You Are Alone

You can take this news however you want to; celebrate it or fear it. It doesn’t matter, it’s true. Last Week I celebrated my “1/16,” a day for me to acknowledge goals achieved, promises kept, and success maintained. As of January 16, 2015, I have maintained my goal weight for two years! What a crazy year, including two first place finishes in regional pole fitness competitions. And I became a certified and employed pole fitness and FlyGym instructor. Things I would never have believed I would do in my life. And in spite of these achievements, I have learned that no matter what, I am alone. In every choice and every decision I make.

Feeling sassy as I head to a birthday lunch with girlfriends!

Feeling sassy as I head to a birthday lunch with girlfriends! It’s not about how I look, it’s about how I feel.

For years, this both scared me and held me back. I drifted in the comfort that I was not in charge of me. It was moving to a new city or country, or having babies, or having bad knees, or any other reason that kept the responsibility for my choices away from me. It’s another way to look at what we commonly refer to as making excuses or rationalizing. But it is more powerful than simply falsely excusing our choices. I think it gave me permission to continue doing the same things, and to continue feeling miserable. It was easy and familiar and seductive and comfortable. On August 16, 2012, or what I know call my “8/16,” I reached my limit of feeling miserable, out of shape, and out of control. I decided to make my own changes and live a happy life. When I did that, I took responsibility for the good and the bad, the things I wanted to be proud of and goals I wanted to achieve. And I began to behave as if I was the only one responsible for me.

The happier I am with me, the happier I am with the amazing women around me.

The happier I am with me, the happier I am with the amazing women around me.

It is true, of course, that many people can support me and my goals. I can hire people like coaches, trainers, nutritionists, chefs, and instructors. There are also friends and family who cheer me on and encourage me to keep going. Those people can be powerful educators and motivators on my journey. But they will not be with me 24/7. I can quickly and easily undo any good that has been done through exercise or healthy eating, and no one will stop me. No alarms will sound, no one will come along to remove the food from my hand or lift me from my chair to force me to exercise. Maybe that sounds depressing, but that mindset contributes to a lack of personal responsibility. I had to choose to embrace my singular power to make my decisions and live my life in a way I could be proud. I had to find the freedom inside of me, instead of the helplessness.

I love to sprinkle some ridiculous, like purple hair and stilettos, into my life. What's amazing is that my friends do, too.

I love to sprinkle some ridiculous, like purple hair and stilettos, into my life. What’s amazing is that my friends do, too.

There have been wobbles this year and pounds gained and lost, but I have non-negotiable limits. I believe that across these limits there are emotional and physical consequences I cannot bear, therefore I do not cross them. I stay in my range, even if I’m near its limit. What has been so interesting to me, has been learning that the more I accept my aloneness, the more people are around me contributing to my success. I am the one shaping my life and my body, but there are so many people who are inspiring me, supporting me, and challenging me to keep going. While I cannot maintain my success without them, neither can they maintain my success for me. It is me alone with those chocolate kisses or bowl of pasta, only me moving my body to get up and work hard. No one says to me, “do you really want to eat that?” or “shouldn’t you get to the gym?” The people around me assume I’m in charge of myself, monitoring my own behavior.

Celebrating my second year of maintaining my goal weight with my instructors, coworkers, and classmates: friends!

Celebrating my second year of maintaining my goal weight with my instructors, coworkers, and classmates: friends!

When I decided to own my decisions, and all of the consequences, I realized that everyone around me was trying to do the same thing. I am blessed, I know, that I have found a form of fitness that I love in every cell of my being, and I have a place to do it where I truly enjoy my classmates and coworkers; they are my friends. I understand that it is essential to me on a daily basis to continue teaching, competing, and participating in pole fitness, so I need to be the strongest, fittest me possible. I try to stay very connected to this feedback loop: increases in food and decreases in movement are quickly and directly related to how I feel and how healthy my body is. There is no rationalizing that away. To be plain and honest, I’m happy where I’m at. I did this, and I’m going to keep doing it. This still surprises me sometimes, but I will not trade it for anything. Being in charge of me gives me a happiness beyond what I imagined. 

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