I was driving home from the gym this morning after my last heavy glute and hamstring day and a quick 30-minute HIIT spin class; seated next to me was a small brown bag breakfast that I picked up at Whole Foods for my family. Bacon, feta and veggie omelette, everything bagel, cinnamon raisin muffin and some seasoned white potatoes. Even though that cinnamon muffin did look enticing (and from the way my daughter devoured it, apparently it tasted as good as it looked), I was looking forward to a hot shower and my 1 cup of egg whites and 1/3 cup of oatmeal. This had been my breakfast everyday for the past 6 weeks, and with only 7 days from my last show this spring, I didn’t dare stray from the norm.
I started thinking about all of the other things in my life that had become my new normal after time. You know when you start to do something that is uncomfortable, and one day you realize that it’s not uncomfortable anymore and you’ve actually gotten good at it? I started to make a list of those things in my head, starting from way back in high school. I started to see a big picture view of the many ways that I have grown as an adult and the challenges and fears I’ve faced that have produced the person that I am today. After looking at this big picture, I hardly recognized the person that I once was – a timid, insecure teenager once very focused on gaining approval from others.
Here are some of the memories and thoughts I recalled from the past and the mental shifts that have since taken place:
- Feeling like an outsider in my high school group of friends who were all-star athletes. I was cut from field hockey (twice) in high school and from lacrosse. I joined the cross-country team to keep active and busy after school. Today, as a 36-year old mom, I am an athlete.
- Feeling like I didn’t fit in during my college years with my friends who always had the best clothes or latest new handbags. Today, material things mean less than ever to me. I don’t even know who the “Joneses” are, nor do I care.
- Feeling like I would “stand out” if I stopped drinking and partying in my twenties. What would people think if I drank a club soda at a social event instead of a vodka soda? Guess what, 95% of the people who don’t notice, or care. I have no issues being around alcohol, but I have no desire to drink it. I am more self-assured than ever before.
- Feeling scared about the idea of having a baby. How would it affect my marriage? Would it change everything? How would I be able to still find time for myself? How would my body change? Having a baby was one of the scariest and best things ever. Yes, it changed everything, for the better. Now my heart is 100 times bigger. Scheduling time for me and the hubs is a priority which is why we still have almost weekly date nights.
- Being concerned with others opinions of me. I would say this is the area in which I have grown the most, actually tipping to the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I really don’t give a crap what you think of me. I am living in my own truth each day, and that is an extremely freeing feeling.
- Feeling uncertain about adding a weight training program to my exercise routine. Would it make me look unfeminine or bulky? After years of practice and experimenting with exercises, I am so comfortable in the weight room, not only performing the exercises, but asking for help or suggestions if I have a question. And as for it making me bulky. I have learned from experience that muscle growth depends on the food you eat and the intensity of the lifts that you perform, and no I will not get bulky.
- Feeling nervous about training for a bikini competition. But what if I fall ON MY FACE on stage?! I really like eating whatever I want. Training is a new passion of mine and during the 4 months that I train, I can easily stay on track most of the time with occasional treats. Posing used to be my weakest link, but now it’s quickly becoming a skill that I am very confident in.
- Apprehensive about the BIGGER goals that I now have, including earning my Pro Card. I’ll let you know AFTER that happens, how I feel.
You see, the things that were once a concern are not even a second thought today. Everyday I just wake up and put one foot in front of the other. At night when I go to bed I ask myself if I’ve been a good wife, a good mom, a good employee, a good friend, a good coach, and if I’ve taken good care of me that day. I am not perfect at all of these things each day, but I try really hard to do my best. If I see a weakness in one area, I make an adjustment.
So often when we measure progress, we look at how we did yesterday or last week or last month even. We do not look at the years, sometimes decades of work that we have put in to become the person that we are today. We do not give ourselves enough credit for the growth that we have experienced over THAT amount of time. This growth extends way beyond the physical into the mental, emotional and most importantly, spiritual.
I share this message today as a push for you to jot down some of these simple thoughts or milestones in your life. Write them all down. Any small shred of progress that you have seen and made. After you are finished, I want you to look at everything you’ve written. I want you to take a moment to be really proud, because I’m sure you’ve overcome some little stuff and some really big shit, like me. Life is not a race. It is a journey through peaks and valleys. I cannot wait to see what is around the corner, but for today, I am on this path and my feet are on the ground below. I am present in the now. You can read more about the show I’m competing in on Sunday, May 14th here. As always, thank you for your continued support.