Sunday, August 17, 2014

Preparing for a day-trip with the girls

Good Sunday morning! I hope that this morning finds you all in good spirits and feeling confident, motivated, and peaceful. As I shared a couple of days ago, I took a couple of little ‘day trips” this week. On Friday, I took off on an adventure with my friend, Marcia, and her two daughters. The intended destination was Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling. When I picked them up in the morning, I explained that we would eventually end up at the park, but part of the fun of a road trip is the journey to get there. I had no idea what I might come across along the way but was eager and excited to find out! 

As is typical for me, just about everything I do, see, and experience reminds me of my personal journey to wellness. It’s easy for me to make connections with things because I have an expectation that God will speak to me and show me things throughout the day so, therefore, I LOOK FOR THEM. You know, kind of like when you buy a new car and THEN all of a sudden you notice that particular style or color of car EVERYwhere?  Once you become aware of, and begin to expect…. signs of encouragement, the ways God is present in the world, and things to motivate you, you will SEE them everywhere and begin to believe that you are not alone on this journey. Before I began my trip, I asked God to open my eyes and ears that I may recognize His presence in all that I saw, heard, and experienced on my little adventure…..and He certainly answered my prayer. What a wonderful day it was!  So much of the day reminded me of my journey to a new life and I’m sure I will be “thinking and reflecting” all week. Stay tuned!

Just the process itself of taking a vacation, a road-trip, or traveling to a special event is so symbolic of our personal journey because many of the same principles are involved. Before hitting the freeway, I needed to make sure the car was road-worthy. I checked the tires and the oil; cleaned out the back-seat, and made sure I had a full tank of gas to avoid any unnecessary trouble or a break-down along the highway. I took a look at a map and checked out the park on the internet so that I had some idea of where I was going, what to expect, and what others thought about the destination. I talked to some friends about the place; in fact, it was at their suggestion that I ventured there. I also anticipated anything that might hinder my enjoyment and gathered up some items (mosquito spray, sunscreen, band aids, warm clothes, and a roll of toilet paper) so that I would be at least a little prepared for any unexpected annoyances. I made a plan to stay on track with my food choices by packing items that were “on-plan” so that I would have no excuse to eat junk. I knew where I wanted to end up….the park…but I had already determined that I was not on any given timetable and was going to enjoy whatever came up along the way, even though at one point it seemed like it was very far and I would never get there.  I didn’t know what I’d find at the park, but I had heard it was wonderful and worth the trip, and I believed what I had been told about it so I was motivated and determined to “see for myself” what it was like. And finally, I took about people that were fun; supportive, and as excited as me about the journey.  See any similarities to your own personal journey? I certainly did!

Before I even arrived at Hartwick Pines, my mind was working overboard thinking about the similarities.  Before we begin (or even during) a weight loss plan, join a gym or begin an exercise routine, or enter a substance abuse or treatment program, it is important that we consult our health-care provider (check out the car) or at least be conscious of our bodies so that we can avoid any unnecessary “break-downs” along the way. I’ve known more than one person who ended up with some serious medical issues because he/she started a crazy fad diet and/or did an intensive exercise plan and had a heart concern that needed to be addressed first. We may not prevent EVERY issue, but at least we might prevent some.  We need to anticipate unexpected things or people that might sabotage or discourage us along the way like those who are jealous and try to get us to “just try this…or take a bite of that…or you can have ONE treat once in a while” and be prepared so that they don’t hamper our progress. We will be sore when we first start exercising; we will experience things like dry mouth, constipation, hunger and temptation, but if we know that we might encounter those things and are prepared “just in case” we will be less likely to quit, give up, or become discouraged. Fortunately I didn’t need the “aspirin, band aids, sunscreen, or mosquito repellent” but I was prepared….just in case! Many things about our personal journey will be/are difficult but if have the tools to help make it more bearable (enjoy special treat like sugar-free jello or a dessert; get a new haircut; buy a new outfit; call a friend or look at your “before” pictures) you might find the strength to get through the rough times.

I started my weight loss journey on a whim, but shortly afterward, I bought a calorie counting book and began to read all sorts of things about healthy eating. This new way of living was ‘foreign to me’; I wasn’t used to eating nutritious food and I had never been an average size person before so I read magazines, listened to things online, and talked to others who were on a similar journey to wellness, or who had been successful. I didn’t know what to expect on this personal journey but I know that others had been there before and I wanted to have some idea of what it was like…what I might feel….what obstacles I might encounter along the way. When I looked at others “before-after” pictures I knew that I wanted to go there too. (Getting a map, talking to friends, checking out the park on the internet, reading the review, etc.) Once I decided that, “YES, I want to experience a NEW, HEALTHIER LIFE for myself (see the park) there was no turning back. Don’t you turn back, either: Wait to see what it’s like to feel free from whatever addiction or situation that is weighing heavy on your mind/body/spirit! You’ll be so glad you kept going!

Once I decided that I was definitely interested in changing my life, I surrounded myself with others who would support, encourage, motivate, and share my journey with me. My journey to wellness is personal and ultimately my enjoyment and success is up to me and my choices, but it is so important that I have like-minded, positive people (like this group) in my life to share it with me so that if/when I get tired or weary, I am motivated to keep going.  I certainly could have taken the “day-trip” by myself, but it was much more enjoyable to have friends with me to share and enjoy the beauty and adventure of the park, not to mention to say, “It’s only a little bit further and you can do it when I encountered a hill or the trail seemed long.”

Today I encourage you to make a plan to succeed, be prepared for anything that might threaten to throw you off your game, don’t worry about how far you have to go to get there but rather enjoy the process, and to surround yourself with others who will support and encourage you along  the way. Trust me…as I will share in future posts ….what you will find, experience, and see at the end of the journey (and along the way) will be beyond your expectations and will leave you breathless!  Don’t give up….it is SO WORTH IT!  Have fun….keep going….and never stop believing that YOU CAN….and YOU WILL…change your life.More to come in the coming days…….