Today our guest post comes from Sarah at Free Woman Fitness.
As a new year approaches, I'm thinking of how many failed new years resolutions I've had. Usually, they were to eat better and work out more. To feel better about myself. To stop obsessing about the way my body looks. To just be healthy. I've had success with all of those so-called "resolutions" before. But interestingly enough, that success never came from the start of a new year. Usually, it came from some kind of event or realization in my life.
The first time I ever successfully lost weight was in college, using weight watchers. It came at the end of a year long relationship, my longest and most meaningful at that point in my life. (Although looking back don't we always want to say what the hell!????) My realization was that there was only one thing holding me back and making me feel not good enough. It wasn't the recent break-up, in fact the break-up was probably a product of it. It was that I didn't feel good about the way I looked. Granted, I didn't have that much weight to lose. About 15 or 20 pounds. But I'm only 5'2" and a little weight can look like a lot on my small frame. Almost instantly I decided that I wasn't going to let this negative feeling hold me down any longer. I started using weight watchers online. It was the end of the semester and I was super busy. I think that helped. I told myself, "just do this. In a few months, you will be over this break-up. Healthier. Happier."
I totally emersed myself in school, going to the gym and eating pretty close to perfectly. I had never done anything like that before. My gym habits were usually spontaneous. I'd get in a groove where I'd go a lot for a month and then fall off. But all of the sudden I was like a machine. I went 6 days a week. Every week. And I ate salads, sandwiches with veggies, mustard instead of mayo. Fruit. Oatmeal. Cereal. That was pretty much my entire diet. Looking back I don't know how I did it without getting bored and falling off. I need so much variety in my meals now to maintain that kind of dedication. But I was dealing with dining hall food and a broken heart. I was determined.
By the end of the semester, I was ready to go home for the summer. I remember my parents coming to pick me up and help pack up my room. They probably expected to walk into a trashed room filled with pizza boxes and beer bottles and a half drunk, over-weight daughter who barely passed her classes. I don't blame them. That is pretty much what happened every other semester. To both of our suprises, I was 15 pounds lighter than the last time they saw me, a couple of months before over spring break, and had gotten my best grades so far in college. But I wasn't just physically lighter, I was emotionally uplifted. And it must've been shocking knowing that just a few months before I had broken up with the love of my young life. And I had not been good at dealing with break-ups in the past. But this time I refused to go into that dark place. I used it to my advantage. It was the best realization and best break-up ever.
Now, the mother of an 11 month old, finding time to work out and plan healthy meals is much harder than it once was and the struggles of parenthood are constant. But having a child also gives me a new reason to be healthy. It is not just superficial. It is to be a better mother and a stronger person. But I think this year instead of making a resolution to eat healthy every day or to work-out 5 days a week, I will make one to embrace new struggles and find a way to empower myself because of them. Because in the past, that is what has truly worked for me. Realizations as resolutions.