Monday, November 16, 2009

The secret to inspiration

I say this a lot, but it's a tough journey. And over the past few weeks I've come to realize once again what an incredible journey it has been. I've been taking some time to reflect on the past 20 months and continue to reaffirm the fact that even though weight loss takes a lot of physical work -- the working out, the sweat, the exertion -- that it's the emotional work that can be the toughest to conquer.

As I near the fulfillment of my next goal (losing 200 pounds before Christmas), I get more and more people asking me what I've done to make this all work for myself. I've met so many incredible, supportive and wonderful people along the way -- people who inspire me in so many ways. And I've come to learn that I've inspired them.

Hmmm. Now there's something to wrap my head around. Maybe that's how I've done it...

I can understand how what I've accomplished would inspire someone. It's not every day that someone sets out to lose weight, and drops nearly 200 pounds in just under two years... without gimmicks. So, that part I understand. But what has been challenging to wrap my head around is understanding that who I am as a person -- not necessarily what I've accomplished -- is what's inspiring. And when I make a sour face or look puzzled when people give me that compliment, I have begun to wonder why I'm having this unusual reaction.

I have realized over the past few weeks that it takes a really strong mind to make the shift from being the one who seeks to be inspired, to being the one who inspires. I can't count the number of times I would sit at home after watching an episode of The Biggest Loser or some other show, and feel inspired. I however, would end up feeling crappy about myself, because in spite of the inspiration, I would be mad/upset/jealous that I didn't have someone filming my journey for a television show and somehow letting me in on 'the secret'.

At the end of the day, the secret is about balancing desire, hard work, and dedication. As I said before, it's about "
knowing that I not only gave myself the chance to succeed, but that I actually believed that I could do so." In many ways, it's about realizing that no matter how many episodes of The Biggest Loser or whatever show we watch, at some point, we have to decide to be our own inspiration.

For people like me who have struggled with weight and other issues, accepting the fact that you're a strong, beautiful, competent, and perfectly imperfect human can be tough to do. Years and years of beating yourself up for being out of shape, fat, and unattractive take their toll, and make it really tough to accept the possibility that you will ever become a different person altogether. And no matter how much we surround ourselves with support -- trainers, fitness instructors, therapists, coaches, family, friends, the list goes on -- at some point, we need to channel the energy we draw from those around us, and direct it towards fueling and finding our own inspiration. Undoubtedly, the support we draw from the people around is irreplaceable -- research (apparently) shows that engaging in a weight loss / fitness journey in the context of supportive relationships is more likely to yield a positive result. Yet, in spite of the tremendous amount of support that has surrounded me for example, one of the most difficult things to do has been to accept that support and turn it into something I can work with.

For some strange, twisted reason,
accepting the fact that people give a shit about you can be really tough...especially when it feels like other people care more about you than you care about yourself.

And I guess that's part of the secret, too. As I go further along my journey, I realize that such a big part of the secret is not only
making a conscious choice to embrace the possibility that you, as an individual, have the capacity and capability to not only make change in your life, but most importantly, to care enough to do so.

It's about making the choice to live life differently.
It's about truly living in possibility as opposed to living in fear of it.
It's about finding a way -- in whatever way possible, to discover, accept, and be proud of the fact that you are your own and strongest inspiration.

That's a pretty powerful thing. Couple the strength of that decision -- that unshakable, unquestionable determination -- with the resources and opportunity to eat well, exercise, and truly live our lives, and the secret is no longer that much of a mystery: No gimmicks. No quick fixes. Just a lot of work -- work of the body, the mind, and the soul, to make a decision that you will never regret.

That's the secret. That's the key. That, apparently, is inspiration.

Kia kaha.
Stay strong.