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Friday, April 26, 2013

It's NOT A Diet (And YES You Can Too)

I never thought of myself as a runner. I never understood why people would say they actually enjoyed it! Some of you reading this are nodding your heads and thinking, "She's right, they're crazy!" Call me crazy because I am loving the amazing 'high' I get from, yes, running. It's more than that though, it is almost like a badge, to be able to call myself a runner. A badge along my journey...

Some of you reading this know that I have been on a journey for a little over a year. Not a weight loss journey, although I have gone from a size 18/20 to a 7/8 (believe it or not I still have thirty pounds to go!), but I have called it my Healthier Me Journey. I have had people ask me what diet I used to lose weight. None. I don't do diets, and you shouldn't either. Diets are fads, they don't last. We often talk about wanting to lose weight (I just said 30 lbs to go!) however what we really need to focus on is our health.

I'm no doctor, nutritionist or fitness expert, I'm not going to lecture on what you should or shouldn't do. If you have questions about the specific changes I have made in my life please let me know, but today I want to talk about challenges and successes. The challenge we all face when wanting to make a change is habit. We have to break our habit and keep consistency and momentum built long enough to create new habits. I've heard conflicting talk about how long that is exactly however I would say a month is a good benchmark.

Everyone reading this has different challenges, I will tell you about a few of mine...

At 26 years old, eight years ago, I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my thoracic spine, in laymen's terms I guess you could say the center of my spine is deteriorating. There are days (fewer now that I have stayed active and yes, lost weight) when I cannot move because the pain consumes my back and any movement of any part of my body. I spend those days lying flat, with a heating pad and plenty of ibuprofen. If I can alleviate the pain enough to move than I push myself to do so, carefully. This can cause a huge break in momentum however I know the healthier I can get my body, the longer I will go between episodes, at least in the near future.

Earlier this year I was diagnosed with asthma. It's quite difficult to run when you can't get oxygen into your lungs! I have trouble breathing in temperatures below forty degrees in general, if it's below fifty I can't get in a run outdoors. Last year I was training for a 5K run that I completed in the beginning of December, this air temperature challenge was frustrating but I ran up and down my hallway and in circles around my room a few times, simply to help build my lung capacity. Yes, I have heard of a treadmill, no I do not have access to one. Shocking, I know.

One of my biggest challenges wasn't health related at all, and truth be told, I still struggle with this one: I have a massive love affair with...junk food. I have learned that it doesn't impede my progress too much if I remember that when I indulge I have to keep it in moderation. I also need to remove the word "can't" from my vocabulary. If I tell myself I can't have something it is only going to make me want it more. Yes I know that's a teenagers mentality but it still works on most adults, tell us we can't and we shall show you that we can.

So yes, running is a badge, it's my personal trophy that reminds me how far I have come. I haven't just lost forty-five pounds and a bunch of inches, I've gotten in better physical shape...I've become a healthier me. I'm still a work in progress though! Now, I'm not saying I want to be a size 0, or that anyone should strive for that. I am not saying that anyone can become a runner, there are some challenges that need a work around and others that need a different healthy plan. What I am trying to say is that with determination and perseverance, anyone can create new habits.

This can be applied to things other than a healthier you! I'm talking about all changes in general here. Yet, you have to want the changes. Not because someone else thinks you need them. Not because you want to impress this or that person. Not even because you think it's the right thing to do. It has to be a want, a passion, a deep down desire for change that makes you fight for the chance to break the chains of being set in your ways. I didn't go on a diet, I changed my life...and yes...you can change yours too!

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