This month, Esther explores what accountability and the raw honest truth look like for her as she works toward her fitness goals.
Many weight-loss programs include “accountability” as one component. The idea is, if you state your goals to at least one other person, you’re more likely to achieve that goal. Some fitness models tout a proportional element to accountability: tell one person, you’ve got some, albeit minimal, accountability. Tell a bunch of people, you increase your accountability. Tell all of HorseNation, and oh yeah baby, you’ve got accountability in spades.
The bad thing about accountability is, if anything goes off the rails, everyone knows it. As regular readers of this column know, my weight loss journey took an unexpected nosedive 20 months ago from a riding wreck. I have tried to remain positive. I have tried to remain focused. I have tried to get my scale to start heading in the right direction again on a consistent basis.
The great thing about accountability amongst horsefolk is we are an incredibly forgiving group — at least towards each other. We may forever damn ourselves for that missed lead change, the dropped pole, or the cow that zipped past us, but we’ll readily forgive everybody else. As a whole, horse people are supportive, understanding, inspiring and doggedly determined.
That determination is a hallmark trait; however, stubbornly refusing to reflect on one’s own shortcomings is unproductive at best, and a stupid waste of one’s life (I’m talkin’ to me here) at worst.
Raw honest? These past almost-two years have been a steady stream of denial for yours truly. And it’s time for me to get “raw honest” with myself.
Raw. Damn. Honest.
Cue inspiring music, and let’s get on with it . . .
I’ve privately harbored resentment towards the mother whose children were playing loudly (a.k.a. shrieking with delight) the day my Mustang, Kaliwohi, hit the panic button and bolted, causing the aforementioned wreck. Yet it was my responsibility — and mine alone — to educate anyone at the barn that day that I was riding a green horse, and a green wild horse at that, and to ask for their help in maintaining a reasonably quiet environment. This mother is a good friend. She could never have foreseen what happened that day. Not. Her. Fault. Let it go, Esther, and stop stuffing down your resentment with food.
I’ve lamented being alone in this world. Wishing for some sweet someone who would care about me and share life with me. Visions of sunny skies and relaxing trail rides together dance through my head. The ghosts of past relationships and future grey hairs haunt me. “You’re too old now! Nobody will want you! All the good men are already taken!” Here’s the reality, Esther — on anyone’s deathbed, it’s just them and God. Solo. You just went to the head of the solo class early. It’s you and God. Build that relationship, Esther, and stop stuffing down your loneliness with food.
I’ve Marie-Kondo’d my house, my farm, my job, my schedule and my life until I’m “minimalism’d” out. Yes, the recent pandemic has made me understand the difference between “too little,” “too much” and “just enough” with respect to household staples. But the point is: I can throw out everything I own, but until I look myself in the mirror and sort out the clutter that is within, everything else is just housekeeping. Stop cluttering up your body with junk food to avoid sorting out your feelings. Figure out your headspace, Esther, and the battle is all but won.
So I did exactly that. I literally stood in front of a mirror and looked myself in the eye. For a long time.
Yes, I’m a kind person. A giving person. A creative person.
I can also be prideful, judgmental and willing to use people to get what I want.
The Truth does indeed hurt.
It turns out, however, that John was right: the Truth can also set you free. (John 8:32).
By being willing to face all my many negatives, I found the wherewithal (courage, perhaps?) to give myself both grace and a good kick in the glutes (figuratively speaking).
If I had a bff who had all the negatives that I saw staring back at me, what would I tell her?
“Yeah, gurrrl, you have made some major mistakes on this road called life. You’ve hurt innocent people. You’ve done stupid things — like let your health take a back seat to trying to achieve professional success. What good will it do you if you ‘make it to the top’ yet you can’t climb the stairs? And something else — you’ve overestimated your abilities to ride green horses and you’ve been too prideful to ask for help. Yes, ‘pride’ dresses itself in ‘I don’t wanna bother anyone,’ but it’s pride, nonetheless, girl.”
My imaginary bff would probably tell me to stfu right about now, but if she let me continue, I’d do for her what I’m finally figuring out how to do for myself.
“But ya know what, girlfriend? While you can’t change the past, the future is a blank page rolling right out in front of you. You get to draw the map any way you want your journey to go from here on out. No, you can’t go back, so stop looking behind you. And stop trying to hide your fear and be strong all the damn time. When you’re scared, say so. Out loud. Feel the fear. And then let it go. When you’re judgmental, look for the good in whatever you’re being judgy about. Those folks in your past that you’ve hurt? Learn your lessons and hold yourself to a higher standard next time.”
Regarding food? “You’re wearing every cookie and honeybun and all the junk you’ve self-medicated with over the past year-plus. So what are you gonna do about that? If you wanna clean up, tone up and fight for your health, I’m 100% in your corner. If you wanna buy new clothes the next size up and live happy, I’ll back you on that, too.”
How often do we get so focused on being everyone else’s best friend, we forget to ‘be there’ for our very own self?
I am blessed with fantastic friends and health gurus and all sorts of ‘tools’ for weight-loss and fitness. But the bottom line is, until I figure out why being thin is of paramount importance to me for me, the rest is just rhetoric.
Kaliwohi remains on hiatus. Our last ride, some months ago now, was perfect. Whether it was our final ride remains to be seen.
Caleb leaves the farm tomorrow to go to a highly-respected and trusted natural horseman.
I have restructured both my daily routine and my grocery list to accommodate more exercise and far better food. I have created regular space on my calendar for daily self-reflection. It’s like a daily review session with a subordinate employee (or a bff) — asking myself what goal did I accomplish, what went well, what needs more attention, etc.
Lastly, as all good athletes know, visualization is key to success. So here’s one aspect of my personal vision for me: