“They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.” – Andy Warhol
Hey there! Happy Wednesday and Happy February! I love the start of a new month…it’s always a chance to reevaluate your goals, set new ones, and reflect on last month’s progress. Today, as I sat down with my daily planner and looked at the fresh page for February, I realized this month has far more meaning to me than being just another new month.
I got to thinking about where I was just a year ago today, and how now, a full year later, I’ve gone through so many ups and downs to get where I’m at. Let’s back it up…
January of last year… I was probably in the best shape of my life. I was working out consistently and had healthy eating down pat…I’d grown stronger, more muscular, had more endurance and I was proud of how far I’d come. I had just started my online health and fitness coaching and I felt on top of the world, almost unstoppable.
I was in the midst of completing my personal trainer course, and was pumped to see where my passion for health and fitness would take me. I daydreamed about personal training, teaching group fitness, reaching new goals of my own (maybe I’d get back into half-marathon training, build more leg muscle, master pull-ups). My motivation seemed endless! Little did I know…my perception of being healthy was about to change drastically.
Toward the end of January, things started to turn. I had gone through a couple weeks with a bad sinus infection, and a round of antibiotics. I wasn’t reacting well to the antibiotics (sparing details…they made sick to my stomach and I wasn’t keeping anything in). I kept drinking water to stay hydrated, since I was losing so much fluid. As February continued, I wasn’t getting better…another trip to a care clinic, and I was put on yet another antibiotic. I knew in my gut something wasn’t right…I felt dizzy, I was forgetting things (like email passwords), things seemed out of focus, and I was weak. I kept putting off taking any further action because everyone around me assured me I would feel back-to-normal in no time.
I knew better…but, in an effort to seem less crazy to others, I pushed aside my intuition. During this time, my perception of being healthy changed…I had reached a roadblock in my journey. Lifting weights, running, pushing play on workout videos…no longer my priority. Resting, sleeping, praying, nourishing my body with good foods became my only concerns. Getting back to normal was my one and only goal.
Soon, it became obvious I couldn’t continue like this. My emotions were out of wack, I was scared to go anywhere alone because I felt off-balance and dizzy. I finally went to see our trusted family friend doctor, who I knew would listen to me, wouldn’t take me for a crazy lady, and would get to the bottom of what was wrong with me. Sure enough, after a series of blood tests, I got a call on my 29th birthday that my sodium levels were too low, and I needed to be admitted to the hospital. The moment I got that phone call, my health priorities changed once again. It was survival mode…get to the hospital, get on an IV, and get yourself well.
Once I was out of the hospital, things didn’t just go back to normal…far from it. In fact, in many ways, that’s when the real challenge began. I no longer felt safe in my body. I was always waiting for something else to happen. My anxiety was through the roof and I couldn’t calm my mind down. I spiraled into a state of fear, constant worry, and anxiety. I found myself on a new road in my health and fitness journey… strengthening my mind and letting go of worry. Day by day, week by week, month by month…I slowly started to feel like myself. I began meditating, going on walks outside (I remember texting my parents saying, “I did it! I went on a walk alone!”), but for me, in that moment of my journey…those were great victories.
I share this with you today because it’s true for all of us…our health and fitness journeys are ongoing. There really isn’t an “end” because our lives are always changing, we are always evolving. Our priorities change based on if we are well, or sick. Our focus depends on where we are in life…if we’ve just endured tragedy, given birth, discovered a food allergy or other health ailment, have an injury…life throws us constant curve balls, it’s how we react to those curve balls that matters.
I am happy to say, today, I feel strong, happy, healthy, and motivated. I grew more in this last year than I ever could have imagined, but I think my growth really happened because I allowed myself to experience every setback that came my way. I’ve found that no matter where I am on my health and fitness journey, it helps to surround yourself with positive people, who believe in you, support you, and want to cheer you on. Those kinds of people make the journey all the better. Now that I’ve come out stronger on the other side, I hope to spread the message to others…wherever you are, it’s okay.
Listen to your body, trust your instincts, recognize when you’re pushing yourself too hard, or not enough. And if you want to surround yourself with positive, uplifting people, who will lovingly push you forward, no matter where you’re at, I encourage you to join my online fitness community…knowing I had a strong community of women to turn to, even during the tougher parts of my journey, made things so much easier for me.
Don’t give up if you’ve had a setback. I repeat. DO NOT GIVE UP. Adjust your priorities as needed, but do not give up. It’s a long, beautiful, confusing, challenging journey to feel healthy and fit, but it’s so worth it. Setbacks come, and then before you know it, they’re nothing but a memory. When you find yourself face to face with a setback, don’t throw in the towel. Change your priorities, change how you view the setback, and sure enough, with time, you too will change.