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While on a recent trip back to Colorado, I spent a bit of time digging through the family storage unit. After several years of unpredictable ping-ponging around, I can finally finish moving some treasured possessions out of storage and into my home. Every trip I take home, I spend a bit of time clearing out old clutter from the past.

This trip was about learning how to reintegrate that clutter into my life now. It’s an important lesson. The past is always with you. It just gets a bit further away in the rear view mirror.

Part of the past is my Body for Life transformation journey. I’ve been doing Body for Life since 2001. In 2006 it actually clicked in and the changes stuck. I haven’t looked back. As part of that not looking back, I realized that I generally don’t discuss my path to where I am now.  I’ve tended to focus on the importance of where I am now, and not really wanted to constantly look back. The thing is, when I do that I’m losing a valuable opportunity to help others. So I’ve been considering the best way to bring that story into the present. It needs to see the light of day, breathe, and hopefully help someone find their own way forward.

I’ve decided to go ahead and post some older entries from other blogs. I’m not going to edit them, heck I’ll even leave in the spelling errors. These posts reflect a time where I still didn’t believe I could write. They are a snapshot of a time and place. Like any photo, they should be seen as they were.

December 22, 2005

Howdy! I’ve been a BFL convert since 2001. In January of that year I saw a picture of me with my 1 month old godson. I had more double chins than he did. My brother had a copy of BFL sitting around. I took 4 weeks to “prep” myself- learning how to lift, cutting bad food out of my diet. In 16 weeks I lost 40 pounds.

The strength and clarity of vision I gained let me chase some big dreams, including moving back to Washington DC. Once I moved back here I made a tiny little boo-boo. I had no plan in place to mantain my progress. Whoops. You know, it’s darned hard to get a rocket at rest moving again. Smiley I’ve spent two years spinning my wheels. In March, I started and finished a challenge where I made modest and unsustained progress. By June I was feeling more alone and isolated than ever. I live by myself and it’s so hard to keep going some days. In September I was back at 178 pounds. I needed to change. I started a challenge, stalled a bit, then made friends with Gary Jacobs. He’s been my sparkplug the first 5 weeks of my challenge. I started my official challenge 2 for 2005 in October. On Halloween, I sprained my knee!

Knees are very, very important. I learned this the hard way. Smiley I regularly preach about the value of completing a challenge no matter what. And to be fair to myself, every single challenge I’ve started, I have completed. (With the exception of sending in challenge packets.) So I was faced with an interesting situation. I chose to continue with my challenge for 2 reasons. One, it would be hypocritical to stop when I CONSTANTLY preach keep moving. Two- had I stopped working out I was gonna look like the goodyear blimp by Christmas. Smiley And I was running out of pants that fit. So I continued the challenge. I finish on Saturday. It’s not a “money” transformation. My physique just looks less lumpy.

My legs are starting to show definition again, I see some nice upper body development. I now have several pairs of pants that only sort of fit. And they sort of don’t fit in a good way. Smiley I’ve also made some critical mental breakthroughs along the way.

I’m here because of my hero. Her name is Julie Whitt. Her picture sits on my wall, where I can see it when I do cardio. When I’ve been feeling sorry for myself, I would think of her and Cowboy Up. She walked me through finish up my essay for my March challenge. I’m ashamed to say it’s still sitting on my desk. I got scared and never sent it in.

I’m going to have that haunt me to my dying day. I made her a promise and I broke it. And worst of all, she knows now that I did. Now I know that Julie probably wouldn’t have judged me. That’s not how she ever came across. But I judge me. I’m always my own worst critic. I can’t make excuses to myself anymore. I can’t say, “I’ll make it up to her later.” There is no later. It’s over, done.

Time to face up my difficulty following through on things. I don’t put ends on what I do. I start, but never finish in the ways that matter. I have reasons. I’m dyslexic, organizing is incredibly challenging for me, I’m busy, I have poor short term memory…

Those reasons sound hollow next to the broken promises staring me in the face. Everyone else I’ve broken my word to, they are all still here. I can fix things. Not this one. It’s over, done. And NOTHING I do will ever change that. It’s my personal wake up call. I have a decision to make. I need to decide if I am going to be the champion in life that Julie saw when she talked to me.

This is a time of year of great personal signifigance for me. It’s my personal high point of the year, my most reflective time of year. I’m being given a message. It’s come in a form I wouldn’t ever wish on anyone. It’s a gift if I chose to accept it. I’m terrified. Accepting this gift means becoming the person so many see on the outside. It means letting go of the frightened child I don’t let the rest of the world see. It means stepping up, leading others, and leading myself to personal success and victory. It means a complete and total change of EVERYTHING I’ve ever thought about myself. It means becoming the hero I so desperatly want to be.

This is Julie’s legacy and gift to me. This upcoming challenge is my first tenative step in accepting it. It’s a leap of faith. Which is what BFL is really all about. Faith in the impossible becoming probable. Sometimes you just have to close your eyes, step, and trust that you are not going to fall.

…closes eyes…step…