Actually, this is Jennifer. She has been my gym crush for a few years now, my real-life inspiration. This oh-so-gorgeous lady is very focused and a damn hard worker and oh! I love that in a woman! No fear! Such a beautiful thing! There are a lot of women in the gym but it takes a real winner to inspire me and because of this lady, I made the decision to get serious about what I was doing with my diet. The gym has never been an issue for me - I love weight training and feel miserable when I can't. But, I have been a terrible eater for most of my life, abusing my body with the yo-yo dieting approach, suffering through bulimia for many years and then just transitioning to binge eating. After 30+ years of this insanity, my belief that I would ever be able to change my eating habits was pretty much non-existent. Never stopped training and thank God, I'm not a quitter. But my dreams were dying because I was losing hope. That is the most horrible feeling there is.
Winston Churchill once said "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Courage needs its partners in order to be activated: faith, belief, dreams, hope. How do we find our courage without them? Last night I watched Batkid Begins, a documentary about the Make A Wish Foundation and a wish they granted to a 5 year old boy with Leukemia. I have admired this foundation for years-what they can pull off is amazing and their ability to bring literally thousands of people together to bring a dream to life for a child is awe-inspiring! A comment was made that this particular project healed humanity-if just for the day-and it was suddenly so easy to see why this foundation is such a hit and has tons of support: it's not just that making a child's dreams come true touches all of us (we were once children and empathy and compassion are huge motivators). We need to see that dreams can come true! Why? It gives us hope! We are lost without it.
I just wanted to be a cowboy when I was little. My Dad rode the rodeo and it was such a thrill for me to go watch him (he rode bulls and broncs) and that was all I ever wanted-to be just like him. Somewhere along the way, I lost that dream, many others came and went, and this is natural. Truth? I still want to be a cowboy! Cowgirl, cowperson, whatever. But, I digress. As adults, we seem to lose our playful, optimistic, care-free spirit, and I think a lot of hope gets lost with that. So much to wear us down-work, bills, endless responsibilities, a world losing touch with values and morals-unfortunately, this is a lengthy list. If there were nothing to inspire and motivate us, all hope would be lost that things can get better. They can-and it starts with each of us. You cannot be focused on the negative, the dark, the haters, the crap. And when it comes to dieting? There's a lot of crap! That's because marketers know how to prey on our hopes. They do it in evil ways because all they really want is your money! Example: Email inbox every morning will have at least 20 items about losing weight. Try this diet! Buy this pill! Use this method to finally rid yourself of those unwanted pounds! Really? Me thinks not! Come on-don't you know they don't want you to succeed? I mean, where's the repeat business in that? And what they're selling won't work anyway-besides, you already have everything you need to succeed within you right now. You may not believe it, especially if you are feeling as worn out and run down by your own inner BS monologue as I was. Don't lose your hope. Grab it tight and rock it like a lover. Find your inspiration to help you nurture it along. Don't be creepy about it (I wanted to sneak some pictures of Jen in the gym working out to keep in my phone for use as a quick HOPE fix, LOL...) but face it head on. You DO have it in you to realize your dreams!
I was feeling like I needed to reward myself as well as do something kind for my poor little injured (cracked rib, remember? Five days ago...) self so went to Victoria's Secret and got myself a cute sports bra. Wore it today in the gym (yes, cracked rib went too, LOL) but since I went off the bio-identical hormone therapy 6 weeks ago, I was getting heat overload as I was training so I ripped off my top! It has been over 20 years since I exposed so much in the gym but within minutes, here comes a gentleman I've seen in the gym forever, walks right up to me and said "I couldn't help but notice how fine you are!" I swear, I am not making this up! (But really-you talkin' to me?) It was a little thrilling to hear that but even more thrilling when I walked by Jennifer and she said I looked great. Now that is a compliment. I couldn't have started this journey without a dream, a lot of inspiration and just a little hope. The transformation in the physical is exciting though what keeps me on point is nothing you can see because it's in the heart, the soul, the spirit and the mind. I felt like I was spiraling out of control, unable to take charge and get a handle on my diet. Go long enough doing the wrong things and it will wear you down, take the best of you and leave you a hollow shell of your former self. The road back to health and sanity becomes more difficult the farther you veer from the path. Please don't let this happen to you. It's truly not just about how you look-it's about who you become. Getting your self-esteem back and learning to really love yourself is the greatest aspect of training and one that carries over to every element of your life. Everyone and everything you touch will be better for it!
A huge Thank You to Jennifer for allowing the use of her photos and for being who you are-foxy, fit, fierce, fabulous and ever-inspiring!