I’ve been so enjoying the beautiful weather we’ve been having lately! Fall is my absolute favorite time of the year – the cool weather, the colors, the anticipation of the holiday season, the return of routine following summer (yes, I enjoy routine and predictability!) – it really is, in my opinion, the best season 😉 The fact that both my anniversary and my daughter’s birthday fall in September make it even better, and have caused me more than ever to pause and reflect on all the changes that have happened in my life since this time last year.
Last September, I was a new mommy of 2 with big transition ahead. We had decided at that point to leave young life staff with no plans for where to go from there. I was tired, lonely, incredibly in love with my family but terrified of the uncertainty of what was ahead for us. I was also angry at the scale because week after week after having Neely, the numbers weren’t dropping as quickly as I would have liked, and I didn’t really know how to change that.
I was feeling uncertain about myself (and had been for a long time, even without realizing it) and was wondering where I belonged, what was my place, what role did I fit perfectly into? You know, the familiar “What is my purpose? Why am I here?” question that I think we all ask at some time or another. For the first time, the road ahead was unclear, and it was scary. All we knew was where we had been and that it felt right to move forward… wherever that would lead.
Fast forward to January and things were starting to fall into place. We had moved into a new house, Bryan had started his new job, and we were getting to know Neely a bit better. One thing that still wasn’t changing was my body, and as much as I had accepted the fact that I was still dealing with a postpartum body, it was frustrating to me to stand at my closet and try on clothes that had fit me at one point in my life, but no longer zipped or buttoned. I think for any woman, to feel like you don’t recognize your own body is a scary place to be in. But to combine that with the new surroundings and new life we were beginning, I didn’t really recognize much of anything anymore! I needed help, and thank goodness, a friend reached out to me about joining her health and fitness challenge group. I had no idea what that even was, but because I loved my friend and I needed something to do, I said yes.
Within days I was changing, both inside and out. As I fueled my body with the proper nutrition, I felt strong and healthy in a way I had never experienced before. I struggled through the workouts every day, but hey, I was working out every day and that felt amazing. I was committed to 30 days, which terrified me, because what if I failed? What if I didn’t see any results? What if I couldn’t finish? But the community that surrounded me in that group helped me see that I would NOT fail. Even if I messed up this day or that day, that wasn’t the end. I could, and would, keep going.
My mind and heart were being transformed alongside my body. I began to believe in myself. I began to think much more positively. I got more brave – I wasn’t afraid to share a “sweaty selfie” in our group because when I did, people celebrated with me! I was being lifted up, supported, encouraged. I had people who believed in me, so I believed in myself. What a beautiful thing community is for a lonely, insecure, unsure young mom. I will be forever grateful.
As these transformations continued it brings me to today. I have lost over 25 pounds and gone from a size 10 to a size 4. I am more toned and more in shape than I ever have been, even in high school. But the real victories are in the inner transformations. A goal of mine when I started my weight loss was to feel like myself again. Well, I don’t feel like myself “again,” I feel more like me and more alive than I ever have before in my life! I feel like the BEST version of ME that has ever lived and I believe with my whole heart that this is only the beginning.
If you are in need of a community like the one I described above, I would LOVE for you to join me in my next challenge group where we can love and support YOU as you transform your life inside and out!