I Need To Stop Fearing The Answer

I've been in an off mood this past week, I wasn't even sure why... tonight it came to me, although I love the Fall season, I am literally unhappy that Winter will be following. I cannot think of any real redeeming qualities of that season. The only one that even remotely comes to mind is that it makes me appreciate every other season that follows it much more... I don't like being house bound, nor wearing so many clothes I feel like a snowman, or fearing the ice that could have me fall and hurt myself.

Until a couple of weeks ago, I wasn't even allowing myself to think about it but with the cool air reminding me that it's not too far off and seeing the year flying by at the speed of light has brought last years memories back. I honestly thought of moving somewhere, anywhere, as long as there was not massive ice there. I know that all places have their downfalls, nowhere is perfect and for the most part I do enjoy living where there are four seasons... just not where one of the seasons drags on for more months than I care to think about. 
When this time of the year comes, with the time change, less daylight... less chance to enjoy the outdoors, it leaves me edgy. I already miss that I could take off at 9:00 at night and walk for an hour... I especially miss that I didn't need any sort of jacket. I need to be able to just get up and go, it always clears my mind and when I can't I feel muddled... which leaves me off balance, if that makes any sense. This week I was eating food that I normally wouldn't eat, I realized it was my way of not dealing with a question I have, one I don't want to hear the answer to... Last night I reminded myself that not dealing with it would only cause other issues, eating poorly isn't the answer.

Finding out the answer whether I want to hear it or not is the only way to deal with it... because although I am still exercising a lot, I know that I cannot exercise my way out of a bad diet. Thankfully, I don't allow myself to stay in that place of denial like I used to, although I fear the answer I don't want to fear it enough to give up what I have worked so hard to attain. Besides, although I don't want to hear the answer, it probably isn't as awful as I think, it rarely is, right...?
I'm struggling right now, most people don't want to hear that and I understand, I think it's because most of us are struggling and we want to hear good and uplifting things so that we can believe that there is a way through. Well, even though I am struggling I do believe that it will get better because it always has... however; I still have to go through low, challenging trials where I have to put in the work to get to where I want to be...

Though I know change is inevitable and ultimately good for me, it still isn't easy to see the good that will eventually come from it... Today as I spoke with some friends, I was reminded that all those difficulties and challenges that I dealt with in the past taught me strength and empathy... maybe the question I have been afraid to ask is the very thing that will make me stronger when I am finally willing to accept the answer I fear...
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The Choice To Help Or Hinder Our Progress

This weekend I accomplished another goal I had made about 5 months ago, I never spoke about it, I just decided that I was going to complete it by the Fall. I have been exercising a great deal for the past few months and walking has been my main method as I have come to enjoy it a great deal. Most of you know that I have a Fitbit that keeps track of my steps, I have even walked 10 miles through out the day once or twice. Last week I made a decision that I was going to get in at least 25,000 steps on this Saturday past. The first thing I did was buy groceries earlier in the week, I did the laundry on Friday... I made sure there would be no excuses for me to not complete this goal.

So, I not only achieved the 25,000 steps, I made it to 30,000 steps for the day... I set myself up for success by being prepared, by walking practically everyday and building up strength and by not using any excuses. It was quite a bit more than I have done previously, I had made it to 20,000 steps a few times in the past... I ended up having to walk a total of 14 miles for the day. I have to tell you, I feel great... I was sure I would not be able to walk the next day but I went right back out and walked 6 miles today beating my last time by 3 minutes from 2 weeks ago. 
I remember a few short years ago I was so unhealthy, I rarely walked more than a few blocks, I smoked, I only ate salad that was drowned in salad dressing and other veggies were an occasional occurrence. Today I regularly walk 3-6 miles per day, I don't smoke, salad dressing is a rare item and vegetables are a daily food that I love to eat. Of course I eat food that isn't always super healthy but it is within moderation and definitely not daily anymore.

I am really thankful that I had that a ha moment in May of 2013, the one that 'he' unknowingly ignited in me ... the one that got me started on a path I will be forever grateful for being on today. 'He' might have got me started on the path but it took my own strength and determination to stay there and do the hard work. To really stop looking for excuses not to do the work.... I say that because I look back to when I used to put in some effort to lose the weight over the years, invariably it wasn't about a life change, it was until I hit a certain mark. 
Whatever clicked in me that day has never left me completely. I continue to want to keep working and being my best as I never want to go back to that unhealthy girl that was sad in ways that I ate so that I didn't have to feel. Today I walk and write when the sadness shows up... both are much more conducive to reaching and maintaining my goals. Is it easy? I will never say that, the easy way would be giving up and giving into the sadness and food but I won't do that anymore. 
Whenever I think I don't have time or that I won't be able to accomplish it because of my age or the many other reasons I might come up with, I remind myself of the quote above that is very true, we all have the same 24 hours in the day, it is what we choose to do with them that matters. I need to work on other aspects of my life such as decluttering my home which I won't make excuses for as I prioritized other things as more important for now. Besides none of us are perfect, we are always a work in progress... forever making choices that will change us in ways that will will either help or hinder our progress. Today I choose to help my progress by making the choice to be better...
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Gratitude For What I Have And What I Lost

Sometimes it seems like I never have enough time in the day, between working, walking and having a little down time... I have a desire to write but it always gets put on the back burner for other things. When I first started really writing in early 2012, I wrote nearly everyday and I did this for almost 2 years of my life. Sometimes I wonder how I did that but it was something I needed to do to heal my heart, that is what writing does for me.

I rarely go back and read those posts I wrote a few years ago because they were raw and bring back memories of a time I believed in dreams that never came to pass... I read a couple of them this week and although they were very sad at times I also saw that I have grown more than I ever thought I was capable of... There were days back then where I wondered how I would or could make it through. Days I was sure that my life would never get to a point where I could ever believe in anything again. 
I had a couple of defining moments, one was when I finally decided I was tired of the excuses as to why I could not lose weight ... for the first time in my life I shelved every single one of them and put my whole heart and soul into me... I believed in myself, I saw my successes and each day I begin to know more and more that I could and would succeed. The second was losing 'him', I cannot even convey the pain I dealt with... words could not describe it... although I still miss 'him' I gained closure that I was unsure I would ever find.

I even think one day I will know why I had to go through that loss, there has to be a bigger reason, I will get the a ha moment out of the blue and smile to myself and think... that was why. Until then I rarely let myself think about 'him' or the past ... he pops in and out of my mind but I don't let 'him' reside there for too long. Usually I get up and go out for a long walk... it clears my mind and I gain focus again. One thing I learned is that although you can have a best friend as we were, you can only rely on yourself, people change. 
This is a difficult weekend for me as it is the anniversary of the fire where I was burned so badly at 15 months old and where my sister died... that catastrophic event changed my families life and challenged us all. Even though we lost so much that day, I still work on finding gratitude for what I have and what I lost... I survived and I thrived... 

Yesterday I went for a long walk, part of me was trying to convince myself that first I could skip a day and then second I only needed to do a couple of miles but I didn't listen to that part, I walked for almost 6 miles and I felt gratitude that I didn't give up, I pushed myself even though part of me didn't believe I could... It was an accomplishment that showed me, each day I wake up and make a choice to be better than I was the day before, I fought against all the odds and became a strong person who refuses to give up.
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Believing In The Light I Couldn't See

I have been really busy for the past couple of weeks, I realized I had the opportunity to get to a milestone that I never thought was possible when I was looking over my stats on Fitbit and noticed that if I was willing to go all out and walk as often as possible that I might be able to reach 600 miles in three months... and I did it with a day to spare. From July 1st until September 30th I walked over 607 miles, 126 hours of that time was active exercise and I ended up with more than 1,200,000 steps.

I was thrilled when I reached the milestone for many reasons, one because I proved to myself that I could do it, two I proved that age is not a factor if you put all your effort into it and three I removed many excuses out of my life to achieve the goal. There were mornings I thought about just hopping on a bus, misty days I thought about staying home and days where I thought what's a couple of days off going to hurt?... Each time an excuse came up I brushed them off and just walked... do you know what? I don't regret one moment of the steps I took, not one... each one made me feel healthier and stronger. 
What is my next goal? With the cooler months approaching I am going to have to use every available good weather moment to exercise and I have started strength training... I am new to it, so it will take a little time to get comfortable, nothing new feels easy right away, eventually I will be a pro at that too... I have stopped looking for excuses to give up and I just started doing. I think one of the best slogans is the Nike one that said 'Just Do It'... there is nothing more simple and more true.

Am I trying to say it is easy? Not at all... I think we have to work hard to keep getting better, at least for me there is one excuse after another that I could come up with to validate why I can't stay on this path but none of them are true or good excuses. It is funny how I spent so much time talking myself out of doing when it was far less effort to just do it... What I gained more than anything from this was finding out how cathartic exercise really is, whenever something tough or emotional would come up, I would walk and it gave me time to think things through and clear my head. 
This was especially true with the last part of September being an anniversary that could have pulled me down if I let it, instead I walked the pain of that anniversary away... I was a little melancholy but I dealt with it in a really good way... I did not give into the sadness. There are more of these days on the way but that was one of the worst ones and if can get through that one, I can get through the other ones... at least the other ones are not nasty painful ones, just good memories that became sad... We all have those, finding out that life doesn't always turn out the way it should or the way we expected....

You know what I learned from the horrible challenge I had to deal with the last two years? I became incredibly grateful for all the trials that I made it through before that one... because each one of those trials was building me stronger to make it through the most difficult one. I knew there was a light even though I couldn't see it, I held onto that... that little bit of Faith and Hope... Trials are a little like exercise, it doesn't necessarily feel good while you are going through it but ultimately it makes you stronger...
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