(This is Part 2 of the Transformation series. Read Part 1 Here.)
It took me many years of learning how to properly value my inner worth, before I arrived at a place where I could begin to work on my body for the right reasons, and with effective results. All previous attempts flopped rather miserably. Every now and then, I’d summon enough gusto to quit sugar for a 30 day spurt or start running a few times a week (which would last a couple months or so till seasonal allergies kicked in). I even tried the Atkin’s diet for a summer in college. I wanted a quick fix, but deep down, I knew what my body needed was a lifestyle change. Being the Type A perfectionist that I am, I got to a place where I didn’t even want to try unless I knew I would be successful for the long-haul.
As I previously shared, I needed to understand my worth before I could make much headway, but I also needed something else.
Ugh. Do any of you inwardly cringe at that word? For myself, I felt like discipline was equal to certain failure. Some days in those early years of motherhood, I felt like the only disciplines I could master was making my cup of coffee in the morning and having a consistent nap schedule. Laundry, household chores, child training, meal planning – all of those seemed to only happen on an “ohmigosh-I-can’t-stand-it-anymore” basis. Mounting chaos would make me crazy, which resulted in a cleaning/organizational frenzy, after which I’d have maybe two minutes of peace before the cycle began again.
How am I supposed to be so many things to so many people and have energy leftover to care for myself? Whatever. I’m just gonna have to get used to feeling like a slug and start picturing myself as a plump, but jolly middle-aged woman, and fuggedaboutit. It’s not worth the stress!
At one time, I struggled to make any personal progress because I didn’t properly value my body, but then I began to use my circumstances as an excuse to stay stuck. It was a crutch, and I have to confess, there was a concentrated dose of straight-up laziness mixed in there too.
Before I could overcome those mental obstacles and succeed in making the disciplined lifestyle changes I wanted, I had to admit to myself that my lazy-ass excuses were lame, and did nothing but hold me back.
I suggest to you that you can only fight lies when you confess you’ve been listening to them, and you can only beat the lies when you actively pursue what is true.
Are you lazy? Own it.
Do you fear failure? Confess that.
And then move past it and discover the greater truth–that your body is ready for this.
I’ve said before that the child-bearing years took a toll on my body confidence, but in another way, it served as a potent reminder that helped me get out of the slug-state I found myself in and embrace my full potential. I vividly recollect bearing down with all my might to evict my firstborn son from my womb with a primal scream after 14 hours of unmedicated back labor. I honestly remember thinking I was going to die. So when they finally placed him in my arms, I was overwhelmed with dumbfounded awe.
My body had defied my feelings entirely and not only survived, but also gave breath to another human being.
I couldn’t get over that realization. Unwittingly, that experience proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that my feelings are not always an accurate barometer of the possibilities. If that’s true, then this body I casually walk around in is capable of far more than I ever imagined. Furthermore, if it could pump out those babies, it could definitely stand to pump a little iron.
Facing my doubts, fears and excuses, I began my journey to transformation. Throughout the next phase of my path to fitness, I lost the baby weight (and then some), my metabolism and energy dramatically increased, I enjoyed the outdoors more, I overcame my constant craving for sweets, I exchanged chronic aches for sore-but-strengthened muscles, my hormone balance improved, and I got to purchase a whole new wardrobe of clothes that I feel cute wearing. Most significantly, I discovered my strength, and proved to myself that change is possible. I can’t even describe how empowering the journey has been.
Discipline doesn’t equal failure after all. In fact, true discipline leads to empowerment.
I absolutely believe it can be that way for you, fellow mama. I realize there are many paths to fitness, and in sharing my story I don’t mean to prescribe a one-size-fits-all approach. Tomorrow, in part 3, I will outline the specific guidelines that worked for me, and I share it in hopes that it will encourage you to find the way that works for you and stick with it, because your body is stronger than you think it is.
Marilynn Song Harri is a happy wife, mom and homemaker in the small town of Walla Walla, Washington. While she keeps very busy raising and teaching five children at home, she pursues a life of simplicity, laughter and loving Jesus.