Wednesday, February 13, 2013

What's your WHY?

a funny post title but it means SO much more to me.  
WHY do I exercise?
WHY do I strive to eat healthy every day?
WHY do I push myself to do things beyond my comfort zone?
WHY did I study health and exercise physiology in college?
WHY do I want to help all of my family and friends exercise and stay fit?
WHY did I have such a strong motivator going into teaching health and physical education?
WHY do I have such a passion for wanting to help others, especially children on their journey to health and fitness?
WHY does my heart ache for children struggling with obesity, yet unsure how to help themselves?
WHY do I get so upset when I hear of children sitting all day, watching TV and playing video games and rarely stepping foot outdoors and MOVING?

Well, for me the answer is simple.  
I lived it. I lived the unhealthy cycle of eating too much, the guilt, eating more, more guilt and then going to bed feeling worthless because I ate three helpings of dinner on top of snack after snack after school.  I literally cry when I watch the Biggest Loser contestants each week confessing that they would eat the fast food quick, so nobody would know.  OMG, that was me too.  
It is also because I know the statistics for diabetes, obesity, heart disease and it scares me.  I watched my grandmother suffer from heart disease-congestive heart failure which also took the lives of several of her brothers and sisters.  I watched my grandfather take his last breath after suffering from lung disease.  I studied to effects of sugary drinks, deep fried donuts and various other heart-attack-waiting-to-happen foods that our world is addicted to these days.  I saw first-hard what these foods and inactive lifestyles can and will eventually do to us.  
Teaching PE, I listened to the children complaining of being tired and worn out after only running one lap around the gym.  I heard them talking about their fast food filled weekends.  I watched the out of shape children unable to finish a single push up or sit up.  That is something that stood out in my mind...it made me want to help each child and their family BE HEALTHY.  LIVE HEALTHY.

And I always go back to one, painful moment in my life that ended up being a positive, turning point in the end...
It was Mother's Day and we were all at the local hotel buffet, very formal and we were having brunch.  My family was there together, well not my dad because he rarely came around at that time.  We were having a good time and my younger cousin was eating McDonalds. Yes, she was a very picky eater and at that time, she would not eat foods from the hotel brunch so my Aunt picked up her food before we arrived.  I was minding my own business and my grandpa looked up like he had something to say.  He was strong-willed and when he spoke, we all stopped and listened.  Keep in mind, at this time I was very heavy probably the heaviest I had ever been.  I was most likely stuffing my face, but can't remember those details.  He put down his fork and looked at my young cousin who was eating her french fries and said, " You better quit eating like that or you'll end up like HER"...and you can probably guess who he pointed to?  

Well just writing that and I have tears pouring down my face.  That HURT.  It hurt bad.  I couldn't contain the tears, so I jumped up and ran to the restroom as fast as I could.  I was horrified and embarrassed.  I mean, it was the obvious and the truth but did it have to be said at Mother's Day brunch in front of my entire family.  Who, yes all knew I was struggling with weight, didn't exercise and ate horribly but still...
This experience is why I always tell you to never speak to your family and friends about their weight or inactivity.  You do not know the hurt they may feel after words like that.  As an overweight teen, I was always paranoid that someone would single me out because of my size.  I was always taller, bigger, louder than my friends and family so I stuck out already...then you add the chubby face and body and you've got a target on your back...or so you think.  I was always the funny girl, so I'd make sure and crack a joke as soon as I walked into a room so people would laugh at my personality rather than my appearance.  
I remember my Mom jumping up from the table and running after me.  She shouted something to my grandpa but I don't quite remember what.  I know she was furious and she held me in that hotel bathroom while I cried.  And so there was more emotions that I'd go home and eat through...and through until it no longer hurt so badly.

Obviously my grandpa loved me and I know that now.  He probably didn't choose the best way to bring my weight and health issues to the attention of the family, right then and there.  But I knew he meant well.  Good news is that before he passed away in his bedroom, I was sitting right next to him.  Holding his hand.  I had lost 80lbs and changed my major to health and exercise physiology by that time, was working at the gym and was HEALTHY.  He told me how proud he was of me and my weight loss.  He said he told his brother in New Orleans that I looked amazing.  Ah, it felt so good.  
Please understand that you do not lose weight, get healthy or regularly exercise for anyone except YOURSELF.  You need nobody's approval to show or tell you that you're good enough or worth enough, but it did feel good knowing I was healthy for ME and my grandfather noticed.  It feels good when people see your changes and can see that eating healthy and exercise does pay off in a very big way!  My blood pressure was very high in my former life :) and it's now perfect!  My resting heart rate is excellent and I feel as healthy as a horse!  It pays off BIG TIME. 

And with all that hurt from those moments that stand out in my past, I don't regret any of if.  
It is my WHY.  
It is what makes me who I am today.  I want to help others do the same.
It is why I write this blog, talk about all the workouts and healthy foods that I am eating, to anyone that'll listen!  I LOVE IT!  I live this life with pride and compassion!  I am always educating my children when it comes to the foods we eat, the ACTIVE things that we do to take care of our heart.  
It's all my WHY.
What's yours?  


And randomly, some foods we're eating and loving...
1/2 baked sweet potato topped with lentils from TJ's!  Yum! and roasted Brussels topped with pepper, red wine vinegar and lemon juice!  Double YUM!

EGGS!   Who doesn't love eggs?!  I had frozen grapes, 2 eggs and a 1/2 whole wheat sandwich thin for meal #3 following my green smoothie and TJ O's with almond milk
* Been using coconut milk in my green smoothies, makes them even creamier!  Give it a try!


and one more WHY;
FOR MY HUSBAND AND MY BOYS :)
They are my life, my happiness and the reason I wake up with a smile on my face each and every day!

3 comments:

misszippy said...

Wow--what a story and what a game changer for you. I'm sure that HAD to have been a tough moment, but I'm so glad it turned things around for you. And look at you now! Fantastic.

fancy nancy said...

Oh Marissa what a story!!! I can't even imagine how you were feeling! Kudos to you though for turning that pain around and making yourself who you are today...an inspiration to anyone who knows you!!!

Hollie said...

Hugs! Thank you for sharing that story and what a way to turn things around and be such an inspiration to all of us now!

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