Every year since that one, I have run this same course around the lake and dam in Scripp's Ranch to celebrate not just our country's independence but also my independence from the unhealthy habits that had caused me to balloon to over 230 pounds. I think the important part about my change is that it has become a habit. I got the best piece of advice back then that has helped me to remember to stay on the road to flabulous. My assistant principal was a big supporter of my goal to complete the Disney Half. One day he pulled me aside and shared, "Please don't be one of those people that just completes one race and goes right back to sitting on the couch." These words motivate me to this very day. I don't want to be the old me that ate tons of unhealthy food, and I never want to go back to being a sedentary person. In order to keep moving forward I am constantly trying to find ways to stay motivated and strategies to improve my running, biking, swimming, and even eating practices.
Because I am a teacher and have more time in the summer to read, I have finally been catching up on the last six months of my running magazines. I find that these magazines provide me with encouragement and tons of ideas. The January 2014 issue of Runner's World was packed with articles that were exactly what I needed. One article gave suggestions for building up my core, which is one of my goals for this year. Another one gave suggestions for great destination half marathons--this one is now filed in the birthday book my son gave me, The Runner's Bucket List by Denise Malan. There were also two incredible stories about runners overcoming great odds to continue running, but the article that inspired me the most in this magazine was a regular column by Marc Parent called The Newbie Chronicles. He shared in his month's article entitled "How to Change for Good" that as we get older if we do not change our eating or activity levels we will gain over a pound a year after we turn thirty. He decided to address this statistic by beginning a running program, but he was determined that this change would be a permanent one. He mused that, "No one begins a plan saying, "I'd like to start this as a silly, desperate grab at temporary health that I'll one day look back on with embarrassment. No one says, what I'd like to do is lose 10 pounds in a month and gain it all back with interest by way of midnight pantry-binges in two weeks." But unfortunately the odds are against us making these changes permanent. And that is why my assistant principal's words were so crucial to my journey--I wanted to be free of that extra weight and those unhealthy habits forever.
So on this day that we celebrate our great nation and its independence, think about what is holding you back from being the best you that you can be. Do you need to drink less? Do you need to start making healthier food choices? Or is it exercising that you need to add to your routine that will finally break the cycle of yo-yo dieting? Whatever that change is that you need to incorporate into your life, make a pledge to yourself to not only make those needed changes but to make those changes permanent. Marc Parent shares that you will know you have finally succeeded when you can say to yourself, "I'm in. This is me. I'm always going to do this... Do it, claim it, never stop."