“You’re such an inspiration to me. You’ve lost so much weight, and you’re actually keeping it off! How do you do it? I need your secret! I need your advice!”
It’s been over two years since my big “transformation,” and I still regularly hear comments and questions like these from people.
Honestly? It’s lovely. It doesn’t get old. A person never gets tired of pats on the back, or being praised for making dramatic lifestyle changes that were nothing short of a miracle to achieve. Losing weight and getting fit is a major human accomplishment. It was beyond difficult, and it seemingly took me a lifetime to do it, but I finally did.
And I’m still doing it.
I must constantly remind myself to not take my health for granted. It is work, every day, and I know it always will be.
But, when I really think about it, the easy part is over. Losing the weight was easy compared to the pressures and trials of keeping it off. I’ve learned that inspiration and pep talks from other people don’t work.
All we ever need to accomplish anything in life is to look within ourselves.
One of the main reasons I am able to continue “fighting” for my health is because I decided a while back that I would never strive to be an inspiration to anyone except myself.
The only person I need to inspire every damn day is me, myself and I.
Convincing myself to take action is difficult work, and while I revel in the rewards of weight loss and fitness, I don’t feel compelled to convince others or be any sort of role model. I did it, and it wasn’t easy, but I’m no expert.
Each person has a different journey. Every morning, we wake up and walk around in our own skin. Day in and day out, we live and breathe inside our own bodies, and we are the ones responsible for them.
What I know to be true is that maintaining motivation is arduous once a goal has been reached. While I can’t be your coach, I can talk about some of the things that help me continue to be an inspiration—to myself.
Goals Must Change.
When I met my weight loss goal, I felt wonderful—for a little while, anyway. Then I was left wondering, “Now what?” I realized my goals had to change in order for me to feel and fuel renewed motivation.
We can use the feeling and momentum we have after achieving a specific goal to work on something new. Because of my weight loss effort, I was exercising more. I decided to change my focus from exercising in order to promote weight loss to exercising so that I could increase my fitness level. I changed my goal from losing weight to “becoming” a runner. Becoming a runner gave me something different to work on.
Resist the Urge to Quit.
It’s easy to quit when no one cares about it but you. Running works as an example here as well. I run by myself, per my choice, so it’s a rather lonely endeavor. I am often struck by the fact that, if I wanted to, I could simply stop at any point.
I mean, who would care if I stopped and walked? Not one person in the world would care. It would be so easy to just stop, because running has never felt natural to me. Some days, it would be very easy to throw my hands up and say, “I just don’t care that much about this!” And that would be the truth—at least it would be my truth in the moment.
Getting to the place where we actually care (most of the time) takes a good long while. In my heart, I know I would care. I know it would bother me if I stopped along my route and just gave up. But that feeling of caring is one I worked hard to build; it wasn’t always there. I have enjoyed the benefit of encouragement from other people along the way, but I wasn’t coached into caring by anyone other than myself. All of us have the ability, have the strength within ourselves, to climb to that magical place where caring overrules quitting. But, make no mistake, it is indeed a climb.
Consistent action and a variety of activities help me maintain self-care. The meditative aspects of a regular yoga practice help me reflect and become stronger from the inside. When I take a yoga class, I allow something specific to fall from my being, and I make a promise to myself that I will not pick it up again. I visualize something negative I’m harboring, and I let it drop away. I let it disintegrate. Sometimes I picture tying it to a balloon and letting it float out of sight. It could be a specific insecurity, or perhaps a bit of jealousy. Sometimes I’m angry about something I cannot control. Other times it’s resentment.
When I allow a specific negativity to fall away, or float out of sight, a particular calmness ensues, which allows happier and more productive thoughts to flow inward. I remember to be grateful for what I have and who I am in my life during those meditative moments. I renew gratefulness for what I’ve finally learned to hone and take care of: my own health. I know that all I truly need to maintain inspiration and a happy heart is the gift of self-care. It’s the gift that gives back.
Dare to Have Bigger Dreams.
Setting and meeting new goals creates small building blocks inside the big picture of our lives. During moments of self-awareness and reflection, we need to remind ourselves that we already have all the tools we need to create a better life for ourselves. We have enough to work with. And we have been put here on this earth to take care of ourselves—and to respect the gift of our own lives. When we become an inspiration to ourselves by setting new goals and resisting the urge to quit, even when it feels difficult, we are not only able to follow our dreams, but we also inevitably dare to dream bigger.
When I’m feeling competitive, I force myself to remember that I’m here to impress myself only, and that takes the pressure off of maintaining my weight loss and fitness. It’s enough for me to just reflect upon that simple truth. It helps me set new personal goals and continue to move forward mindfully, with an ever-changing purpose—for myself and for no one else.
I know this much is true: I only ever need to respect myself enough to do the work required for better health and happiness. If I strive to be an inspiration to myself alone, I will become, in due time, a strong woman that I admire.
How will you inspire yourself today?
Author: Kimberly Valzania
Editor: Toby Israel