i quit exercising for 20 years

While I’d been living in freedom from my eating disorder for well over a decade, it took much longer to freely engage in exercise. I recognized that in the past my exercise levels had become obsessive. Fearful that I’d slip back into the same obsessive mindset if I started exercising, I largely avoided it altogether. Occasionally I’d dip my toes in the water with a gym membership here and a workout DVD there. However, for the most part, I nestled right into the bosom of my fear, finding a convenient excuse to quit exercise for 20 years.

THE SHIFT

Two years ago things started to shift. We embraced a new lifestyle of RV living and I vowed to start praying through my fears and embracing discomfort. Three months into our travels, the topic of exercise rose to the top. Not only had my husband started running a few days a week, but we found ourselves parked adjacent to a couple that seemed to think daily exercise was part of their full-time job (I later found out that it was). I’d stare out my window watching them take turns working out in the Florida heat and think, “That looks hard, why would anyone want to do that?” or “I think they are taking that exercise stuff a little too seriously.

THE QUESTIONS

In defense of my own personal fears, justified myself right out of taking action on my own health. As the days passed and their consistency remained, my resolve started to waver. Instead of directing my thoughts at them, I found myself starting to look at myself. A flurry of thoughts started swirling through my mind:

What would happen if I gave myself another chance at this?
But what if I started obsessing again? What if I backslid into my old ways?

My food mindset has been healthy and whole for a long time.
What if my mindset was focused on being strong instead of being skinny?

How could I maintain a regular exercise routine while on the road?
My husband was doing it. My crazy neighbors were doing it. It must be possible.

What would happen if I committed to regular exercise?
How would that feel 6 months from now, a year from now if I didn’t quit?

Not typically one to tread lightly into new terrain, I sat on these thoughts for a few months, pulling them out every now and then to re-examine them from new angles. Out of curiosity, I researched the workout programs my neighbors were using. I discovered that they were health coaches who supported people using their programs with online accountability in the area of exercise and nutrition. I looked into the costs and discovered they were markedly less than I’d anticipated. I wondered and wavered some more.

THE CHALLENGE

On Super Bowl Sunday the men were outside in camp chairs watching a TV mounted in the bed of a truck while I found myself inside an RV surrounded by women munching on snacks and sipping wine. The topic of exercise came up. Many chimed in that this was an area they could use some accountability in. The idea of a plank challenge surfaced. Each woman would put in $25 and for one month we would practice our planks at home. We’d check in with each other and report our progress. At the end of the month, the woman with the best time overall and the woman who saw the greatest improvement would spilt the pot.

I was in.

Perhaps now would be a good time to mention that I’d never done a plank before. In fact, I had to google the term to be sure that what I thought I’d just agreed to was actually accurate. My starting time was piddly but I didn’t really care.

I was going to do this. Continue reading “i quit exercising for 20 years”

my eating disorder

I was fearful.

I was insecure.

I was chasing an ideal that was destructive.

This is the story of my eating disorder.

HELLO LIE

It started in my childhood with this simple lie: “Being pretty is important.” As I chased an unobtainable ideal, another seed was planted within my heart: “In order to be pretty, you must be skinny.”

It may sound trivial or trite but this singular idea dominated my thinking, decisions and focus for the better portion of my school age years.

This twisted truth first germinated in my heart during grade school. While I was learning how to make friendship bracelets and play dodgeball, I was simultaneously watching my mom fight an ever-shifting battle with food. Seeing her ongoing struggle with weight impacted me at a root level and I proactively determined that her reality would not become my future.

my eating disorder Continue reading “my eating disorder”

i am an attempted murderer

When I was 6 years old I was so jealous of another girl’s beauty that first I cut off her hair and then I tried to kill her.

Yes, you read that right.

No, it is not an exaggeration.

Friends, this is why I was a little scared terrified to start sharing the lies I’ve believed but whatever, i’m doing this because of a request from God, not to win your approval so let’s proceed. (Quick disclaimer: if you are jumping in on my blog for the very first time, you might want to head on back to this post to quickly bring yourself up to speed.)

Photo: My younger brother and I

PLAYING SECOND FIDDLE

Her name was Charlie. Her parents were going through a bit of a rough spot so my parents offered to let her stay at our house for a bit. I didn’t know Charlie very well but it didn’t take me long to decide that I didn’t like her. I don’t recall Charlie directly doing anything to make me not like her. What she did do was redirect my parents attention off of me and on to her. I stood back and saw my mom and dad fussing over her, attending to her needs, talking about how cute she was and all kinds of revolting things. I didn’t really get it because Charlie had just barely arrived and I’d be there like, forever, so what in the world would make my parents suddenly change sides like that?

Clearly, my perspective as an adult shines a laser beam of clarity on the situation. In an effort to make Charlie feel comfortable in what must have been a potentially sad or scary situation, my parents went above and beyond to shower her with welcome. My 6 year old self did not understand this. What I did know was that suddenly I was playing second fiddle to the new North Star. In my feeble attempt to rationalize their behavior I scrutinized the situation. What I saw was illuminating. Charlie was in fact very pretty and she possessed the most remarkable blond, curly hair that I’d ever seen. As I reflected on my own appearance, it was painfully clear that my straight brown hair could never compare. The lie stealthily slipped in: the pretty girls get all the attention.

Continue reading “i am an attempted murderer”

a quick commercial break: our 50th state video

I know I promised you the next story in the “lies I’ve believed” saga today. The post is ready to go but I’m waiting for my younger brother to send me a few photos that I want to include from my childhood because mine are, not surprisingly, in storage.. Those photos should be in my possession soon (hopefully tomorrow) and then I’ll close my eyes and push publish (I’m super nervous about sharing this one y’all).

In the meantime, please enjoy the most recent YouTube video that Trent has put together of our crossing into our 50th state: Alaska! It’s a fun one, enjoy!

Did I ever share this one? Not sure so I’ll throw it in here too!

Ok working backward in time, here is one more video that I don’t think I’ve shared either ;). That’s the last one. I’ll be back soon with the follow up post!

i blame Rachel Hollis

Can we agree that lying is wrong? Yes?

What if the person we are lying to is ourself; still wrong? Yes.

I recently finished listening to the book, Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are So You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be by Rachel Hollis. Man, I like her courage. She digs deep and openly shares the lies that have shaped her life. I listen while she talks about her teenage bother’s suicide, her difficult experience as a foster parent and the lack of sex drive she’s had as a wife and I think, “That’s brave. Whoah, she’s taking about that? She did not just put that down on the table for us to see! Wow, girl, I’ve got to give you props for that brave honesty.

I blame Rachel Hollis

MY DIRTY LAUNDRY

Meanwhile, I’m doing my own personal spring cleaning. Remember that little game of hide and seek that I recently told you about? I figure if the game works for fears, maybe I should apply it to lies as well because they are pretty much best buds. So I’m over here searching for lies that have shaped my life and they begin raining down on me like the crayons, Cheerios and old french fries do when I absentmindedly remove my son’s car seat from the van.

Oh gosh, I guess I’ve got them too,” I’m thinking. “Shoot, that’s actually quite a few! Well good on Rachel for sharing. I’m being encouraged and challenged and all that good stuff.”

But then a small voice inside my head, which I believe to be God, asks if I’m willing to share my own dirty laundry with you.

Nope, not really.

And then I feel His gentle nudge and I instinctively move my shoulder out of His way and repeat,

No, really, it’s not necessary!”

It’s true you know.

It’s not necessary that I share my lies with you. Continue reading “i blame Rachel Hollis”