I think everyone reaches a point in their life where they decide change is necessary and healthy. Our changes come from various places and mean something different to each of us. All we know is that we’re unfulfilled… and something has to change. Perhaps we are stuck in a dead end job and long for a more enriching career. Maybe we are living in an unhealthy relationship in which we find ourselves arguing more than loving. Some people want to finish college and some people want to buy a home… but for me, I wanted to lose weight.
In order to share my story I feel it’s necessary to go back to the beginning where it all started.
I grew up just north of San Diego, CA. I was a lanky child with long limbs and big feet. I was always taller than the other kids in my class, but I was used to it. As I got older, I filled out in “all the right places” and quickly blossomed into a typical blonde California girl who, by my standards, looked amazing in a string bikini. During my rebellious teenage years and early twenties, I ate my fair share (plus some) of authentic Mexican food, In-N-Out, Jack in the Box, and whatever else I could get my hands on. Candy was a really big factor in my life too. Eating whatever I wanted was my “normal”. It’s what my friends and I did when we were bored. We enjoyed our fair share of cigarettes and libations… and junk food.
Yes… I had very memorable teenage years, and at the age of 20, God brought my husband into my life. My world as I knew it would be forever changed.
His name was Rob. I fell for this man… I fell really, REALLY hard. So hard, in fact, that I left my apartment and my roommate, sold most of my belongings (including my car), and moved to the opposite coast to be with him. The rest of my belongings, aside from my cat and the items in my suitcase, were making their way across the country in the back of a semi. I waved goodbye to my parents (which was very tearful and difficult) and flew away with my future husband.
Fast forward 3 years and I’m the proud wife of a military man, a mother, a student, and a homeowner with a full time job. Another 4 years after that I had a year-long deployment, another child, and a PCS move under my belt.
But those life changes weren’t the only thing under my belt… I was also carrying a whopping 234 pounds around every day. It’s no surprise, really. My answer to stress and mental discomfort was to eat. Why? Because eating FELT GOOD. It relieved my stress and brought comfort to my body. And it’s all I knew. My poor eating habits had finally caught up with me, and I was feeling pretty darn low.
Enter BodyBlast… my light at the end of the tunnel. Luckily for me, my husband built lasting relationships with some wonderful people throughout his military career, including folks he came across before we met. Rob’s first duty station was Schofield Barracks, Hawaii, and he was fortunate enough to become close to his 1st Sergeant John Green, and his lovely wife Schenley, while he was there. He was new to the Army, and the Green’s showed him a really good time. I am learning that the military has a way of reuniting us with our fellow comrades and their families. We jumped for joy when we learned the Greens were living near Fort Bragg in 2013, which is where the Army was sending us next.
When I met Schenley, it was love at first sight. We hit it off and clicked immediately. Rob and John picked up right where they left off, and Schenley and I were becoming fast friends. There was one topic that came up during every conversation we shared: BodyBlast. What the heck was BodyBlast? She explained the concept, the method, and the mission of BodyBlast (which she created many years ago), and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
For those of you that may not know what BodyBlast is, let me fill you in on the magic:
It’s a massive metabolic strength/cardio mash-up and bootcamp-style fitness group. A workout jam packed with the latest and greatest fat blasting strength and cardio moves. It is designed for military families who want to grow in health, heart, and fitness… all while having a blast and making life-long friendships. I’ve never been in the company of such fun, inspirational people in my life. BodyBlast was born from the mind of Schenley Green, and it is changing lives… a lot of them.
So, after my NUMEROUS questions and inquiries were answered by the ever-loving and patient Schenley, I finally felt like I had the courage to show up to my first workout… but allow me to pause here for a moment…
For a very long time I lacked the self-esteem to do and be what I wanted. I lost sight of the woman inside of me. I became strangers with the reflection in the mirror. It was a human being I didn’t know anymore. It was such a painful time in my life, and I slowly began to realize that I was the one responsible for building the thick shell around myself. I became painfully aware of my own suffocation and I began to understand the importance of everything I was missing. I was missing LIFE. I was on a mission to break through that shell and breathe.
My first workout was on June 13, 2014. I was late. Not because I overslept or got lost on my way to class, but because I sat in my car for 20 minutes and watched the women workout from a distance. I argued with myself about whether or not I could keep up. I debated turning the car around and heading home- to my comfort zone. Would the girls accept me? Would they judge my abilities? I was scared to know the answers. But I was determined to see what I was made of. I wanted to know what I had left to give to myself! It was extremely hard for me, but I slowly opened my car door, gathered my children, and headed toward the group.
I thank God all the time for giving me the strength and clarity of mind to open that car door. It sounds so silly… but that was a defining moment in my life. I realized the only strength I needed to begin this journey was the strength I had to get out of my car.
It has been almost a year since my first class, and it’s a great time for me reflect on some things I’ve learned:
- It’s not ENTIRELY about weight loss. It took me some time to come to this conclusion, but I’ve learned to shift my attitude about weight loss and create goals beyond what the scale says. By focusing on my abilities and strengths I’m much more gratified. My hard work this week may not show on the scale, but that extra push-up I did today is enough to prove I’m moving in the right direction!
- The 80/20 rule is KEY. I’ve heard “diet is everything” and “you can’t out train a bad diet” for many years. But I’ve never really LISTENED to those words. After months of learning the ins and outs of eating well, I can tell you… it’s the gosh darned truth! Thanks to Schenley, I’ve gotten down to the nitty gritty of eating well and loving myself from the inside out. True health starts in the gut, and I am walking proof that a good diet makes all the difference in how you feel every day. I spend most of my days eating clean/raw until 4:00-ish, then I share a well-balanced meal with my family in the evening. My diet consists of a lot of fruit in the morning and lots of fresh, chopped veggies for lunch and dinner (usually with a piece of lean protein). 80% fresh, raw and clean, and 20% everything else. It helps to know you’re allowing yourself that 20% every day. For me, my 20% consists of coffee creamer and the occasional treat (cookie, piece of chocolate, or cheese and crackers).
- The person next to you in class (and in life) wants to hear your encouragement. We are all humans and we deserve to be recognized for our hard work. Every bead of sweat, every grunt and groan, every sore and tired muscle, and every day we drag our bodies into class (regardless of how we feel)… it all needs to be applauded! We are all dealing with personal struggles; big and small. Encouraging each other and cheering for our neighbors makes us a team and brings us closer. This is the reason BodyBlast is so successful and THRIVES! The BodyBlast bond is pretty indestructible, and it only grows stronger with each member… and THIS is why. It brings something to our lives that we’re otherwise lacking. Validation, Kinship, Purpose, and a sense of Self. It’s what HEART ON A MISSION is all about.
- The coaches are probably the most loving and giving people you’ll ever come across. I sound like the kid in school who was always 2 steps behind the teacher… you know, the brown-noser. But take the time to think about this: Each coach takes NUMEROUS hours out of their personal time for us… FOR FREE. They have families that count on them each day and their time is precious. Yet they have found it within their HEARTS to stretch their precious time even thinner in order to help us reach our goals… just because they want to! Whether it’s creating a workout chalked full of movement patterns to ensure we use every part of our body efficiently, or cleaning up trash that’s left behind after each class… they deserve every last bit of energy we can muster. Our sweat is LITERALLY all the payment they ask for.
- Treat yourself gently. I can’t figure out why we have the tendency to be our own worst enemy. At what point does that happen in our lives? Just last night my 6 year old son lifted the coffee table up at one end and said proudly, “look at how strong I am, Mommy! Aren’t I the strongest boy you’ve ever seen?” Yes… he is. And I couldn’t help but say a short prayer in hopes he keeps that love for himself forever. It’s my goal to always nurture that attitude in him, and let it grow within myself instead of kicking it down when it emerges. I challenge each of you to do the same. Speak kind words to yourself. Accept the compliments you receive by saying, “Thank you!”, instead of following it up with a reason why it’s not the truth. Be proud of your accomplishments… ALL of them! You are worth it.
I am on a journey of self-discovery (which sounds completely cliché, but it’s the truth), and it is far from over. But BodyBlast has re-lit the fire inside of me that I thought was forever extinguished. I was compelled to put my feelings down in hopes that many of you could relate! I can honestly say I love myself… even the things that I used to hate. They make me who I am and I’m choosing to embrace those imperfections and never let go. It feels so good to say these words and believe them! I am who I am, and I’m incredibly blessed to be me.
Lastly, I leave these words to anyone harboring an incapacitating amount of self-doubt: Please, PLEASE don’t be afraid of stepping aside and getting out of your own way. Magic happens when you step into the unknown. Open up that car door and leap into happiness and self-growth! It’s amazing to see yourself blossom. You are strong enough. You are worth the risk it takes to step out of your comfort zone. Nothing hurts more than losing sight of yourself, but nothing is more beautiful than that moment you look in the mirror and see yourself again! Trust in the fact that you have what it takes. The sky is the limit… set your heart on a mission!
STENGTH, CARDIO… OUT!