As many of you know, I use MyFitnessPal, and if you DIDN’T know, there are message forums on there where people can post topics for everyone to comment on. There was one post today that hit home for me. The poster said that they felt discouraged and that they “have a very supportive friend, but we live far apart and it is not as easy to stay on track as it would be if she lived near me.”

I was personally a little “bothered”, I guess, by this statement, in that I feel like it’s just another excuse as to why some people don’t get up and workout or do the things they need to do for themselves. I have noticed a trend in the younger generation a lot: they are not likely to go out and do something for themselves if the “cool person” isn’t doing it. Where does this mentality of “requiring others” in life come from? Why do we feel this NEED to have other people around us, to validate us or push us along the way?

I know when I was younger, I was HUGE on trying to have a lot of friends. I was the youngest child and felt far removed from my sisters who were a year apart academically and did EVERYTHING together: sports, school, friends. And I often felt like an outcast. I ended up caring more about having my own set of friends and to feel “wanted”, but as I grew up and became academically advanced and more athletic than my peers, my social circle decreased immensely and I found myself graduating HS with about 5 REAL friends… and then as I continued through college, my relationships with my HS friends disappeared, either because of us going to different schools or my graduating before them. On graduation day I had ONE friend come in my honor… ONE. It was kind of disheartening, but I have since learned that in all honesty, you really DO go though life alone. There may be people who support you and cheer you on along the way, or some people who discourage you and try to take you off course, but the reality is: your life is just that, YOUR life. (In a human sense, not religious, that is for another blog! :D) It’s really up to YOU to make the decisions at the end of the day as far as which road you are going to travel. How will YOU travel down your Yellow Brick Road?

I responded to the poster, not getting into the whole “you’re just REALLY making an excuse” mess, but I responded to try to be encouraging and let them know that they CAN overcome this long and arduous journey. It REALLY is not easy to get started…and it’s honestly not even easy to STICK with it. TRUST me! I KNOW! There are times I wish I was the kind of girl who never had to workout and could eat whatever I wanted and not gain a pound, but that’s just NOT me. So, when I’m feeling down, I try to remember: A) WHY I wanted to travel this road (reasons you will see listed in my response) and B) “That it took me more than 1 day to put it on, it will take more than 1 day to take it off” and C) Remember all the things that I’ve pushed myself to do and accomplished in all this time (outside of weight-loss)! In case you didn’t know, NOTHING about this journey has been easy for me: starting was hard, staying motivated to workout-hard, saying no to hanging out with friends so I could workout-hard, changing my diet-HARD, STARTING to run-HARD, yoga-HARD, training for my races-VERY HARD, and keep on keeping on when I get frustrated and feel miserable about myself-EXTREMELY HARD. But as time goes on: running-easier, training-easier, yoga-easier, watching my diet-easier, and keep on keeping on when the going gets tough-a little bit easier.

So, to any of you out there, who may be struggling and are discouraged, maybe this will help encourage you or help you to find a little faith:

You are MORE than able to go at it alone. You don’t necessarily need someone to be there beside you, cheering you on or working out with you to push you–push yourself and they will cheer you on from afar when they comment on your posted workouts! You might just need to set some personal goals.

I have a personal experience with this: I have been on a weight loss journey for 4 years and I started ALL by myself. I realized it was up to ME to go to the gym and get the workouts in–my friends weren’t going to workout FOR me and I’d lose the weight from them… I had to do it myself. I set a personal goal that I not only wanted to lose weight, but I wanted to be HEALTHIER–when I started my journey, I was having digestive problems (indigestion and heartburn) and REALLY bad anxiety attacks and depression. When I talked to my dr, I was handed a prescription. I didn’t want to be someone on prescription medications for the rest of my life, so I turned to exercise and now, ALL of my listed health problems have gone away. Also, I am pursing a career in the medical field-I didn’t want to be that nurse telling patients they need to lose weight, and I, myself, am overweight–where’s the credibility in that? Doing this by myself has taught me A LOT about myself–I am not only more confident because I’ve lost 50lbs and kept it off, but I’m confident in knowing WHO I am and what I’m capable of doing–I HATED, HATED, HATED running as a kid (I was a chunky kid as well) and if you would have told me when I was 253lbs that in 4 years I was going to run a half-marathon–I would have looked at you crazy, but I completed my first one in March of this year and am registered for a 2nd and 3rd and am proud to say that I can keep up with my SUPER athletic sister now! And have inspired people around me (people who would complain when I’d skip hanging out with them to hit the gym) to begin their own healthy journey.

So maybe you just need to look inside yourself and figure out WHY you want to begin this journey and make a/some goal(s) and just take it 1-ONE-1 day at a time…don’t think about tomorrow or the next day, just think about TODAY and doing what’s right for you and your health TODAY! And just start small– “Doing SOMETHING is better than doing NOTHING”, start with goals like: “today I’m going to eat a healthier dinner” or “this week, I’m only going to eat out once”, or “this week, I’m going to walk a mile a day”…whatever you think you can do, but just DO IT!

You CAN do it alone- without your friend being next to you! Hope this helps!

I wish you all the very best on travelling your own journey. LIFE, in general, is hard-it doesn’t matter what it is that we are trying to do, we will continue to face trials and tribulations, but it’s WHAT we do during that time, that changes us. And as I close this entry I see that not only am I writing this message for others, but I think I’m also writing this for myself–to tell myself to have a little faith in other areas of my life that I’m struggling with.  :0)