Lately, things have been kind of all over the place for me - mentally speaking. With my physical change and with all of the amazing opportunities that have been coming my way, I am more driven than ever. But with that intense focus and drive also comes a lot of self-reflection.

I find myself spending a lot of time thinking these days. Thinking about life – what I want from it, where I want to go and who I want to become. But sometimes, thinking so existentially can be exhausting.

Don’t get me wrong; I think it’s really important for people to have moments like this in their lives. These moments better us as individuals, causing us to step back and think about how we can improve ourselves, and the lives we’re living.

But often, it’s easy to get sucked into over-thinking, and what we need is something that can derail our train of thoughts; something that will temporarily reset our brain, preventing us from mentally drowning ourselves.

For me, my escape is training.

When I lace up and head to the gym I’m usually still thinking about whatever it is that’s preoccupying me that day. Once I arrive, I put my headphones in my ears and step onto the treadmill for my warm up – this is when I begin to let things go.

I try to zone out.  I focus on the music and usually picture myself somewhere else. I’m ether on the beach, in a 2-piece suit and enjoying the sun, or I’m accepting my trophy on stage from my first figure competition. Whatever it is, it’s a great feeling – a happy feeling.

Usually, by the time I’m done my warm up, my earlier thoughts have left me. I’m now in the moment, focusing on lifting, breathing and improving my form.

It’s funny because I never used to be aware of how therapeutic a good workout could be. In the beginning it was all about the physical results. But today, it’s all about self-improvement – physically, mentally, spiritually and emotionally.

Imagine if there was something that you could dump all of your thoughts, stress and worries into. – even if it were just for little while. You’d come home from a long day at work or school, and just peel off your mental layers – instantly feeling lighter and free. 

Now, of coarse, at some point you’d have to take back your deposit and deal with the thoughts face on. But think about how healing it would be to have a chance to step back, a chance to just let go and breathe – that’s my gym time.

I strongly believe that whether it’s in, or out of the gym, everyone needs his or her “me time”. It’s during that time that we can clear our heads and begin thinking more objectively, without spiraling into the land of over-thinking.

Without taking time to shed, the sometimes overbearing, weight of life, you could find that you have sentenced yourself to burden.  Like the Greek god Atlas, you too could find yourself standing in one spot for eternity, bearing the weight of the world on your shoulders.

Luckily for us, unlike dear Atlas, we have a choice. Drop the mental baggage and free yourself every once and awhile. You may find your thoughts become a whole lot clearer.

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As some of you may know – from reading my “about me” section – I’ve faced a few obstacles in my time. Granted, “my time” has only been 21 years, but most people go their entire lifespan without experiencing what I have.

Today I want to take a moment to switch gears. You see, weight loss journey’s aren’t just about shedding fat and watching the numbers on the scale drop.  In my opinion, a real, permanent, weight loss journey is about shedding adversity at the same time. Lightening yourself, not only physically, but mentally too.

When I started my journey 9 months ago, I was in a shaded place – I use shaded to describe my mentality because I was on my way into darkness, but some light still shined through.  I was beginning to become the type of person I never wanted to be – a person who took pity on themselves and stewed in their own sadness.

Life seemed to be beating me at my own game, all I could think about was how misfortunate I had been with my recent diagnosis, and how much pain I was in from my previous accident. But, with a deceptive smile on my face, I always managed to fly through each day – under the radar.

Quickly, my talent became avoidance. I blocked out my feelings, grew a strong outer shell and buried my feelings and pain. To those around me, I appeared “strong” and “recovered” but it was nothing more than a coping tactic – I now know.

Then one day something inside me changed. I really don’t know what it was, but I will describe it as a spark. It was like a tiny little flame that was waiting to be fed with logs of empowerment – I just needed to figure out how to feed it.

With that little glimmer of hope flickering inside me, I began to do some soul searching – why do these things happen to me? Why not to someone else? And although I had been told countless times from others, “Because you are strong enough to conquer it”, I had never truly believed it until I felt that spark.

After discovering this for myself, there was no stopping me. I was going to find a way to show the world that what doesn’t kill you does, in fact, make you stronger. Adversity not only causes you to reflect on your life, but it also teaches you the importance of moving forward and reaching for your goals and dreams – but what were mine?

I knew I wanted to be a mother one day, own my own business in the future and make a difference in the world. But exactly how I was going to achieve these things, I wasn’t sure yet – until I came across bodybuilding.com.

I had previously been a member of bodybuilding.com, but I wasn’t in the right state of mind for it to resonate with me. But after having recently discovered my internal fire, the transformation articles and stories on bodybuilding.com began to impact me tremendously.

These people not only had the body I had always desired, but they were truly strong. Not just on the outside, but on the inside too. They knew how to take control of their lives and bodies, and they demonstrated perseverance, determination and triumph – exactly what I wanted to show the world that adversity could foster if you let it.

With that, bodybuilding became my logs of empowerment. It became my new focus, and my way to prove that even while facing shade or darkness, one can take control over their life and find the light.

To this day, my journey continues to take a load of my shoulders. Although I continue to face the physical pain from my accident, and I am scarred with the emotional ache of my inability to conceive a child, I feel lighter everyday.

When I hit the gym, or pack my pre-portioned meals, I am reassured that I have control over who I want to be. And I am reminded that as long as I keep fueling my fire with empowerment, I will continue to shed little pieces of my adversity, while I gain achievement of my goals.
 
For more information on my diagnosis, Premature Ovarian Failure, please visit www.pofsupport.org.

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