handle what needs to be dealt with. When I do these things I honor her and her memory lives on.

Taking over care of my dad who has Alzheimers. He has declined a lot since her passing last year.  It’s a horrible disease that is awful to watch taking over. When a grown man shows up on your door step wanting to know where he lives and how long he’s lived there, it breaks your heart in fresh new ways, mainly because there’s nothing you can do to change things. He’s I tears. I’m in tears.

Trying to decide what things will be best for him and how to help him leave me sleepless at night because I feel so inadequate.

My husband went through a career change last year after 22 years of the same work. There are many new adventures with that, but those are areas that are private to us, therefore I won’t share much on the topic. Again, something new and challenging in life.

Of course then, this past summer, he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer which was an interesting speed bump in our lives. He is doing great and the prognosis is very good but we are still taking the necessary medical steps needed to make sure he is totally cancer free. We are beyond grateful for how everything seamlessly came together for rapid surgery, doctor appointments etc. Grateful that he has been able to return to work and that he is getting stronger.

Then let’s not forget just other things that can show up like an unexpected house guest on any day.

In all of that…in all of LIFE…. I had a choice. I could keep embracing each day as good that held blessings ( even in the midst of hardship, sorrow or difficulties) or I could curl up and become bitter, ask the “why” question and miss out on all the fun, good, lovely and beautiful things that were still happening.

It really is a choice, isn’t it ? Oh, don’t get me wrong. There were days I wondered if I could stand. There were nights I’d creep into the shower, let the water wash over me, and sob in the corner  praying for strength to keep moving forward.  I’d be lying to you if I didn’t tell you I hit those struggles like anyone else. I didn’t feel strong…. or courageous then… I felt weak and helpless.

Maybe it’s how we are individually wired? Maybe it’s the faith each one of us may possess?

Perhaps, it’s a stubbornness in me that chooses to see the beauty of life, even as it has the nerve to keep moving forward while I’m in my pain, difficulties and struggles… life keeps moving on…

In my loss. In my grief. In my sleepless nights. In my struggles.

Life is beautiful people.

In the midst of all that makes up life, the good, the bad, the joy, the sorrow, don’t allow moments to be stolen from you that can be embraced.

We might not have a choice over the things that happen in our lives but we definitely have a choice in how we respond and how we embrace life in it.

cry or dance

You my friend… have a choice.

In the words of one of my favorite Sixx A.M.  songs called Life is Beautiful……….

 Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.

Always.