“You don’t have to see the whole staircase. Just take the first step.”
-Martin Luther King Jr.
The first step of any journey is always the most challenging, especially when you are unsure of precisely where you are headed. This how my journey toward health and fitness began.
For roughly my first ten years in the workforce, I worked in the food industry as a waitress and as a bartender, typically holding multiple positions at any given time . . . meaning most of my days were spent on my feet, on the move. As a result, exercise was never something I had to fit into my routine, and I ate restaurant foods for two or three meals per day. I never considered myself fully healthy and I was certainly not in shape, but I was comfortable with my appearance.
The Weight Gain Begins
After my first year working exclusively in an office setting, sitting at a desk 40 hours per week and making no changes to my nutritional or exercise habits, I gained 30 pounds.
I knew that the way I was living my life was not in the best interest of my health, and was the reason for my dissatisfaction with my appearance. I knew that I needed to make some changes, and assumed that those changes should be big. It seemed overwhelming and I had no idea where to begin.
The Book that Changed My Direction
Then, I re-read one of my favorite books, The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olson. In his book, Jeff explains how “Every decision you make, no matter how small, is a step towards success or a step towards failure.”
Mr. Olson explains that these decisions are typically easy to do (“simple disciplines made consistently over time”), but equally easy not to do (“simple errors in judgement made over time”). If we focus daily on these simple disciplines, they will eventually become habits. Then of course, if we continue to follow through with these habits, we will begin to see positive results.
Immediately, I made the decision to stop allowing the Slight Edge to work against me. I still couldn’t see the whole staircase, but I knew what my first step would be. I needed to begin proactively moving my body every day and feeding myself quality foods with nutritional value.
Beginning to Exercise
Months ago, I had purchased a Fitbit with great intentions, but had stopped utilizing it fairly quickly. So, Step One was to charge up the Fitbit, and keep it charged.
From that day forward, I would do whatever it took to reach 10,000 steps per day. Typically, this would require walking for 45 minutes to an hour after work each evening. It wasn’t always easy, especially on the rainy days, but I was committed.
Another Book Takes it to the Next Level
Shortly after beginning this journey, I read “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod. This is a book which took all I had discovered in “The Slight Edge” to the next level.
Hal describes his own journey of self-improvement and his attempts to implement all that he needed to do each day during a specific time of day. For him, waking up an hour earlier every day was key. During this hour, he works on his life SAVERS: Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, and Scribing (journaling).
At this point, I had already been attempting to fit several of these items into my day-to-day routine, so I decided to try out the Miracle Morning. Game. Changer!
I was beginning each day with inspiration, peace and tranquility, plus I was achieving my exercise for the day before I ever even went to work. So suddenly, I had my evenings free again! I felt so much more organized and completely prepared to accomplish my goals.
Best Year Ever
I began listening to Hal Elrod’s weekly podcast in the mornings while I put on my makeup and got ready for work and started hearing about his upcoming event, the Best Year Ever Blueprint. I had to go. So, I ordered my ticket, booked a flight and a hotel room and I was ready. I had no idea what to expect, but something told me it would be worth it.
At the event, I was surrounded by wonderful people who were just as inspired as I had become. We worked together all weekend to literally create a blueprint for our upcoming “Best Year Ever” in 2016.
There were many wonderful moments throughout the course of the weekend. The one that stands out the most to me is when Hal’s friend and event co-host, Jon Berghoff told us all to go do 2 things in the next 15 minutes that would help us to achieve our biggest goals. I went back to my hotel room and pinned some healthy recipes to try out the next week on my weight loss Pinterest board.
Then, I picked up the phone and made a call that I had been putting off for months.
I knew that to truly reach my fitness goals, I needed to work with a personal trainer. Several trusted friends and family members had recommended that I call a local personal trainer, Steve.
I had his phone number saved to my phone’s contact list already, but I had yet to call him. This was Saturday, and I was worried he would be less than thrilled to be bothered. I also knew, if I didn’t call right that second I never would.
Steve didn’t answer that call, but he did call back within minutes and said he was available right when I got off work on Monday . . . two days later!
My journey had taken a huge leap forward in a matter of 15 minutes.
When I first met with Steve, he was impressed to learn that I had lost 20 pounds on my own over the past three months, and excited to teach me about nutrition, fitness and how they work together to help us achieve a desired body fat percentage.
The adventure has continued from there, and keeps getting better and better each day.