Motivation Monday: Lizzie’s Story

Hello friends!  How was your weekend?  It was on the chilly side (for TX) here, and rainy too!  I ran in a marathon relay (more about that soon), had some meetings for a new adventure I will be on soon, did a little babysitting and hung out with a friend who just adopted a lil baby! Needless to say I am pretty tired!

Anyways, it is Monday and time for another Motivation Monday story!! Today Lizzie is sharing from her heart!  Anyways, today is Monday, so I have a great motivational story to share with you! Lizzie and I met this past winter through the Elf 4 Health challenge!  She is a great encourager and has fantastic incites.

Here is her story:

Do It For You. Keep it simple. Baby steps are good.

There – the above are the three rules, or guidelines, or things to ponder. Any changes you’re wanting to make should be for you, and you should keep it very simple in terms of keeping it manageable, while making small changes over time. For you.

I’m thrilled to be writing a Motivational Monday post, but the reason the lovely Chocolate Runner Girl has had to wait so very long for my submission is that I’ve personally been trying to wrap my head around what to write and how to get it done. If I look at the numbers, yes, I’ve had a highest recorded weight of 245 lbs on my 5’8” frame (and if I’m honest, probably more than that, but that’s the biggest number the scale registered when I stepped onto it). I’ve had a lowest of around 145 when I graduated high school. That’s a fair bit of a difference.

Let’s have a chat about numbers. Usually, I’m wandering around somewhere in the 160’s. A couple of years ago, I got down to 152 lbs. I’m currently somewhere in the 170’s, having gained weight in the year after celiac disease diagnosis where it’s pretty common to be a bit bigger as your body can absorb nutrition in food again. Yes, I’m working at getting rid of a muffin top I’ve lovingly grown as my body healed from 37 years of an undiagnosed auto-immune disorder. But here’s the big thing to take away from this blog post: your life rocks no matter what size you are.

Your size is just one part of you. Mass, as a physical force, is just one part of the equation. Yes, you may weigh a certain number when or if you step on a scale, but mass is just one response to the physical laws of the universe. Mass doesn’t tell anyone how kind you are to children, what a wonderful and supportive partner you are. It has nothing to offer regarding your contributions to your workplace, to your community, nor your efforts to leave this world a little more awesome than it was when you got here.

To be sure, the less you weigh, the more health benefits you can reap. Your body, particularly your joints, will have an easier time supporting you. There are numerous studies that show that our health overall increases when there’s a little less of us. So that leads me to how I really got around to losing weight – it was about health, not the number on the scale defining who I am. At 245 lbs, I could go for long walks or hikes and get around quite happily, could keep up with a classroom full of teenagers, and go home and look after my teenage stepson, preschool son, and husband while still feeling good.

However, as awesome as my life and health were, I had a moment that changed my outlook. I attended a conference with around 600 other teachers. I was amazed at how many of my colleagues were overweight. In short, it was a wake up call. I could see where I was going to be if I didn’t do something about it, and fast. I had to do something!

I actually only made small changes to how I ate and how much I move. I switched up home-made baked treats to fruit or yogurt. I cut portions of carbohydrates at meals, and didn’t notice much of a difference. I made sure I tried new vegetables, and stuck with the ones I liked. I was an on-call (substitute) teacher, and if I didn’t get a call to work that day, I’d make sure I got to the gym or go for a long walk pushing a stroller around. The weight slowly but surely came off. I had to be consistent, I’ll admit that. But the point I want to make is that I’m not that person in a weight-loss story of a magazine talking about how I completely overhauled my life to beat the scale. The cumulative effects of making more good choices over time than poor choices will get you where you want to be.

I now teach health to high schoolers, and the biggest tool I can give them is to realize that there is not one food, system, or supplement that will give them the body of their dreams with no work attached. There is huge pressure from the diet industry for women to be skinny (except that it’s being repackaged as ‘strong’ or ‘fit’ or ‘healthy’ instead) and for men to muscular. Instead, I encourage them to eat foods that are minimally processed where possible, figure out which exercises they enjoy (for me, Zumba, spinning, and crossfit make me anxious, but I can go to as many yoga classes and pool running sessions as I can fit into my week!), and make the best choices they can. I encourage you to do the same.
Finally, having been bigger and then progressively smaller, I have a couple of important things I want you to be aware of. All the things that are awesome in your life now will continue to be awesome. I am not a better teacher now because there’s less of me. I’m more effective in the classroom because I have more experience and education guiding my career. I’m not a better wife; I’m just as impatient now about the garbage not being taken as I was seventeen years ago. The stressors in your life (like how the garbage won’t ever take itself out, or the bigger things such as health of a loved one or raising a child with special needs or financial crunches that never seem to go away no matter how hard you try in each pay period to get ahead) will all still be there. Weight loss is great for your health, but life continues to unfold the way it’s going to.

I wish you health and happiness.
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Thank you so much Lizzie for sharing your story and life experiences with us!  You shared much wisdom!!!

If you have a motivational story to share, please let me know.  You can email me at chocolaterunnergirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

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