I am pretty sure this what I look like now. Weird.

I ended my blog series about my experiences working out with Jess Hogue, owner and P.T.  at Shape Plus Personal Training. But, I didn’t end my journey. And, this blog is part of that journey–the amount of support and encouragement that I’ve personally received is completely amazing, but even more amazing is what so many of you have done with your lives to get happy, too. I wanted to share some updates with you and I expect updates in return.

After hitting the 30 pound weight loss mark (I’m at 31 total), I realized I was stunned, for lack of a better word. I don’t feel any differently when I put my seat belt on or sit on the couch. I don’t feel any differently when I zip up a pair of pants, internally. I have so much more clarity and efficiency with my work, I’m so much happier and have more energy–all of that good stuff. But, I feel the same inside. I look in the mirror and study what I see, but it only really resonates when someone takes a photo of me–something that I’ve been mostly avoiding or uninterested in. I haven’t caught up yet. I don’t really get it yet.

The physical changes are the easiest part–and they ain’t easy, neither!–but the stuff inside, repairing that…it’s not so easy. Here’s what I mean: I have lost enough weight, am close to my goal and am fully committed to staying in motion all the time, that I don’t have to think about those parts quite as much (I do still think about them a lot, but it’s not troublesome anymore). I know I’m going to kill it at the gym and on the treadmill. And, reaching my goal is going to happen–I don’t have to question that anymore. What I’m struggling with (and in a very positive way) is all the stuff inside. I have to report I’m experiencing some serious growing pains.

Basically, when I look back at how I was before and how I am now, I’m beyond ecstatic. I’ve become stronger, powerful even. But with great power comes great responsibility (that’s what Spiderman said, right?). I’m not a vigilante or anything, so my responsibility is only to myself, and it’s all about learning and growing. Denial has no place in my world at this point. With this clear headspace, I’ve realized that I have to ford a river of emotional issues if I expect my physical changes to stick. And, these “issues” are not special or unique to me. I don’t have some trauma to recover from (thankfully)–I suspect that many people who flip the switch experience similar feelings. I’m sick of it as much as I’m stuck in the middle of it as much as I’m so happy to be here. Does that make any sense at all?

It’s peaks and valleys. Highs and lows. What I have to remember, and what so many people lose sight of, is that this is life. Doing anything worthwhile will require a certain amount of discomfort but will inevitably bring with it the greatest rewards. It’s not a math equation. I can’t sit down and try to “solve” it. I just have to process, and it may take me a helluva lot longer than other people, or maybe not. I also have to remember it’s not a race (even though I want everything to be a race). Willing this process to move quickly won’t actually work. Sometimes it’s a fight, sometimes it’s exhilarating and other times, it’s really confusing. And that, my friends,  is life, right? I’m doing my best to put this all into perspective–it’s huge, it’s important, it’s a great achievement, but it is just my life, too.

The best part is, I never thought I would be a size six again (check!), I never thought I would wear a shirt I purchased when I was in 5th grade again (check!), I never thought I would look forward to bathing suit shopping (not a check yet, but I believe that it is an experience I will have very soon)… So, any doubt I have about conquering these internal hurdles is immediately overwritten by the fact that I have already achieved so many things that I once thought were impossible. I’m prepared for this fight and there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if I can’t see it yet.

Jess has always given me a tremendous amount of support and wise words to make this process easier. Here’s what he told me about what I’m experiencing:

“Laura, welcome to tomorrow! So many times I have said, ‘Tomorrow comes 30 pounds later.’ Meaning that, by the time a person actually starts doing something about it, they have gained 30 more pounds. In your case, it is exactly the opposite. You chose today to make that start and that was on January 1 of this year. Now, your tomorrow is 30 pounds–or actually 31 pounds–lighter. Simply because you chose today and you continue to choose today, instead of tomorrow.”

I have seen Laura’s dilemma so many times, I can’t even count. The image in her mind doesn’t match what she sees in pictures or in the mirror. Have you ever looked in the mirror and wondered, “What happened? How did I get like this?” In Laura’s case, it took her adolescence and all of her adult years to create the image she has in her mind to match what she saw in the mirror at 181 pounds. She looks in the mirror now and and is planning to see the girl from the past, but after only about 14 weeks, her whole image on the outside has changed and this sets off mixed feelings. Her new reflection in the mirror is from her new way of thinking. Her new way of thinking includes action, positivity, commitment, focus and belief in herself. Last, but not least, she will experience confidence like she has never known it. Then, her inside will match her new skin.

All the things she wanted to believe about herself before are coming true, and, so, she is proving herself right and that can be scary. Actually realizing your true potential can be scary, because, along with the new thinking, there is still some old thinking that is trying to bring her back down. Through her consistency, willingness to do anything, an ample amount of gratitude, focus and, most importantly, action, she will become the person that she is truly supposed to be physically, and emotionally to support it.

She is becoming who she always wanted to be, and that is an amazing thing to be able to witness and be a part of!

To learn more about where I’m working out, click here. More updates to come…