Now that the Winter Body Challenge 2019 has come to a close, I have found myself reflecting back on my journey.
I first joined FA in 2017 for the Winter Challenge. At that point in my life I was stressed out and at my heaviest weight. I was overwhelmed and had been dealing with relationship issues and carrying all the financial burdens. I work as a school nurse full time and as a per-diem in the recovery room at the hospital. I would just keep working more – go from one job to the next because I was going to fix it all because I had to. I spent my days worrying about everything, feeling responsible to fix it all. At that time my mom began having health issues and my younger sister had just died from brain cancer at age 47.
I was the ultimate care giver caring for everyone but myself. I was reluctant to pay money to join the challenge because I had done every diet on the planet and intellectually know what I am supposed to do. After all I am a nurse, I just need to do it, I would tell myself. Thankfully I came to my senses and joined. At first I was a little uncomfortable sharing and interacting on Facebook with my team members. I would faithfully read every post but was not as engaged as I could have been. I was pleasantly surprised at how the comments of total strangers would keep me motivated and actually made me feel good about my efforts for once. I have a competitive nature so it made me try harder. I was able to actually win that challenge and vowed that I never wanted to go back to that weight ever again.
I was so grateful to FA for setting me back on the fitness path.
Fast forward two years. Although I continued to faithfully work out at a high level I managed to regain the weight I had lost in the 2017 challenge.
My life still had my usual challenges of financial and relationship worry. Clearly, I do not handle my stress well. I was upset for allowing myself to gain it all back. I swore I would not let that happen. When one’s wardrobe consists of scrubs and workout clothes that stretch it is hard to gauge the exact moment I reached that dreaded weight since I avoided the scale. I knew I had to do something. I wanted to rejoin FA for the 2019 challenge, but tried to convince myself out of it. The voices in my head tried to discourage me from “committing” to the asylum again, after all I already had a copy of the diet. Would people know that I was a previous winner only to gain it all back? Why should I spend money when I already know what I should be doing?
Thankfully, after some convincing from my friend Robynn Vanbuskirk I chose to do it again. She suggested I request to be a part of Team McMahon and we could do it together. I decided I would not share with my new team members that I had won a previous challenge. Instead of being proud of that I was worried that people would judge me. I thought to myself, what if I wasn’t successful this time? I would feel worthless and they would all know. I was blessed to be a part of the McManiacs with Kim at the helm guiding and encouraging us every step of the way. My team was nothing short of amazing and I mean that in all sincerity. We all supported each other in this journey. It made me realize that everyone deals with stuff in their lives. Although I was able to lose almost 35 pounds with this challenge I was not the “winner” this time!!! However, I feel I gained more valuable incite into my struggles with weight and self- doubt.
What Bonnie has created here at the Fitness Asylum is nothing short of amazing. I would dare say everyone that joins a body challenge has had experience in some sort of diet /fitness regime. So what is the magic here? Why are there testimonial after testimonial of people, of all fitness levels and health conditions whose lives were changed because of FA? It is not because of some secret diet or magic supplement that just melts our fat away. It is not the Kool – Aid. This issue of weight loss is so much more than just mastering a diet. We all need to have someone in our corner who is rooting for your success. Not everyone has that in their life. So much of a weight loss challenge is the mental aspect. Bonnie has created a genuine culture where it is ok to be human, admit our flaws, struggles and imperfections. The team dynamic is encouraging and supportive.
The Fitness Asylum is an amazing community of people of all abilities who are seeking the best version of self. It now makes sense to me why people would join challenge after challenge. We all want each other to succeed. That measure of success is different for everybody and is not measured just by a number on a scale. “The number on the scale does not define me” – how often have I heard that mantra. Yet is hard to break away from bad habits of letting it determine whether I am successful based on pounds lost. A number should not determine my worth. It is a work in progress to change my thinking. FA has had a profound influence on my life. I don’t have to go this journey alone, I have the support of like- minded people who all have the same goals in mind. I am going to finish what I started, bring on the Spring Challenge. It doesn’t matter that I wasn’t the winner, I am already winning!!