Fat to Fit to First Level: On Courage

Doing the “hard stuff.”

Breakthroughs are so fun!  You work and work, day in and day out, and one day, “voila!” you reach a whole new level of success!

Note, however, that usually the “voila!” is preceded by “work and work, day in and day out.” During those “work” phases, it can seem like not much is being accomplished. It is during these times that one’s stamina, dedication, courage, and commitment can be tested to the limits.

I’ve tried to lose weight before many times using many different diets, methods, tricks, and tips. I know what happens when I get discouraged and give up. I regain whatever weight I’ve lost and then some. My self-esteem plummets even lower. It’s a downward spiral of despair.

But I have no idea what may happen if I stay courageous and keep going.

Recently I watched a brilliant and inspiring speech online. The speaker, Rick Rigsby, quotes Aristotle: “You are what you repeatedly do.” In my past attempts to lose weight, I’ve mentally beaten myself when I struggle with a plateau. Self-care was the furthest thing from my mind.

On my present journey towards fitness, self-care is a priority. Even when the scales don’t move much, if any. So, on a recent business trip to Chicago, I “gave myself permission” to opt out of staying at the modern hotel where most of my colleagues were staying. I booked a room at the vintage Palmer House.

A chandelier at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Those are REAL GARNETS! Photo by Esther Roberts

I enjoyed the elegance of a bygone era, and took the time to observe the craftsmanship found in even the tiniest details throughout the building. I was inspired to consider the time it surely took to construct a building such that the finished product is a work of art.

I deserve that same level of investment and commitment.

While in Chicago, I also went shopping. East Tennessee is a wonderful place to live, but we do not have any “big city” shopping here.  So I took a little “me” time and visited two of my favorite on-line sources for yoga and casual clothing, Title Nine and Athleta.

Feel free to laugh, but visiting these two stores in person made me feel cool and sophisticated, like my own private version of that scene in the movie Pretty Woman where Julia Roberts and a cadre of sales clerks create an entire wardrobe in one afternoon.

I tried on dozens of pieces, because, with over twenty pounds gone, I had no idea what size would fit. More often than not, I was happily surprised.

I got brave enough to even try on shorts! I have not worn shorts in years! I didn’t purchase any shorts (I don’t really have need of any), but I did take a selfie in the dressing room to share with y’all.

Trying on SHORTS at Athleta in Chicago. Photo by Esther Roberts

Like most horsewomen, my legs have taken a beating from being kicked and otherwise injured by various horses over the years. The point is not to show off my not-young legs; the point is my courage is returning to the point I am sharing a picture of me in shorts with the entire world. I’ve still got a long way to go, but progress is being made. For some women, showing off their legs to the world is a simple thing. For others, like me, exposing their legs to the world takes an incredible amount of courage. So, while it may not seem like a big deal to some, for me, this is a milestone moment.

Due to several developments currently “under construction” in my professional life, I needed a new headshot photograph taken, and my über-talented friend, Tess McHone of Everyday Beauty Photography worked her magic for me. The result shows where I am at present: not yet thin, but thinner than I have been in at least eight years, and much more confident and happy.

Lady lawyer. Photo by Tess McHone, Everyday Beauty Photography

Join me on this journey on Facebook: Fat to Fit at Horse Nation (page and group), and my blog www.appalachianchic.com.


Go riding.

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