Yesterday, after work during my 5k run in the park, I got passed by a gentleman who was literally walking faster than I was running. He was about a foot taller than me and he had an extremely LONG stride, but even after realizing that, there was still something else about him that stuck out to me. Once you have gone through significant weight loss, you learn to recognize the movements & telltale signs of folks that have gone through the same thing.
What I noticed about this person was how hard he was pushing himself to walk as fast as he possibly could, yet not running. The ‘not running’ part was what struck me. I have been in that exact moment, where you have gone as far as you can with walking but you are too afraid to try running. For me, it wasn’t because I didn’t think I couldn’t run, it was because I had been told my entire life that I wasn’t an athlete, so I didn’t feel like I SHOULD run, so I did the next best thing, I walked as fast and as hard as I could, which honestly is the worst thing I could have done on my body.
As I watched this man swing his arms from side to side, I could see how he walked when he was heavy. I could tell he hadn’t changed his gait or the way he balanced his entire body yet, and I could see how it was affecting him in ways he will probably pay for later.
When I went through this point in my life, I was literally a skinny body, walking in a fat girls shoes. I didn’t know what to do with my body, I wasn’t used to how it moved, or how it reacted to various things. There were points during this period where I would actually MISS the way my old body was, fat and all because I wasn’t used to the new body yet, and it was extremely unsettling, as crazy as that sounds.
Finally, the one thing that helped me the most was also the most simple, I figured out my stride, one step at a time. First I focused on looking forward, not down. Then I focused on squaring my shoulders back, instead of curving them in, after I got that down, I lifted my chin and I kept my head up. One thing at a time, then adding another thing to focus on, then another thing, and then another until I had to start trusting my own body to know what to do, instead of my mind trying to enforce all these ‘fat girl rules’ that I had endured in my head all my life. When I fixed my stance and found my stride walking, almost instantaneously I started running. My body finally felt right.
Focusing on one thing at a time, I was able to build on every step and that helped so much. As soon as I found my stride, my body changed in other ways too. I found myself standing taller, taking up my personal space, instead of figuring out ways to melt into the woodwork. The most extreme change? Looking people in the eyes. It’s CRAZY how many people don’t make eye contact! Before, I never noticed because I didn’t make eye contact either. But now, I look everyone in the eyes and make sure I connect with them.
That one change affected me the most and benefitted me the most as well. I have good posture, I love my ‘Wonder Woman’ stance and as my husband calls it, I do my ‘Captain Sassy Pants Walk’ whenever I am out & about. All of these smaller steps are part of the woman I have become, and I love the woman I am.
I titled this blog ‘Finding Your Stride…” because you can apply that to just about anything, especially when you are feeling overwhelmed with everything going on around you. Focus on one small thing and build on that. One thing. That’s all. You simply start with one thing.
When I get too in the weeds with my lists or my seventybillion travelers notebooks or I feel like I need to track ALL THE THINGS, I tend to shut down due to overload. So when I feel that starting to happen, I look at ONE THING I can work on, and once I feel like I have that down, I can add something else. Slow and Steady wins the race, so instead of quitting everything, I simply focus on one thing.
Whether that’s tracking one thing, or cleaning one room, or even one section of one room, so be it. I do it, I mark it off my list, and I feel that sense of accomplishment. Then the next day I do another section of that same room and build on what I did the day before. Pretty soon, an entire floor of my house is clean and I didn’t feel overwhelmed by looking at the huge list of things that I felt I needed to do, all at once.
Find your Stride, in everything you do, and build on your success. Don’t worry about your failures, we all have them, just keep trying until you succeed and then build on that success, one step at a time.
The Badass Valkyrie