That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for Jennkind

Why a giant leap? Because this post, my first attempt at a blog journal of my journey to create a healthy, more confident me, has me deep in the jitters. (Just so we’re in sync, I should explain that I get kind of annoyed by the word “blog”, so henceforth I will be referring to this as my journal. I can’t seem to separate my impression of a blog as being something rather “crusade-y” in nature, and I simply don’t want to be that person.) Taking this step and opening up my world online is, to put it mildly, an unnerving moment for me. This is where I intend to confront my daily realities, out in the open. My soul is exposed, and I am admittedly more than a little uncomfortable with that. However, I am doing this as another measure of accountability, and when I am honest with myself, I know I will need it. God willing, I will learn something from my ups and downs hashed out here.

On November 1st I had my first meeting with a great group of people who are participating with me in a Lifestyle Challenge at my new gym. This is the first gym I have ever stepped into in my life, and I just turned 40 about two months ago. Fear of what people would think of me, my size, and my inherent lack of coordination have always kept me away. The F-word (Fear) is actually a familiar friend of mine; it’s the thing that has consistently kept me from taking any risk for reward in my life. I don’t know what the root of the fear is, and maybe that doesn’t matter – but miraculously, I have finally found a little spark within me that made me want to kick this fear to the curb… for good.

I began seeking a gym to join as I was out and about over the summer, keeping my eyes open for something convenient, inexpensive, and ideally, drawing as few Barbie and Ken dolls as possible. Anytime Fitness was an option that stood out all along, simply because they have so many locations, and judging by their parking lots they never appeared to be over-crowded, and at certain times of the day, even emtpy. A BIG plus in my book, since I was a girl that wouldn’t even let my husband in the room if I was riding my stationary bike at home.

I began to follow Anytime Fitness on social networking sites, just to get a feel for their overall health and fitness philosophy. Within a day, I saw a retweet on Twitter mentioning a great workout this person had experienced at one of their gyms not far from where I live, which was already a strong contender due to location. I checked out this person’s feed, and noticed he is a blogger, so I gave his blog a visit. I was comforted to find out that he too had some lofty weight loss ambitions, and seemed to be head over heels in love with his new gym. I began to follow him, and asked him about the place. He seemed to genuinely get where I was coming from and what I was looking for. In just a few exchanges of 140 characters or less, he was able to sell me on Anytime Fitness in Woodbury. The clincher? The fact that the owners were running a promotion for people with a BMI of more than 39 (I’m currently at a 44), who were willing to shoot for a goal of achieving a normal BMI within one year. I would have to commit to so many days of cardio and strength work each week, and healthy eating habits as specified. I would also have to agree to allow my image, comments and testimonials to be used in advertising for the business, which for me, was the difficult thing to agree to.  In exchange, I was to receive personal training help and nutrition guidance from the owners – a couple who I now believe to be two of the most down-to-earth, motivating, encouraging and faithful people I think I have ever met. For the training, I would pay nothing, and they were offering my husband and I some very fair rates on our monthly membership fee. It didn’t take us long to decide this was an offer we couldn’t refuse. My husband and I both signed up, and as mentioned above, the entire group met for the first time this past Monday – including James, my new Twitter friend that led me here!

I am now in my fourth week at the gym, and physically this is the best I have felt since I was about 25 years old. Miracles are taking place in my body, and I wouldn’t trade this opportunity for anything right now. I am so grateful and honored to be a part of this group. My trainers are remarkable, and after meeting the rest of the group this week, I am so inspired and excited to see us all succeed. And what’s even more amazing, as that I actually believe that we all will!

My family knows me best, and I think they’d describe me as shy and private to a fault. My passions run deep for reading and photography, and my preference is to be behind a camera, rather than in front of it. I am trying to reincorporate these passions back into my everyday life, so I plan to share some of my photographic inspiration here from time to time… if my fear of criticism doesn’t send me into mini fits. While I hope to have the courage to share my art with you, my real purpose here is share my thoughts as I do the work to give myself a mental, spiritual and physical makeover. If my day to day struggles and victories inspire you take your own life back in any way, that will be fuel for my Fitness Fire that burns a little stronger every day, and hopefully, the strength I’ll need to continue when things aren’t easy.

Finally, some back story: I had really good intentions of changing my lifestyle in January 2008 (you know where that “good intentions” paved path takes you, right?) I was at my highest weight ever (that I’m aware of) – a, shall we say, unhealthy 340 pounds. (And yes, it SUCKS to type that number and acknowledge that it’s true.) I lost about ten pounds really fast, and yo-yo’d up and down for the next two years.

My dad, my mom, me (at my heaviest and tiredest) and my niece - December 2008

Unfortunately for me, my real rock bottom didn’t come until March 2010, when I almost missed a flight to see my family for Spring Break due to a bout with diverticulitis and other weight-intensified health issues. In the final hours before my flight, I made the decision to go even though I felt like death. I boarded the plane, buckled up my always humiliating seatbelt extender, and decided that I’d had enough. So, I did the hardest thing I’ve ever done – I faced my Fatness, and as a result began eating less, eating better, and, worst (or best?) of all… exercising.

As I begin this journal, I am down 76 pounds from my highest weight. Most of it I have lost with little or no accountability (other than what I’ve gotten from my husband, who goes way too easy on me) and the knowledge from my favorite web resource for healthy weight loss, SparkPeople.com. And yes, there have been setbacks. The good news is that I have begun to accept that good health is a life-long process, and those setbacks can be overcome.

Me at the Minnesota State Fair, August 2010

Writing and sharing this first post is far more intimidating to me than joining a gym – and for those of you that know me, that’s saying something. So why am I doing it? This is the most important emotional (not to mention physical) journey of my life, so I must do what I can to make this time stand still, so I can remind myself where I was, and now more importantly, where I’m going. I may actually want to look back and remember these moments! I think the lyrics of this incredibly awesome Rush/Aimee Mann song from back in the day sums it up well for me:

I turn my back to the wind

To catch my breath,

Before I start off again

Driven on,

Without a moment to spend

To pass an evening

With drink and a friend

I let my skin get too thin

I’d like to pause,

No matter what I pretend

Like some pilgrim

Who learns to transcend

Learns to live

As if each step was the end

Time stand still

I’m not looking back

But I want to look around me now

Time stand still

See more of the people

And the places that surround me now

Time stand still

Freeze this moment

A little bit longer

Make each sensation

A little bit stronger

Experience slips away…

Experience slips away…

Time stand still

I turn my face to the sun

I close my eyes

I let me defenses down

All those wounds

That I can’t get unwound

I let my past go too fast

No time to pause

If I could slow it all down

Like some captain,

Whose ship runs aground

I can wait until the tide comes around

Time stand still

I’m not looking back

But I want to look around me now

Time stand still

See more of the people

And the places that surround me now

Freeze this moment

A little bit longer

Make each sensation

A little bit stronger

Make each impression

A little bit stronger

Freeze this motion

A little bit longer

The innocence slips away…

The innocence slips away…

Time stand still

Time stand still

I’m not looking back

But I want to look around me now

See more of the people

And the places that surround me now

Time stand still

Summer’s going fast

Nights growing colder

Children growing up

Old friends growing older

Freeze this moment

A little bit longer

Make each sensation

A little bit stronger

Experience slips away…

Experience slips away…

The innocence slips away…

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2 thoughts on “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for Jennkind

  1. Jenn. Welcome. Part of this whole jouney is taking risks. You’ve gone above and beyond to this point. You won’t regret doing this. Glad to call you my friend and that the 1 and only time I mentioned @anytimefitness you were watching for it.

    Onword and upword. Here we go!

    • JP, I just needed to say “Thanks” for that. Made my spirits soar. And even though my delts and glutes are still weeping, I am so glad to be part of the group. Without you – not possible.

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