Saturday, December 24, 2011

Top Ten Blog Posts of 2011: Making Your Dreams a Reality (Re-post)

I am once again behind on my Top Ten Blog Posts of 2011 Re-posts. "Making Your Dreams a Reality" was supposed to be posted yesterday but I spent most of the day in our vehicle traveling back to Louisiana from Florida. In this re-post you'll find a little of my back story and my struggles with losing weight. You'll also discover what it takes to make your dreams come true.

At lunch yesterday Ryan and I were talking about what it takes to make our dreams/desires a reality. Most of us have a list of things that we'd like to do or accomplish. Some may be far fetched and unrealistic but others are doable if we just "do". The problem is that we have all these desires but we don't "do" anything to make them come true. Now, I'm not saying that we need to act on all our desires and dreams because let's face it, we're human and not all of our desires are God honoring and could be more harmful than helpful. But I'm sure that if you are like me, there are things that you really want out of life but they seem like some distant hope for the future. A sort of, "the stars have to align" in order for that to happen. But how many of those things could be accomplished if we just did something about it. This led me to thinking about losing weight.

If you are new to my blog let me give you a little background on myself. I never had a weight problem until I was in college. I always had a healthy appetite and love for food but I was fairly active in high school so it wasn't a problem. In college I became more sedentary and then two years later, I got married. Married life was like a free for all when it came to eating. My husband and I both shared a love for food and so we ate...A LOT! I began packing on the pounds. I like to say that I went to bed skinny one night and woke up fat the next morning. I know it didn't happen like this but that's how I felt. Anyway, after years of yo-yo dieting, I lost some weight with the help of a diet program that made me drink shakes and take pills. After I dropped a good bit of weight, I got pregnant with Abigail, which was an answer to prayer! But instead of keeping my eating habits the same, I let my pregnancy be an excuse to eat anything I wanted and I pretty much ate everything! Once I had Abigail, I dropped some weight pretty quickly but after dealing with postpartum depression and eventually losing my job just after Abigail's first birthday I turned again to food. Food was my comfort and my friend. My life became all about food. I was an addict. In 2010 we moved to Louisiana. For the first time in my life I was living in a town without any family, mine nor Ryan's and again food became my solace. I packed on even more pounds. I weighed the most I had ever weighed but refused to actually weigh myself. At the beginning of 2011, I realized that I couldn't keep living this way and that my negative food choices were affecting my daughter and I didn't want her to grow up with the same problems with food that I've always dealt with. So we started making better choices, adding fruits and veggies, cutting out most junk food, drinking more water, etc. I lost some weight initially and making better choices became easier but it wasn't until May of this year that I really got it together and started dropping some serious pounds.

How did I do it, you ask? Well, for a long time my desire to lose weight and be certain size was merely a desire, a dream. I could strain my eyes and my mind and look into the future and see the me I wanted to be. But for a long time, it was just that. I had no goals, no plan to get there. That is why I spent years trying this diet and these pills. That's why I joined gyms and started exercise programs. That's why none of those things really worked. Yes, I lost a few pounds here or there but the truth is, if they had REALLY worked, I wouldn't be typing this message to you now. I wouldn't have gained the weight back. If what you are doing now to lose weight isn't something that you can realistically see yourself doing for the rest of your life...IT DOESN'T WORK!!! So again, you ask, how are you doing it and why is it different this time? Well, I'll tell you...

I set some goals and I made a plan. And this time it just wasn't a thought of, "I want to lose 30 pounds. I want to get back into a size 8 jeans. I'm going to go on a diet. I'm going to exercise." While all those thoughts have good intentions behind them, you know that the road to failure is often paved with good intentions. This time, I really put a plan into motion...a specific plan. My goals were to get more sleep, drink more water, complete the C25K running plan, eat more fruits and veggies, etc. And I'm doing all those things. I am on my seventh week of the C25K. It's a nine week plan. I'm going to graduate soon and I've gone from someone who hates running to someone who enjoys it. I used to be someone who went to bed around midnight every night. Now, I'm in my bed around 8:00 p.m. I read for about an hour and then I go to sleep. I get up early three days a week to run and I go for a walk or to the gym on the other days. And I've changed the way I eat. Like I've said before, I used to equate eating better with eating things I did not enjoy which always led to falling off the wagon and a trip to McDonald's. This time, I found ways to eat the things I love but in a healthier way. I'm not saying that I always get it right and I know that some days I eat too many calories but when I make a mistake, instead of saying, "oh well, I've already messed up, I might as well eat something unhealthy," I re-evaluate and start over. But the key to my success so far is making a plan and sticking to it. And when you find out your plan is no longer working as well for you as you like, change it up, take stock of where you are, and make the changes necessary to meet your goal. It really is as simple as that.

It applies to all areas of your life. Whatever your dream or desire might be. I have another dream that has been tormenting me and mocking me for years. I love to read and because of that I developed a love for writing. I always enjoyed writing papers in high school and college and through that love a desire write a book, a novel. But in the same way that I approached weight loss in the past, I approached writing a book. I started out with no real plan so on my computer is an unfinished novel that I started over five years ago. I have this great desire to finish it and write other novels. Truth be told, I have like four novels that I've started. But none of them are finished. I had no follow through. I would get overwhelmed with it and give up. Just like losing weight was something that I REALLY wanted and could squint into my future and see, it's the same with my book. I know I have it in me. I can look really hard into the future and see myself as a published author but how am I ever going to get there? It's going to take the same goal setting, plan making, and discipline that it has required of me to actually change my life and my weight.

I can see myself living this healthier lifestyle for the rest of my life. I enjoy it. I'm not having to swallow magic pills, drink disgusting shakes, go to meetings, or any other stuff that I wouldn't want to do forever. My life and my body is changing because I'm using it as it was designed to be use. I'm putting in healthy fuel, giving it the exercise it needs and deserves, treating it like the temple it is and that is why I feel better and look better. And today was my weigh in day. I'm down three more pounds for a total of  12 pounds down since around the middle of May.

So, whatever your dream or desire, if it honors God, go for it! Don't just sit there wishing for something to happen because more often than not, you'll still be sitting there in the years to come. Sometimes, you just have to make things happen for yourself. Don't just say your going to do it, make a plan, set some goals, and go for it. And find someone or some people, to keep you accountable. For me, it's my husband, my family, and my Facebook and blogger friends.

I've already been making my plan to finish my novel. I don't have all the steps down yet but I'm working on it. Maybe one day in the near future you'll be in your favorite bookstore and look over and see my name on the cover of a book on the shelf. And if you do, I hope you'll pick it up and buy it. And when you look on the back for the picture of the author, you'll see a slimmer more confident me!

Peace, Love, and Healthy Living,


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