Every once in awhile we come across something that gives us a chuckle or even makes us reflect. Recently, I discovered one of those things. It showed me the changes I’ve made in my life over the past few years. Most people hate change. Or at the very least dislike it. But most of us try to avoid change as much as possible, because it’s hard. It’s hard, because it challenges us. It pushes us to our limits. Most of the time, I’m one of those people who resist change; but change is good and not to be feared. This is a portion of my story…
About 14 years ago, I decided to go back to school for an Associate’s Degree. A change in location caused me to transfer schools and in so doing, certain requirements for my degree changed. One of those new requirements was I had to take two physical fitness classes. What?! Why in the world would that be required for an office degree? Because my athletic skills are like an octopus playing sports, the P.E. class in high school was my least favorite so I did only what I needed in order to survive the class. And here I was in college the second time around and being forced to PAY for fitness classes. I was not happy.
So….since I wasn’t interested in many of the offerings during the times available to me, I picked a self-defense class (practical) and a combination class of cardio kickboxing and step aerobics (sounded fun). The self-defense class just about killed me! Who knew part of my grade depended on my ability to do 50 military style pushups and 50 sit-ups by the end of the semester? Good Lord! Also unbeknownst to me, there were actual paper assignments in the kickboxing class. One of those assignments is what opened my eyes to the new habits I have created for myself.
It was a tracking chart of my weight, exercise, and food over the span of about three weeks. Now, I know my eating habits were atrocious. After all, fast food is one of the four major food groups of a single person! Here’s one example of my eating habits way back in the day. Many years ago when I was waitressing the breakfast shift (there should be a law against a non-morning person waiting on people at 7am), I would stop at a convenient store and grab a 20oz Mt Dew and a Hostess apple pie. Then eat it as a “pre-breakfast” on my way to work. That’s right, folks. I would also eat a full breakfast when I got my break around 10am.
According to this chart, I had eaten things like: McDonald’s breakfast (3 times), cinnamon rolls (3 times), Taco Bell (2 times), a few half pizzas. But I had an apple with one of the pizzas! Oh yeah…that completely justifies eating half of it! Or how about a corn dog with onion rings AND french fries. Yep, junk food at its finest!
Oh how times have changed! Today, I write out a meal plan each week to help guide me. For most breakfasts, I eat a little oatmeal and an apple. In fact, apples have become an “almost” addiction. I ran out once and thought I was going to go into withdrawals! I just didn’t know what I was going to do without my daily apple. So I made a trip to the store to get a bag. Gotta feed those addictions! At least the healthy ones. Pizza has become the occasional treat when we order for lunch in the office or the youth ministry has a party. Speaking of which, I think it’s time the youth have a pizza party! But I digress…
In a separate paper for the same class, I had written out a fitness plan with goals – that I’m sure I did only to brown nose the teacher. I wrote, “My ideal weight loss would be 30-40 pounds and decreasing at least two clothing sizes.” Well needless to say, I have lost approximately 50 pounds and have gone down not TWO clothing sizes, but FOUR! I have far exceeded the goals written only to get a grade. While this journey has taken me over three years, it has been well spent. The weight loss has only been a side benefit to getting healthy.
See? Change is good. It has certainly had its challenges, but change always does. This is a change I don’t fear and won’t resist. Even though this stuff made me laugh, it was also encouraging to me. It revealed that I really have made a transition to a healthier lifestyle. No matter how many times I may get discouraged and want to quit on it all, I have made some permanent changes in my habits. And you know what? I’m proud of myself and think I’ll stick with them for a while bit longer.