“True friendship is like sound health; the value of it is seldom known until it be lost.”-Charles Caleb Colton
It was 5:00 on Sunday evening and I was ready for bed. My husband was working late, we don’t have cable, and I couldn’t think of a single reason to stay awake a moment longer…except that I would be awake at 2 am ready to get my day started and then I’d want to go to bed at 5:00 the next night, too. This daylight savings was really kicking my arse. So, in desperate need of some entertainment I got online and watched an episode of Biggest Loser. I watched my first episode a couple weeks ago, sobbing just like everyone else, and by the end of it I wanted to be Jillian Michaels. I guess I don’t want to be HER, I like being me, I just want her job. Who wouldn’t want to be there to motivate someone to save their own life through their own blood, sweat, and tears? Sign me up!
It got me thinking about the millions of Americans who watch that show every week and see what an extraordinary change people are able to make, but they continue living their lives in a way they know is unhealthy. Is it because they don’t have the knowledge? Maybe, but I think there’s a lot more to it than that. Is it because of a lack of time and money? That may be a superficial excuse, but again, I think it goes deeper. For many people I know it goes much further than physical or mental obstacles, there are huge emotional obstacles there as well.
I will admit to being a victim of negative thinking, ESPECIALLY when it comes to thoughts about myself. Everyday I get better at telling myself “I can,” but it is a constant battle between those old ways of thinking and the new habits I am trying to form. More than anything, the people I surround myself with help me work through those negative thoughts. Without the support of others, making a lifestyle change is EXTREMELY difficult. Through the years that I have been working towards leading a healthy lifestyle, I have had the support of others along the way.
From the beginning, I have had my mother who has lead by example and encouraged healthy decisions. In high school, I had a teacher I would look forward to meeting at the Y for a kickboxing or aerobics class. In college, I met my husband (back then he was still my boyfriend) at the gym every morning before we started classes for the day. Later on in college, I had a friend I met at the gym, and another I’d meet at the pool to swim and talk (don’t ask how we managed both)! Now I have my husband who is a phenomenal support and the support of my friends at the gym, at work–I have support everywhere from others who are trying to live a healthy lifestyle. I couldn’t do this alone, and you don’t have to either! The difference between a quick diet and a lifestyle change is the help of a friend. Who is on this journey with you?
If you have listened to NOTHING I have said so far, listen to this: find a friend to help you on this journey. Maybe it’s someone who is more fit than you, who can be a positive example. Maybe it is someone in the exact same situation as you, who can walk beside you. Or, maybe it is someone who is in need of YOUR support, and in return will give you the confidence you need to move forward. I was told once you need three levels of friendship: someone who can pour into you and provide you with the support, encouragement, and advice that you need. Someone that you can pour into and encourage and help grow. And lastly, someone who can walk on the journey with you, step-by-step and share your struggles and successes. I encourage you to identify the person in your life who will help you do this and ask them TODAY. You might be surprised by their response–they may be waiting for you to ask.