Operation: Winter Warrior

When I started this journey almost five months ago, my goal was to lose 30 pounds before the new year.  As of this morning, my weight loss goal was achieved.  Thirty pounds in five months.  I honestly can’t believe how far I’ve come in that amount of time.  When I started, I struggled to run more than one or two miles at a decent pace, my weightlifting regimen wasn’t happening, and my diet was admittedly poor.

Yesterday, I began to converse with a gentleman at the gym; about the same age, a bit taller than me, similar build. He mentioned how he was trying to lose about 25 pounds and was just starting to diet.  As we kept talking, I subconsciously began keeping track of his workouts.  He began to run on the treadmill – 5.5 mph for 12 minutes before running out of breath; similar to where I was when I started; and his weights were very similar to where I was 5 months ago, too.

Once he left, the realization set in.  That was me; my past; who I was 5 months ago.  At some point, I made a decision at the proverbial fork in the road.  Continue to go down the same path, or start being the kind of person that I wanted to be.  When you push yourself, and I mean REALLY push yourself both mentally and physically, you start to realize that you can achieve a lot more than you may have originally thought you could.

Now alone in the gym, my workout stopped as I slowly approached the mirror, looking straight at the floor.  I closed my eyes and saw a picture of myself only five months ago.  Stressed.  Fatigued.  Drained.  Lacking confidence.   I raised my head and opened my eyes, looking at the present picture of myself.  Strong.  Energetic.  Secure.  Confident.

Whether it be at the gym, at school, at work, on the field, or elsewhere, the battle that we face is against ourselves.  Have you progressed since last year?  Last month?  Could the “you of today” conquer the “you of yesterday”?  When I started, the answer to those questions was a resounding “no”, and that was not okay with me.

Enter my new challenge, Operation: Winter Warrior.  You will be competing against one other person reading this post in a challenge to improve your mental and physical health.  You will win the challenge only if you improve more than your opponent.  If it’s a tie, THEY win.  Here’s the catch – your opponent was sitting where you were sitting 5 seconds ago.  That’s right, your opposition is you.  Remember where you are today, both physically and mentally.  In three weeks, ask yourself if the “you of today” could EASILY conquer the “you of yesterday”.  If the answer is yes, you have succeeded.

Many people make New Years Resolutions, but here we are, three weeks away from the new year.  Why wait?  There’s no better time than now to start achieving everything that you want from life.

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To Forgive; Divine

Most of my posts are often inspired by someone in my life or something that happens throughout the course of my day.  I was touched to receive a message on my CC community asking me to write about a specific topic that could hopefully motivate and encourage people.  Thank you for the message Susan (joyful)!

Think back to a week ago; a month ago; a year ago.  Many different people have said many different things to me.  I find it interesting that I remember a lot of the negative things that people have said to me or about me, but can’t remember any compliments that I have received in the recent past.  Negativity directed towards you, specifically from friends or family, can be haunting and put a major strain on even the best of relationships.  There are many people out there who have estranged family members, which could be due to a variety of different reasons.

A tense relationship with a friend or a loved one is stressful.  I’ve been there, as everyone has to varying degrees of severity.  It’s not fun, and as the stress builds up, the adverse effects of the stress will rear its ugly head.  Some people turn to alcohol abuse.  Others turn to other forms of abuse.  For others such as myself, we will rapidly gain or lose weight, often times to unhealthy levels.

If the mind is willing, the body will follow.  If the mind is unwilling, the body will still follow, just down the wrong path.  Can stress lead to eating disorders?  Of course!  How many times have you had a bad day and just wanted to come home and eat a tub of ice cream or a bag of chips in front of the TV?  To find the solution to this particular stress, you need only look at the causes.  Anger.  Fear of getting hurt again.  Resentment towards the negativity directed at you.

This is where forgiveness comes into play; the act of letting go of your resentment and your grudges and working to rebuild your relationship.  This is not to say that whatever wrongs have been committed are justifiable, but rather it’s a conscious decision to let go of your anger and try to rebuild a healthy and meaningful relationship.  What is the point of holding a grudge?  What are you gaining from not speaking to a close friend or family member?  The animosity and resentment is building inside you and building inside them, which doesn’t help anyone.

December is a month where many families gather for the holidays, and as such, here is my challenge to those that read this blog.  If you have a relationship with a family member that includes a large amount of hostility, I challenge you to improve that relationship, rise above the disharmony, and do your best to bury the hatchet.  While you may not see immediate results, don’t stop trying.  Keep at it.  Moving towards a more positive interaction can lift a huge burden off of you and your loved ones.

Let go of your resentment and your feuds and focus on building positive and enjoyable relationships.  Life is way too short to be holding on to grudges.