In the past couple of months I’ve really tried to make changes to improve myself. I’ve started eating better (that’s not to say that I don’t have my slips now and again), and I’m trying to get to the gym on a more regular basis. It’s been great. I’ve noticed some huge differences. My knee doesn’t hurt when I’m going up stairs anymore, I’ve been getting more restful sleep, I’ve got more energy throughout the day, my old clothes are fitting better, and I’ve just been in an all around better mood. I’m inspiring myself everyday with the changes that I’m seeing. It’s been amazing.
Lately my motto has been: if your brain says you can do it, your body will follow. I’ve been sharing that with everybody including my own kids. I don’t like to hear the word “can’t" come out of their mouths. So every time they say it, I respond with “Only if you don’t try”. You really CAN do anything. Last night when I was flipping through a book I recently purchased, this theory was really hammered home for me. It's a small book filled with verses from the bible. They are categorized for different life situations (marriage, illness, anger, etc). So last night as I was browsing through it, I happened upon this verse:
“…..for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” Matthew 17:20
Reading that put a huge smile on my face. God always knows the perfect moment to drop into my life and move me with His word. It’s like he was telling me that I’ve been right all along and to keep doing exactly what I’ve been doing. As long as I believe that I can do it, the goals that once felt unattainable will come to fruition. So I took that verse and embedded it into my brain and today at the gym, I moved my own mountain.
I've always felt that the elliptical machine was created by Satan himself to torture poor innocent souls in exercise facilities the world over. I have avoided that thing at all costs for the last 8 years. But lately watching other people on it burning a ton of calories, sweating every ounce of liquid out of their bodies, and most importantly losing weight got me thinking “Why can't I do that?”
For years now I’ve had a bum knee. I hyper extended it years ago and since then I’ve used it as my excuse to bow out of many different activities: running, climbing, hiking, pretty much anything I’ve felt too lazy or more importantly, too scared, to get off my butt and do. That includes that dang elliptical machine. But my knee hasn’t been bothering me so much lately. So one day about 4 weeks ago, I found myself all alone in the little fitness room at the gym (where I prefer to exercise away from the meatheads and Barbie dolls). I decided to make my way over to the elliptical and just give it a try. I only made it a minute and 12 seconds before my legs literally stopped themselves from moving. I absolutely couldn’t go anymore. It was embarrassing. I’m just glad there was nobody else in there to see my shame. I made a decision right there to conquer that stupid machine. It was not going to steal my dignity like that and get away with it!
I knew it was going to take awhile, but I was up for the challenge. So about once or twice a week, at the end of my regular workout, I would hop on it again (only if there were very few people in the room of course) and go until my legs would seize up. And I was adding a little bit on to my time with each go at it. On Monday I was able to get it up to a whopping 7 minutes and 10 seconds. I was so proud of myself! It gave me a high for the rest of the day. I never in a million years thought I would get a full 7 minutes on the elliptical…and then some! It was thrilling. Then the very next day before a training session, I did my 5 minute warm up on the elliptical in the main gym with 2 dozen other people around. I felt super insecure at first, but I didn't care, because I was doing it, just like everybody else. And I loved it.
For some reason I’ve always waited until the end of my workout to tackle the beast. Today I decided that I was going to see how much I could add on to my time if I got it over with first thing, before I did any other part of my regular routine. Well I’m still having a hard time believing it myself, but this afternoon, on my mortal enemy the elliptical machine, I got in a full 20 minutes! You read that right! TWENTY MINUTES! From 7 minutes to 20! And my legs didn’t give out! I wanted to cry right there in the middle of the YMCA. I wanted to run through the entire facility telling everybody I saw what I had just accomplished. I can’t remember the last time I’ve felt this good about myself. From now on, my first stop at the gym will be the machine that is quickly becoming a helpful friend.
I’ve felt so empowered lately meeting the challenges that I’ve given myself. This is my life and if there’s something I’m not happy with about myself, I can change it. It might not be fun sometimes, it'll take work, and it’s not going to happen overnight, but at the end of my journey, I’m going to be a much happier and stronger person.
Next up on the list of “things I never thought I’d do”……..Zumba :S