The Struggle to Stay Fit

This week I have to share part of the homily my pastor spoke about just this past weekend as the INTRO to this post. I’m literally copying and pasting here as well as filling in the gaps so I sure hope this doesn’t constitute as plagiarism. 😉
From Struggle to Flight:
 
So there’s this family who have two cocoons which were about to hatch. They watched as the first one began to open and the butterfly inside squeezed very slowly and painfully through a tiny hole that it chewed at the end of the cocoon.
It was a struggle to emerge.
 
After lying exhausted for about 10 minutes, following the struggle and agony, the butterfly flew out the open window on its beautiful new wings.
Since it was so painful to see the butterfly struggle, the family decided to help the second butterfly so that it wouldn’t have to go through such an ordeal.
 
As the second one began to emerge, they carefully sliced open the cocoon with a razor blade, doing the equivalent of a C-section.  The second butterfly, however, never sprouted wings and in 10 minutes, instead of flying away, it quietly died.  The family asked a biologist friend to explain what happened and this is what he told them:
 
The difficult struggle to emerge from the small hole actually pushes liquids from deep inside the butterfly’s body cavity into tiny capillaries in the wings where they hardened to complete the healthy and beautiful adult butterfly. By preventing the struggle, they inadvertently harmed the butterfly.

 

Moral of the story? Without the struggle, there are no wings to fly.

As my pastor told this story in church this weekend, and went on to discuss why we must go through painful ordeals, I was thinking very hard about what to blog about this week. I immediately thought of the struggle of hunger while dieting and of course, the constant battle of dieting in general and all the messy stuff that it entails. Granted, there are worse problems and things we suffer through than just dieting, but that’s where my mind went first.

I’m currently struggling myself to diet but I’m maintaining my weight, which is a success in my book.

A few of my clients are having quite the difficult time lately and it’s my gut reaction to want to help them of course. When I can’t or when the right words of advice don’t come automatically, I feel like I’ve failed them. I start asking Why? Why can’t I just tell them one thing that they can use and be done with it? Why are they struggling so much and why doesn’t my advice do any good? What’s going on in their head that I can just turn off or turn on to make them follow their plan and get their act together??

And then I laugh and think, I might as well ask myself these same questions! Duh!

I don’t have an answer, really.  More of a theory I guess.

I remember that it’s a struggle for everyone. For every bodybuilding pro or fitness model out there who tweets and puts on Facebook how great they are doing, how many inches they are down, how they just had the best workout ever and here are the sweat stains to prove it…there are many more who AREN’T doing all that great, who DO struggle with their diet, and they actually DO share that information. And it’s awesome when they do because you realize it’s a constant battle for everyone.  Some have overcome after YEARS of binge eating or eating disorders or yo-yo dieting. Others STILL struggle to even maintain their weight. And some haven’t quite gotten back from rebounding after losing a large amount of weight due to bad coaching or losing it too fast.

What would be great is if there were more pro’s out there willing to share the “not so happy” experiences. There are a few I would recommend the next time you find yourself wallowing in self pity thinking “No one knows what this is like.” Because let me tell ya, there are many.

  • The first that comes to mind is Brooke Erickson. Simply put, she’s incredibly honest. She shares a lot. But not OFTEN. In other words, when she does post something, it’s well- thought out, it’s usually pretty short and to the point, and it’s relevant. She is competitor but she isn’t currently competing. She’s a coach, she’s a mom, and she’s a hard worker. I love everything she has to say because it’s from the heart and there’s no sugar coating.
  • Another is Jennifer Jewell Fitness.  She’s a big believer in the IIFYM diet which is fine (not my cup of tea anymore but if it works for you, awesome). But I like that she discusses body image and metabolism and keeps it real. She also shares alot of her clients stories which are always good to read for motivation.
  • I wouldn’t be a very good blogger if I didn’t mention my “boss” Roxie Beckles. This woman is pretty amazing in that she shares EVERYTHING about her journey to the stage. She has had a rough season to say the least and recently put it all out there, admitting that she did the #1 thing we tell all our clients: Listen to your body.  She didn’t listen and it mentally and physically drained her. She’s gotten back on her feet and she is persevering to the Olympia Stage (the grandaddy of all competitions) in just a few weeks.  I cannot wait to see how she does!

Closing thoughts? We all screw up. We all cheat on our diet. We all have the same conversation with ourselves: “I’ll do better this week. I’ll start my diet Monday. I’ll just do some extra cardio tomorrow.”

You’re gonna have to struggle temporarily in order to be successful. I think the key is the take that struggle, take those difficult moments, and learn from it. Suffer now in order to be great later. And later may be weeks, months or years from now, unfortunately.

But, what a moment you’ll have when you get to look back and see where you were…and what it took to get there.

What a story that will be!

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