The moment when you lay all of your broken pieces down is when true healing can begin.
Back in December of 2013, I decided to start a get fit challenge. It was between a partner and I, with a goal to reach our target weights and hold the other accountable. On my dry-erase board I had titled the mission: OPERATION FINE FOR NO REASON. Exercise, eat well and REST. I was already working with a personal trainer and generally eat healthy so I said, “This is the perfect launch into what we’ve got going on- this will be super easy.”
Wrong. In the midst of my challenge, challenges arose. Funny how that works. I lacked discipline, a partner and the excitement that had captivated me for the first 45 days. The only thing I felt I was getting better at was studying. It wasn’t the books on nutrition, weight loss or calculating calories I was drawn to. It was the people. The people and their stories. There was still 45 days left to go. All I knew is that I was not going to quit. A favorite quote of mine from John C. Maxwell states, “When you are having a hard time moving forward, don’t be quick to revise your dream. Instead, revise your plan.” So let me readjust this plan.
I began to realize that I had jumped into this challenge without dusting myself off. Understanding what was taking place. This isn’t some 90 Day Challenge, this is a lifestyle change! What the hell did I think was going to happen? Get fine in that time and just be? What happens after those 90 days? Another set of 90 days, then another and another. I needed to realize this was a lifetime event, not just an opportunity to win or buy new clothes. I needed to be able to wear them after the purchase & feel good about what it took to get there. I needed to eat, study and write down what I cook. I needed to do what I had never done before on so many levels, it became overwhelming. “Man, is this not the type of workout I signed up for. This is a mental challenge momentarily.”
So sets in the fear. You know the “you cant’s” or the “you should nots” of life? The, “how will I ever get this done, I need more than what I have,” thoughts that weigh you down? I know I said I wanted to gain weight but not THIS kind. What to do, what to do.
I separated myself from people. I was already doing such a good job of that overall, I figured I’d turn it into a positive and stay away for reasons outside myself. I started back working out, this time with a better routine and more meetings with my trainer. See, here’s the thing: my trainer comforts me in an area that scares me and I have very little knowledge in. He informs me of what muscles I’m working as he’s demonstrating the exercise…I on the other hand, can barely breathe let alone hold a conversation. I am also left researching exactly when certain muscles appeared in my body. 🌹 He calls me to see how I’m doing because he cares. The main thing about him is that he has this unwavering passion, this desire to see his clients succeed. I’m always up for a great challenge & after that discovery, my goal was to match his passion then be of service to the world. I needed more courage.
I needed the courage to stick through the madness, this beginning phase. The portion of exiting your comfort zone and entering the unknown. It is like being a newborn in some ways, only they are fearless because they don’t know any better but to try. You see, fear has a sneaky way of paralyzing a person. It makes you feel like the things you once were good at you’re not anymore or that you cannot add to your talents/gifts. It limits your thinking and when left alone it can steal your entire dream. It makes you forget or not even want to try certain things for fear of failure, being ridiculed, succeeding past your comfort level, mocked. You name it- it is dependent upon each person so we all feel fear a different way. I’m always telling people to kick fear in the ass and I decided to take my own advice.
I started focusing on what I was not afraid of, and for the first time left cooking out of it. I don’t fear people or adventures. Perhaps it’s why I like reading so much; one stop shopping. I read inspirational books, autobiographies, biographies, articles on entrepreneurs and business owners. No chefs, no nutrition. I needed a break. I had fried my brain before turning the stove on by seeking perfection outwardly rather than looking inside first. I needed a tune up and I was in the process of pulling my body apart for all the wrong reasons. I joined social media again and in my frailty, wanted out within a week. I was sensitive to many things because I was completely out of my comfort zone. The only thing comforting were books and people. I began asking people what they liked reading, and what their favorite quotes were. I exchanged emails with people who lifted my sprits and had more phone conversations. (I completely shut down access to text messaging.) I started inquiring about others dreams and their fears and how they handled it. I posed the question, “what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” I started sharing my issues & I ADMITTED BEING SCARED to some of the most understanding people I knew. Without trying, I felt free. I hadn’t felt this free in years! Not just feeling good, but at peace and free. Last time that happened I was jumping out of a plane. How could I remind myself of that feeling more often? Post a picture of me skydiving to a place I often visit, Facebook. As I did, I received comments and questions which lead to more opportunities to admit my fears. Before deciding to go skydiving, I saw a picture of a friend who had been twice before my brain took full notice. I told him his pictures were awesome, he told me where he went. There was a girl’s trip being planned in that state, so I threw the skydiving idea out to the group. The only one who latched on was my sister; she has wanted to fly since before I was born and this would be the perfect opportunity. Once I heard her yes, I didn’t think anything past making the arrangements until stepping on that plane. As far as I was concerned we were going to fly so let’s just get it done.
And fly she did! Since I was busy talking to strangers I forgot that the last one on the plane is the first one off…lucky me. Knowing my sister was right behind me, and a flip or two out of the plane later I opened my eyes. Only to behold a view I would never again see duplicated- not even if I jumped from the same location. I spread my wings out and I flew. I knew my sister was making the best out of the moment and she inspired me to do the same. We didn’t make it this far to curl in a ball and not experience the flight. I forgot even in that moment I was afraid of heights. Besides that, I paid to get pictures. Don’t let the cameraman down, Cic. 💜
As we landed, my instructor took a picture & gave me a high-5. He then shouted, “Look up!” and all I could see was my sister flying. She was really flying. Not trying to fly, not designing a plane that could get her flying eventually, not jumping off our front porch steps with her arms out but in the freakin’ sky flying!!! I knew all of her previous attempts paled in comparison to this experience and I marveled at her success. Dreams really do come true. ✨✨✨
Fast forward to today: I took my break, replenished my soul and officially miss the hell outta food. The unfamiliar and uninteresting areas are now met with the notion that it can and will be done in proper timing. I have battled the inside of me that says I cannot do this and forgiven myself for missing the deadlines of trying to perfect this portion of my craft. I have heard three times in a week that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and anything connected to Italy makes me sit up straight and listen in. I am here to do food and while my plans have altered many times, my dream is still solid: to give every bit of myself to the culinary world and deliver it to anyone who will listen. I have learned to trust this journey and the people connected to it. I can now meet my trainer at eye level and with the same passion. On top of that, this exercise portion I have struggled with is now FUN and fully welcomed into the path of making my personal dreams come true. I’m no where near my target weight and the challenge ends March 15. So I’ve decided to go again for the next 90 Days and attack more fears and incorporate food again! I welcome you to join me. Be it physical, mental, financial, career-related, spiritual or self-esteem related, I STILL WELCOME YOU. This is about wanting to change for the better, no matter the area. Inspiring one another. Accountability…and learning to have some fun in between!!! I had to ask myself the same question the other day, “What would I do if I knew I couldn’t fail?” The answer is encourage other people to believe in themselves and follow their dreams. I had no idea jumping out of the sky would ever relate to food, or bring me to this blog- I just wanted to see a dream of my sisters come true and was given an opportunity to assist. For I know every time one has made it, even just a little bit further, we all have.
I feel something so good will become of this, I really do.
Food ignites my soul. People keep the flame going.
The Smitten Chef 😍🍷
90-Day Challenge begins 16 March 2014.…I welcome you to jot down your ideas or goals and prepare yourself for a ride worth taking. Invite a friend, spread the word. Get excited! You don’t have to go skydiving, you just have to be willing to give whatever your plans are a T-R-Y! 😍🍷