Progress Means Choosing To Begin Somewhere

I recently presented at a local career day, and I talked about transformation which meant sharing my latest career leap as well as the evolution of my body to a room of 12 year olds. Like whoa! Adults are one thing, but standing in front of kids was actually more intimidating than I thought. Kids see our insides, they're much more intuitive than us grown ups.

When I opened the room for questions, things got really real. The first question: Miss, where does your fat and skin go after losing 160 lbs?

While another inquired: What was the one positive thing you did for your body that you couldn’t imagine not having done?

The latter question made me think more than the former which made me sorta want to crawl into my own loose skin and hibernate. Alas, I responded: The fat goes away and the skin remains on your body.

I watched eyes widen and facial expressions morph from grins to twisted shock.

And as far as the one thing I couldn’t imagine not having done and still do to this day, walking. But then there's also the cooking and connection. I made space for myself to figure out my real needs.

This photo was taken on my morning walk. A reminder that getting unstuck means being uncomfortable. These past two months have been a mix of anxiety producing and illuminating.

Learning is uncomfortable, maybe not as bad as a thong and not quite as uncomfortable as a bad underwire bra digging in your side boob.

It's only uncomfortable to begin or start something new. It all goes back to Julie Andrews and starting at the very beginning. Eventually you realize you're a bad ass for leaping into growth. Any kind of growth. I'm here to remind you that you can do anything. I'm the underwire bra digging in your side, but in a good way.

This summer marks 16 years since I've been back to the farm where Carolyn and I spent many a day and night caring for a home, a pony and a few sheep. I was 20 years old and 289 lbs when I arrived to the farm in my dad’s 1991 Plymouth Voyager.

I still remember the mailbox. The mailbox, a tease, slightly visible across the long stretch of grass from the Grants little blue door where I used to stand staring out into the gaping field of green. Without moving, I could feel the tingle of chafing thighs. I thought of steps as miles and miles as impossibilities, but I began. Daily I conquered that mailbox.

Stopping for 15 minutes before I turned back to the house - catching my breath before I continued. Walk, sweat, stop, wipe, walk. Repeat. My thighs rubbed without feeling the burn of chafing but, instead, felt that of accomplishment.

Yes, thighs can feel accomplished.

Today I walk from Queens to Manhattan and everywhere in between. When I walk, I have not a single thought of a failing heart. I walk with strength and pride because I can. My heart strong. I feel free. It's the space I talk about so often, the gift of time that I choose to give myself daily. 

Since that summer I've hiked the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Hudson Valley Trails, walked alone for hours through many distant cities, crossed boroughs and have learned to appreciate all my body can do.

I haven't stopped since that morning on the farm.
It was a choice to begin. To start small.

On days that I don't walk, I feel lost. Similar to days I don't cook, I feel incomplete. I found cooking that summer too.

Let one small change lead the way to bettering your health.