I’ve been hanging around fitness professionals long enough for me to realize that I’m a different kind of coach. Don’t take this the wrong way, most fitness coaches I know are awesome… it’s just that many of them seem to have a similar story: involved in athletics since childhood, they’ve always been fit, and they want to share their passion with others. I want to share my passion with you too, but I am coming from a very different place. I came around to fitness and a healthy lifestyle later in life. I’m an adult-onset athlete. I’ve struggled with my workouts, especially when my Old Lady body doesn’t want to move an efficient way. I’ve struggled with my weight, especially when hormones and food intolerances have conspired to keep me inflamed and puffy. These obstacles are not an excuse to give up. We can learn to acknowledge these obstacles and keep moving anyway, despite the obstacles.
One thing I’ve learned is that anyone who might claim to know all the answers for how to achieve lasting weight loss isn’t telling the truth … but they are probably trying to sell you something! This is what I know best: I know what it’s like to realistically face up to where you are right now, and how to work to improve yourself starting from where you are. We can’t allow ourselves get frustrated when our results aren’t the same as another person’s results. Their journey belongs to them- our journey is ours. We can only start where we are, and we keep moving. I’m not a guru, sitting on a mountaintop, dispensing answers… I’m a work in progress.
Here’s a little mile marker from my journey. About a month ago I stumbled on a Groupon fundraiser Project Repat, a company that provides fair-wage jobs for workers to “upcycle” your old t-shirts into blankets, bags, and scarves. I’ve wanted to transform my running shirts into a t-shirt blanket for years, but every time I looked into it, it seemed too expensive. When I saw the Groupon I realized it was a steal, and I jumped at the opportunity to fulfill my wish for a t-shirt blanket.
I collected all of my old running shirts into one place, then began to narrow down the choices for the 30 shirts that would make it onto my blanket. At first I thought… 30 shirts? That’s plenty! This will be easy. But it wasn’t easy. Some shirts were guaranteed mandatory inclusion. On the first pass I included: My first technical fabric wicking shirt, the shirt I received on the first day I signed up to train for a half marathon with Team in Training. The race t-shirts from my first 5K race, my first 10K race, my first half marathon, & my first triathlon. I included the shirt from my second 5K race, because after my first half marathon experience, I wasn’t sure I’d still be signing up for races… but I did. After the first pass, then I included shirts I got while coaching for Team in Training, coaching high school Cross Country, and helping to coach high school Track. I included shirts from when my cross country team went to the State Championship. I included shirts from the first community race where I worked as the course marshal, and race shirts from when I was a part of the team that organized a community race.
Some shirts had to be omitted. I couldn’t include any of the shirts from Thanksgiving 5Ks, even though it’s now a tradition for me to run a 5K on Thanksgiving morning. I couldn’t include shirts from a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream-themed summer racing series, a series where people who ran all of the races in the “Chunky Challege” earned a special medal. I couldn’t include the shirt from my most recent 5K, where I persuaded my 10-year-old niece and sister-in-law to run their first 5K with me. These were some tough choices, but I made them. I boxed them up. I was nervous about shipping all of these memories to strangers. I don’t usually buy shipping insurance, but I did buy it for this special cargo.
And here, at last, is the final product. 30 shirts, representing the first 6 years of me being up off the couch. 50 pounds gone. It’s mile marker 50 on my journey.
I feel that I still have a long way to go. I can get frustrated when my progress seems slow, and I still feel disappointed in myself when I’ve made a choice that moves me farther away from where I want to be. Life has thrown some obstacles in my path. And yes, I have been injured on this journey. Multiple times. But do you know what’s most important? I am still in the game. Instead of always looking at how far I have to go, it might be okay to look back and see how far I’ve come. I’m standing here today in a place that once seemed impossible.
I want you to believe… it is possible. Have patience. Be kind to yourself. Make a good choice today. Then you’re doing it. It will happen.
“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says ‘I’m possible’!” ~ Audrey Hepburn
Do you want to upcycle your t-shirts and support Americans with fair wage jobs? You can take 20% off all orders at Project Repat with the discount code “fairwagejobs” at checkout. I’m not earning any compensation from this endorsement. I am a just fan who is overwhelmed by how fantastic my blanket turned out.