March 30, 2013 by mybattlebuddyfitness
written by Melissa Eisner
As most of you are already aware, Elisabeth is in week 7 of a 12 week journey towards the Emerald Cup Fitness Competition. For those of us that are close to her, it makes perfect sense why she would undertake such a challenge, but for some of you readers out there, you must be thinking that this whole thing is crazy. I mean why would you cut out all of the food that tastes amazing (carbs, alcohol, sugar, fats) AND exercise for 3 hours a day? Why would you intentionally make yourself sleep deprived (a side effect of overtraining), irritable (you’d be a bit cranky too if you weren’t sleeping), and lacking in energy (you need carbs to run this fine machine we call our body)? As a lay person (i.e. not into fitness competitions, not a trainer), let me offer some thoughts on this subject that hopefully make this more meaningful to all of our readers.
Discipline: No matter where you are in your life journey, we all need discipline. Elisabeth has taken discipline to an extreme, but in the end, it is a discipline. The discipline to determine exactly what will and won’t go into her body from a food perspective. The discipline to get up every day to work out with her clients (remember she is a trainer in the real world), and then to go to the gym not once, but twice. The discipline to keep up with her class work (she’s studying to become a physical therapist too!). We all could take a lesson from this sort of discipline. Maybe you are in a place where you know you need to be going to the gym more often, but you just don’t. Or maybe you know you need to cut out the booze from your life for a couple of months, but just cannot get around to making the change. Discipline will get you there. As a symbolic gesture of solidarity with my friend, I too have given up some things in life so she feels less alone (namely alcohol and refined sugars). There are days when I think hey, have a glass of wine, she’ll never know. But discipline, knowing that every day I need to keep up with these two simple things keeps me from giving in.
Dedication: Never give up on reaching your goal, no matter how you feel. I cannot tell you how many conversations I have had with Elisabeth recently where she is so tired she cannot think straight, or where she is so hungry for carbs that she is ready to go out and eat whatever she can get her hands on. But she doesn’t. No matter what wild thought she may have about breaking her discipline, her dedication carries her through. Come hell or high water, she is going to stick with her plan because she is committed to her goal. It is that sort of commitment, to yourself, in order to stick with it when the times are tough. Recently I have been losing weight for my brother’s wedding. One week I posted a big fat ZERO weight loss, even though I did everything right. Did I want to say screw it, it didn’t work this week so I am going to give up? Sure, the thought crossed my mind. But dedication to my goal stopped me, and the following week I was down another 2 pounds.
Inspiration (part 1): Part of this journey is to inspire others, and inspire herself. There are lots of folks out there who read her story and find it makes them want to make changes in their lives towards getting healthy. They think if she can go from being so overweight to now getting ready for a fitness competition, they could also make the necessary changes to get fit. You don’t have to reach so far in order to inspire others. I’ll never be in a fitness competition, but my journey towards leading a healthier lifestyle has inspired friends to make changes in their lives. And those friends who are now losing weight and looking healthier are inspiring their friends and family to make changes in their lives.
Inspiration (part 2): The process in and of itself of taking on this challenge is helping her to dream bigger than before. While she might not be dreaming about being a full time professional fitness competitor, she is dreaming about growing her own business (My Battle Buddy Fitness), and starting a non-profit to help young people in the battle against obesity. And these dreams now seem like something she can turn into realities. You can self-inspire when you take on challenges you never thought were possible. They can change how you view yourself in this world, and what you are capable of. 5 years ago I had never run a single race in my life, and now I have two triathlons and two half marathons under my belt. Something I never thought possible. So now I am thinking about a longer distance triathlon, or maybe a full marathon. I have inspired myself to dream bigger.
As a final thought, remember this: the journey doesn’t stop when you get fit. Your current goal may be to lose a certain amount of weight or to be able to work out a certain number of times per week. But once you get there, you’ll find that your goals change and you will start to chase something different. For Elisabeth, once she got to where she wanted to be from a weight and fitness perspective, she found she wanted to see how far she could push herself, what are the real limits of what she is capable of achieving. For you it may never be a fitness competition, but you’ll likely find you are always pushing the limits. And isn’t that what life is really all about? Testing the limits of how far you can go?
I find that her journey is pushing me along in my journey. I’m not built to ever compete in a fitness competition (genetically speaking, it would never happen), and that’s ok. But the lessons I have learned from what she is going apply directly to all aspects of my life. And they are making me a better person. And maybe if you applied some of these lessons to your life, they could help you as well.