My story begins four years ago while I was attending a conference in San Diego. I was sitting in a breakout session, and despite the fact that there were over 5,000 attendees in all, I was feeling incredibly lonely and isolated. What’s more, my 60th birthday was four months away and its approach was horrifying. Was it possible that I was about to become old? And, if that was true, did that mean that I had already experienced the best of what my life was going to be? I can’t put into words how disappointed I felt. “I should have done better!” were the words that kept crossing my mind. Sitting in that impersonal, windowless room, I felt the most stuck that I had ever felt. I found myself praying for guidance, something I had never done before.
Desperation can be highly motivating. So with two images in my mind, a giant “60” neon sign and an hour glass, I started to take action. I began seeing a therapist, joined a gym, began working with a personal trainer, and started losing weight by making small changes. I started looking and feeling better. Then I pushed myself to get out of my comfort zone more often and to make more of an effort to connect with people. I started feeling even better. Then my dad had a stroke and passed away. A few days later, I found myself sitting on his bed packing up his belongings. I was flooded with emotions as I did this but all of a suddenly I knew with certainty that it was time to give notice at my job of 17 years. Life was short and it was time to leap into my new life even if I had no idea what that new life would look like.
So, I leaped. Boy, was I in free-fall for a long time! I took long walks. I started this blog. Slowly things came into focus. I went back to school to become a health coach. It felt right to integrate my personal and professional lives; to help others on their wellness journeys while I continued on mine. I exchanged financial security for a life of authenticity. I finally felt alive and awake. Or, so I thought.
Then I began gaining weight back and panicked. At the same time, a new idea was coming into focus. While I was working on my health coach certificate, I learned that the opposite of disease was not the absence of disease. The opposite of disease was optimal health – to thrive. I no longer wanted to be motivated by desperation which was what I felt when I noticed the pounds creeping back on; instead, I wanted to be motivated by my biggest life possible which included being as healthy as I can possibly be. And I would need help to accomplish this.
So, I found a wellness coach of my own and a program with the mission of helping people become as healthy as possible, starting with quick weight loss but then building on that success to address all the other aspects of wellness so that each of us can, in fact, thrive. Nine weeks later, and I am amazed at how far I’ve come. I’ve lost 17 pounds and am almost at goal weight. But achieving this is way bigger than a number on the scale. Accomplishing this has transformed my perception of what is possible and what I am capable of accomplishing.
I used to wonder what I would think about once I no longer worried about my weight. For so many years, this area of my life took such a disproportionate amount of my time and cost me so much emotionally. I now know the answer to this question. Once you no longer worry about weight, you can think about anything you want! You can take your new-found self-confidence and use it to shatter your previous perception of what is possible with your life.
Now, when people ask my age, I sometimes have to pause for a moment to think! Because I no longer feel like I’m any particular age…what I feel is alive and awake.