About fifteen months ago, I was having some pretty significant internal lady issues.
Basically, my insides were falling out of me.
Too much information.
But it’s a thing that happens to women that we don’t often talk about because, well, when things that are supposed to be on the inside start making a break for it, it’s a little bit unsettling.
But if you are thinking you are the only woman who is having some problems with this, I just wanna let you know that you’re NOT.
Anyway, the status of my internal organs had kind of put a halt on exercise for me.
And once I stopped exercising, I pretty much stopped taking care of myself altogether.
Now I am not obsessed with what my body looks like.
But changes in what your body looks like can be one indication of how well you are (or aren’t) taking care of yourself.
If you go up three pant sizes in one year, then something is going on.
If you gain 25 pounds in one year, then something is going on.
An that pretty much happened to me.
I totally stopped taking care of myself.
Until I finally got surgery to fix my insides.
In February 2018 I had a hysterectomy and prolapse surgery.
I waited the six weeks I needed to wait after surgery until I could start exercising.
And then in April of 2018, I made a commitment to start taking care of my body again. And my brain.
Because exercise for me is as important for my brain as it is for my body.
In fact, exercise is really the foundation of everything for me.
It affects how disciplined I am in other areas of my life. It affects how productive and efficient I am. It affects my quality of sleep. It affects my levels of stress and my levels of patience. It affects how I react to most situations and it affects how I parent my kids.
It affects pretty much all areas of my life.
So fifty-nine weeks ago when I was cleared to start working out again, I was ready.
I was ready to start taking care of myself because all areas of my life were suffering.
This was my starting point:
Let me again reiterate that this isn’t about body shaming.
I don’t equate the size of my body to the size of my self-confidence.
I wear a bikini in the summer no matter what size I am because, well…. I like wearing a bikini! And I don’t give a crap what anyone thinks about my body.
I have come a long way in this department.
I spent all of my twenties and the first half of my thirties being completely obsessed with my appearance.
Just about all my self-worth depended on the size of my jeans and the number on the scale.
I was about fifty pounds lighter on my wedding day than I am right now.
I was also super unhealthy.
I smoked at least a pack a day. I drank pretty regularly. I didn’t eat much.
Here I am on my honeymoon:
I was pretty thin, but I had almost no muscle tone. I was not in shape. I never worked out.
Unless you call taking the dog for a walk a workout. But I smoked while I took him for a walk.
So that probably doesn’t count.
I looked alright on the outside, but I was not taking care of myself.
And don’t even get me started on the status of my mental health at this time in my life.
After I was done having kids I spent a good three or four years chasing that honeymoon body, which, as I know now, is 1) impossible and 2) pointless.
Aaaah, the beauty of your forties. (Almost fifties!)
There really is something to be said for aging. It’s such a better place to be mentally and emotionally.
But just because I am comfortable in my skin and confident no matter what my size, it doesn’t mean that I don’t want to make changes in my body.
Because I do.
This is partially because when I put on weight, it goes right to my middle. And that’s like the worst place for a woman to carry weight when it comes to your overall health.
That belly fat really ups your chances of dying from heart disease.
And I don’t know about you, but I don’t really plan on making my exit from this world that way.
So changing my body is mostly about improving my health and reducing my risk of heart disease.
Then there is that aging thing, too…
There’s a lot of stuff I wanna do when the kids are all (hopefully someday) off on their own. And if I don’t take care of my body, I’m not gonna be able to do it.
I have big plans for my sixties and seventies.
So I really want to be in fighting shape when I get there.
That’s another big reason why I exercise and why I want to change the composition of my body.
So after neglecting myself for much too long, I re-committed to taking care of myself 59 weeks ago.
That’s a long time, right?
You’d think I’d be really fucking shredded by now.
But I’m not.
Because while I do exercise almost every day, and while I have run a marathon and completed two triathlons in the last 11 months, I still have stuff I’m working on.
I still have bad habits. I still turn to food as a stress reliever sometimes. Not as much as I used to, but I still do it.
I’m human, and I’m imperfect, and I’ve had plenty of failures along the way. Plenty of bumps in the road.
Plenty of bowls of ice cream to temporarily distract myself from emotional discomfort.
I know what I should do and I do it most of the time. But not all of the time.
But I haven’t given up.
Because I have given myself permission to fail.
Giving yourself permission to fail means that when you have those moments, those two or three or seven day stretches where you don’t work out for whatever reason, you don’t completely throw in the towel.
It means that when you have a weekend of debauchery in the eating department, you don’t say, Fuck it. That weekend was off the rails, so there’s no point in even trying, and then just go off the deep end with respect to how you fuel your body.
I am much healthier than I was a year ago.
My body is gradually changing and becoming stronger.
I have not placed ridiculous expectations on myself, and I don’t set unreasonable goals.
Rather than completely overhauling my diet and routine and life, I have been making small, sustainable, manageable changes.
And here’s where I am 59 weeks later (also, my phone is dying and so is the camera so these pictures are terrible):
So often we think we have to have these incredible transformations in ridiculously short periods of time.
It’s possible to do that.
But when we are focusing on the destination and not the journey, that’s where we often set ourselves up for failure.
Lasting changes take fundamental shifts in our habits and our thinking patterns. And it can take a long time to really develop new ways of thinking and establish new habits.
And that is what makes lasting changes.
Not motivation. Not quick fixes.
Lasting change comes not from motivation but from establishing new habits that become part of our daily routines. When things become habit, we don’t need motivation.
That’s the shift in thinking we need to make when trying to make changes in our lives.
This is what I work on with all my Tribe members.
We spend a lot of time focusing on habits. On one minute habits.
We start small and when we are ready, we stack a new one minute habit on top of a solidly-formed habit.
Each woman in Not Your Average Tribe has her own needs, her own plan, and her own focus.
It’s a big reason why the Tribe is so successful and so powerful. Because it’s not a one-size-fits-all program.
I guide and help each woman in The Tribe to figure out what she needs and what works for her.
And I do this right alongside everyone.
If you are having trouble consistently taking care of yourself, enrollment in Not Your Average Tribe is open through Sunday, June 2, 2019.
Features of a membership in The Tribe:
- closed Facebook group
- daily prompts and guidance
- live group coaching 4X/week
- personalized, individual feedback
Benefits of a membership in The Tribe? Here is what Kim, a current (and 7-month) member has to say:
Last October I signed up for The Tribe because I was tired of putting myself at the bottom of my to-do list. I was finally ready to make myself a priority and focus on my well-being. What I thought was going to be a program focused on fitness, turned out to be so much more. It has been a CHANGE YOUR LIFE COURSE.
In the first daily email I ever received from Susie, she asked the question – “WHAT DO YOU WANT TO SAY ABOUT YOURSELF A YEAR FROM NOW?” She encouraged us to give this some serious thought and write it down in our journal and post it somewhere we would see it every day. Every morning since that first email, I have looked forward to reading Susie’s email that is always filled with the guidance and tools that I need to move me closer to my goals.
Because of these emails, the amazing and supportive group of bad ass ladies in the Facebook group, along with Susie’s Facebook lives, I have made significant changes in my life and can say that I am so much closer to the person that I said I wanted to be one year from now. I now plan out my week and my meals ahead of time, I’ve put into place routines that allow me to have productive and calmer days, I look forward to my morning workouts, and I am learning to eat to fuel my body rather than eat mindlessly. I owe all these changes to Susie and what she is teaching us in this group.
If you are ready to make changes in your life and don’t know how or where to begin, you NEED to join the TRIBE. You won’t be disappointed.
It’s true though. My goal is to help all moms and women take better care of themselves, using exercise as a basic block of that foundation. But it’s so much more than that.
If you need help getting started, if you want to take care of yourself but just don’t know what to do first, I can help you.
Membership will close on Sunday June, 2 at midnight, and it won’t reopen until September.
I really hope to see you there where we will work on making our lives better together.