“You’re such an inspiration to me! You’ve lost so much weight, and you’re actually keeping it off! How do you do it?! I need your secret! I need your advice!” I still hear this from people regularly and honestly, it’s lovely. It doesn’t get old. A person never gets tired of pats on the back, or being praised for making lifestyle changes that were nothing short of a miracle to achieve. Losing weight and getting fit is a major accomplishment, and I will not ever make the mistake of thinking of it as something that was easy to do. My memory is a little too good. I will not take my health for granted now that I have it. It’s work and it always will be. But, the easy part is over. Losing weight was easy when compared to the pressure of keeping it off. We often look to others for inspiration and pep talks, when really, all we need to do is look within ourselves.
Truth be told, one of the reasons I am able to continue “fighting” for my health is because I decided a while back that I would never strive to be an inspiration to anyone except myself. The only person I need to inspire every damn day is me, myself, and I. Convincing myself to take action is hard work. We all live and breath inside our own bodies, and we are the ones responsible for them. Enough “bad stuff” can happen along the way to the healthiest people, but what I am learning as I go is that I really want to decrease my odds of having health-related problems. The only way to do that is to get the weight off, keep it off, and stay fit.
Every day, we wake up and live in our own skin. Motivation is a difficult thing to maintain once a goal has been reached. The goal(s) must then change in order to feed and feel renewed motivation. Running, for example, is a lonely endeavor. Per my choice, I usually run by myself. I prefer to run alone and when I do, I am often struck by the fact that, if I wanted to, I could stop at any point. I mean, who would care if I stopped and walked? Not one person in the world would care. It would be so easy to just stop because running is not something that has ever felt natural to me. Some days, it would be very easy to throw my hands up and say, “I just don’t care that much about this!” and that would be the truth – at least in the moment. Getting to the place where you actually care (most of the time) takes a while. Self care requires consistent action. In my heart, I know I would care. I know it would bother me if I stopped along my route and just gave up. But that feeling of caring is one I worked hard to build – it wasn’t always there. Everyone has the ability, has it within them, to climb to that magical place where caring overrules quitting. But, make no mistake, it is indeed a climb.
When I take a yoga class, I allow something specific to fall away from me, and I make a promise to myself that I will not pick it up again. I visualize something negative I’m harboring and I let it drop away. I let it disintegrate. Sometimes I picture tying it to a balloon and letting it float out of sight. It could be a specific insecurity or perhaps a bit of jealousy. Sometimes I’m angry about something I can not control. Other times it’s resentment. There are moments when I just want some of the material things that other people have. It could be that I feel cross over something silly or mundane. When I allow a specific negativity to fall away, or float out of sight, a particular calmness ensues, which allows happier and more productive thoughts to flow inward. I remember to be grateful for what I have and who I am in my life during those meditative moments. I renew gratefulness for what I’ve finally learned to hone and take care of – my health. All I truly need to maintain inspiration and a happy heart is the gift of self-care.
During moments of self awareness we need to remind ourselves that we are enough. Actually, we are more than enough. And we have been put here on this earth to take care of ourselves, and to respect the gift of our own lives. When we become an inspiration to our self, we are not only able to follow our dreams, but we inevitably dare to dream bigger.
When I’m feeling competitive, I force myself to remember that I’m here to impress myself only, and that is what takes the pressure off of maintaining my weight loss and fitness. It’s plenty good enough for me to just reflect upon that simple truth. It helps me set personal goals, and continue to move forward mindfully, with new purpose, for myself and for no one else. I know this much is true: I only ever need to respect myself enough to do the work required for better health so that I can strive to be an inspiration to myself, and become, in due time, a strong woman that I admire.
How will you inspire yourself today?