I ask because I hope I'm not the only one who feels it's important to take stock of where you've been in life and where you're going, but also - where you are at this very moment. It makes me curious if others care about the meaning of their life, as much as I do.
After much deliberation I decided I would write about where I am at this very moment in my life. I felt it was time to stop and take stock, and for some reason, I want to share it with the world. Or whomever may read this out there in cyberspace...
I guess I'll start with a little back story and lead up to what I want to say: This started years ago, let's just say since I was a teenager I was insecure about who I was, I had no self-confidence and many people including some of my peers would tell me I was lazy, stupid, and a 'loser'. So I grew up believing I was too lazy, too stupid, not good enough, a 'loser'. I made some pretty poor choices that lead me down a very traumatic path all the way through my 20's.
No one knew how miserable or hurt I was because I put on a good, brave front. I hid my feelings and shame pretty well. No one cared enough to see past the fake smiles and sarcastic attitude. So I kept it to myself - the pain, the hurt, the humiliation, the belief that I was a failure of epic proportions. FOOD kept me company and always made me feel better.
Throughout all my inner turmoil, I had a baby at the age of 18, married a guy I didn't really love before I was even graduated from high school. Separated and headed for divorce barely a year later. Single motherhood and a job as a waitress led me to make other choices I ended up regretting. Then, I met my soul-mate, the man I know I was meant to meet and fall in love with. But before our happiness was found, we had some major issues to overcome first; a major one - his meth addiction. My dead marriage to a man who literally disappeared and couldn't be found for four years. During that time, I had another child, by the soul-mate man. Trying to build a life together while also dealing with lies, deceit and addiction. Call me a glutton for punishment I guess, but we were meant to go through all that together. I believe in that. I finally got my divorce and we moved on. 'Soul-mate' man, by the way his name is Jorie, and I got married and had one more child before we decided it was time for a clean slate. We packed up all our stuff and headed west to Oregon. I am a Michigander at heart, He's an Oregonian at heart. I was ready for a brand new start, so I cut ties with my family and we moved 3400 miles away, headed for a brand new life.
Life began to change and get better for us. He got clean and has been sober ever since. However; for me I was left a cynical, sarcastic, insecure, jealous, depressed and anxiety ridden person. Again, I hid it well. No one, not my new family, the friends I was making or even Jorie's friends from high school that he was able to hang out with again, knew what I was feeling inside or how I was using food to comfort myself. All they saw was Jorie's wife getting fat, then lose weight, then get fat again - I put on a great show for everyone. I had a really scary car accident with all 3 of my children in the vehicle with me. I drove a mini-van at the time, and it was my mistake of course, that sent us spinning and on our side. Thank God, all of us were ok physically. No serious injuries, both my van and the other car were totaled. I gave up driving after that. Too afraid I'd cause another accident. I totally blamed myself and knew it was because I was a loser like I'd been called growing up. So I made excuses not to drive. The fear was just too much!
All things considered, life was going so well for us with our new life that Jorie got a huge promotion at work that moved us all the way to Tampa, Florida. It was amazing. I fell in love with Florida, and at the same time that is where my life began to unravel, ironically. I couldn't hide it any more. The jealousy, the insecurity, the shame, the depression, the anxiety...it all started to come out. Over flow, I couldn't control it or hide it any longer. It was taking over my life. I became a hermit. I wouldn't leave the house alone. I couldn't even go sit in my back yard if the neighbors were outside because I didn't want them to see me or talk to me. I wouldn't walk 50 ft to my mailbox to get the mail.
My weight ballooned. I could see it in the mirror every time I'd look at myself. I began avoiding mirrors, windows ... anything with a reflection. I hate having my picture taken, but I'd put on a fake smile because living in Florida...we wanted pictures of family outings to the beach and things like that. I was so embarrassed to have to see those photos afterwards. I hated myself. I hated what I was doing to myself. But I had no idea how to stop it or where to go or who to talk to. I didn't trust any one or any thing, so I just kept eating and hiding.
I did try to step out of my comfort zone and I found a couple ladies in the area we lived in. We began walking. And that helped. I wouldn't walk by myself, but I found I could trust and relate well to these ladies, so I'd walk with them. And I could tell I was losing some weight. But as with many things in life, we ended up not being able to walk much due to schedules and kids, and the weight came right back! I was beginning to start the slow and painful way towards figuring out what I needed to do.
Then tragedy struck! The economy went bust, so did Jorie's job. We tightened our budget, he took odd jobs and even went and helped with hurricane clean up in Texas after hurricane Ike happened. He was gone for almost a month. I was home alone, with 3 kids - no vehicle (not that I would drive anyway) and I completely went loony! The anxiety and depression almost killed me at that point. Knowing we were going to lose our home, having to scrape every penny, nickle and dime we could to at least eat - I couldn't handle it. But I did what I needed to do and clawed to as much reality as I could. I had to hold it together for the kids. So we did what we could, sold off everything we could or gave away the rest. Kept only what was truly irreplaceable and we packed up and moved back west to Oregon. Our house ended up being sold -short sale. We didn't get foreclosed on, like so many others. We were thankful for that.
During all this, things were starting to change for me. I'd been looking around online for weightloss help. Without telling anyone what I was doing, I found this site called SparkPeople.com. I signed up for a free account. But it never went further - because of the move and all the upheaval surrounding the loss of Jorie's job.
When we got to our new destination, Jorie was unemployed for over a year. He found a few odd jobs, but nothing substantial that would pay for food and bills. I was battling my demons, and having people tell me I needed to find a job. I couldn't work! Not when I was too afraid of my own shadow...and I couldn't explain it to people. They wouldn't understand...how could they when I didn't understand!?! So I hid, I made excuses, I continued to eat. I still had it in the back of my head that website - SparkPeople, but I hadn't made the leap to do it yet.
Then on late summer afternoon, we were with some friends. At a grocery store, we happened to run into another set of friends in the parking lot. I hadn't seen these people since before we'd moved to Florida. The girl was so gorgeous and skinny. There I was a fat, frumpy, uncomfortable cow - pasting on a fake smile and faking excitement of seeing these friends again. When all I really wanted to do was sink into the pavement and die. Standing there hugging and talking to our friends, it clicked. Everything became crystal clear at that very second.
I NEEDED to change and ONLY I could do it! No one could do it for me. No one could fix it for me. If I wanted to change my life, it was up to me! My starting weight: 220 pounds
I went home that weekend, and I logged on to SparkPeople. I started from the top and figured out what I needed to do. My husband and children didn't believe me when I told them I was changing the way I ate, what I ate, how I ate and fixing my problems with depression & anxiety. They really didn't know what to do when the next thing I did was clean out all the cupboards, the refrigerator & freezer and tossed out all the nasty, crappy, processed foods. I made a list of all the healthy stuff I needed, made a menu plan and I went head first into my new life. I began exercising by walking on a treadmill we'd picked up for $50 and a total home gym we got from a friend. I bought some hand weights, and a few other in home fitness equipment, along with some dvd's I could use to workout with. Bought an iPod, put some good dance music on it. And I began my fitness journey.
I stuck to it too. I didn't let anything stand in my way. Once I began getting stronger, I started taking my walks outside. At first it was only up & down the driveway (almost a 1/4 mile), then I'd walk our road. Eventually I started jogging - tried the C25K program and even Jorie was doing that with me. I began shedding weight. I felt better, I was looking better. So I began looking for ways to fix my anxiety and depression. No health insurance and no money; I couldn't seek professional help, so if I was going to fix myself, I was going to need to find a way to do it free and myself.
My first step: I talked about it! I finally opened up to my husband about everything! His old drug abuse, my insecurities, my jealousy - everything! We began working out all that old stuff and I could finally see, that I was my own worst enemy. I took everything that had happened to me over the years and let it control me, when what I should have done was find a way to react to it better. I made the choice to let it fester and stew all those years. I made a choice to let the words of peers and family hurt me and make me feel unworthy. Instead, I should have ignored it and stayed positive. But I didn't know any of that back then. Learning it and applying it is what changed everything for me.
I began reaching out to more people who were on the same path as me. Trying to lose weight, learn how to eat right, exercise and get past mental blocks. I never realized until then that there were so many people just like me! People who needed love, support and understanding. Once I found that foundation, I became a whole new ME.
So I started stepping farther outside my comfort zone, looking for ways to make money. I realized I loved being a stay at home mom, but I also needed/wanted to help my husband make ends meet. So I began researching ways to do both: Stay home and still bring in money.
I developed my own brand. The Fit-Nut.
That's my logo. It came to me one day, I was thinking about fitness and nutrition. That's what I wanted to do. That's how I was going to be able to stay home and earn money too. Fitness (Fit) and Nutrition (Nut) The Fit-Nut - and what nut is healthy and nutritious - almonds. They are heart healthy. So it seemed fitting to use heart shaped almonds. I found an online store called cafepress.com where you can use any design and they'll put it on their t-shirts. You can have your own store and sell them. So I started my own store The Fit-Nut Store It was my start in developing myself and my brand.
Around the same time I was making new social media friends on Facebook. A lady named Carolyn Wilhelm sent me a message talking about Beachbody. I was leery at first. Figured it was some scam, so I held her off. I toyed with the idea, looked up her website. Talked to her quite a bit about it. Asked a lot of questions. I mean A LOT!
I wasn't have much luck with the t-shirts. So I was starting to get discouraged. The weight was still coming off and I was getting leaner, stronger, healthier. People were saying things to me, I'd never heard before. They were proud of me, They were amazed how good I was looking, telling me to stay strong and keep up the hard work. For the first time I felt like I had support and I was enjoying the freedom from the depression and the anxiety. Many things were still holding me back, but I was slowly learning to overcome my fears and learning how to fight back the depression. The better I ate, the more I exercised, the better I felt both physically and mentally. I'd lost 50 pounds.
The aches & pains were gone. And I was healing mentally from all the past hurt & mistakes. I got another message from Carolyn about Beachbody again. This time I took it a bit more seriously. I began researching the company. I began getting to know the people who are Beachbody coaches.
I knew I wasn't looking for a complete body transformation. I'd already had that, all on my own, with the help of SparkPeople. But I still wanted a way to bring in some money for my family and spread the word about nutrition and fitness. How important they are and I wanted a way to pay forward what I've learned. I also wanted to tell my story and show people that if I can do it, they can too!
After 6 months of debating and thinking, I finally dug up the courage and took a leap of faith.
That's my sponsor coach, Carolyn. She's been amazing! I'm glad she's got patience for me, because I know I've asked some really obnoxious questions and I made her wait for so long before I decided to sign up with her. But without her guidance, I never would have made the decision.
So - I am now a Beachbody Coach. I'm an Emerald coach in fact. I do not have a grand Beachbody transformation story. I drink Shakeology every day for proper and total nutrition. I use ChaLEAN Extreme fitness program and I will try all the other fitness programs too. They are helping me maintain a 45-50 pound weight loss. They are helping me tone up and get stronger. Right now that's all I'm looking for for myself. I want to maintain my healthy lifestyle, promote products that work in helping to lose weight and get fit. I want to help people by telling my story. I want to spread the word that obesity is killing them and I can help them. I am also earning money to help my family.
That is a list of my pay checks for the last 17 weeks. No, it's not a lot of money, but you know what?... It's paid for my son to play 2 sports at school. It's bought school shoes and supplies. It's helped out with groceries. So it may not look like a lot, but to me, it's a job. It's a pay check. It's helping us. I am working doing what I love and what I'm passionate about, and I'm having fun! Building new friendships and learning so much about who I am and what I am capable of. My self confidence has soared. I'm doing things I never thought I'd be able to do, never dreamed I'd want to do. Personal Development has become a top priority for me. Being able to grow and learn how to be a better person, wife, mother, friend, co-worker. That is so important to me and that's what this job teaches us. The training we receive from Beachbody is phenomenal! Top notch, class A+.
I know that in time as I continue to build my business, I will see those numbers climb higher and higher. I'm not looking for a 6 figure income. All I want is to have extra money for the things we've had to sacrifice over the years. Whatever I get above and beyond that - Awesome!
Well anyway - that is Why I chose Beachbody. This is my story. I am in no way trying to sway anyone one way or another about Beachbody. Those are decisions only you can make. I'm just saying that Beachbody is a wonderful, amazing company. With awesome people who love what they do and want to make a difference in other people's lives. I am just one in a whole, beautiful network. If you want to know more about it or how you can become a coach or simply start your own weightloss/fitness journey - I would be happy to talk to you about it. No strings. No conditions. I only want to help as many people as I can, who really WANT my help.
Amy Leever - The Fit-Nut Coach