Setbacks are part of the journey
By Kiera Smalls
When you think you know it all or have it all figured out, there is always a reality check to humble you and remind you that you don't. This is what I experienced recently on my journey to living a healthier lifestyle.
I visited my doctor for a normal checkup (one that I haven’t scheduled in 3 years by the way…) and later learned that I am pre-diabetic with extremely low Vitamin D levels.
I had two options after receiving the news from my doctor over the phone: 1) Cry or 2) Cry for like 2 minutes and then get over it and get to work. I chose the latter.
Hearing this news was heartbreaking because I thought I was doing everything I could to avoid these issues but after thinking about the past two years, I was immediately faced with a reality check. I’ve been doing a lot of the very same things that led me to weight gain in the first place.
Sure, I ran a marathon, actually maintained a healthier weight for the most part, and excercised at least 2-4 days a week and I am extremely proud of all of that. But right now, I have to dig a little deeper into what's really going on here.
HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF
Let’s go back. Before City Fit Girls and working out were my reality, I grew up in a low-income neighborhood, single parent household with no guidance at all about nutrition and physical activity. I also come from a family where obesity, diabetes, cancer, strokes, stress, etc. are the norm. You name it, someone probably has/had it.
I’m not going to get into the nuances of how growing up in a black and low-income family has impacted my overall health, but I want to note that the struggle is real. Too real. I (later) learned that diet and lack of exercise combined with medical history was the root of my family's health issues. I wanted to change the course but I had no clue what that really meant. After conducting research, speaking with a few trainers and my doctor, I began to workout regularly and adopted a whole foods plant-based lifestyle. I lost close to 100lbs and life was great!
After starting City Fit Girls, I found myself on an interesting wellness journey. I was spending up to $300/month on gym memberships, workout gear, smoothies, etc. I was posting meals and workouts to social media -- picture or it didn’t happen -- and teaching bootcamps and providing counsel to friends who were also on their journey as well. In the midst of this success was internal damage.
There were many highs and lows and I tended to focus more on the highs. The lows included overeating and skipping nutrient-dense meals, missing a workout here and there, stressing about everything, and putting others before myself. Before I knew it, I was essentially on my way back to where I started.
You see, I lost sight of my purpose. I needed the very teachings I tried to give to others. And the update from the doctor, among some other personal development tactics, was enough to get me re-focused and back on track.
I am a firm believer that when you commit to working out and eating healthy, you’re committing to a journey - not a means to an end. And sometimes that journey can get messy, you can get a road block, you need to turn around and/or you are constantly looking for a sign.
WHAT’S DIFFERENT ABOUT THIS TIME
This time around, I put my mental health first. Instead of focusing on the external, I started focusing inward, and so far, the outcome has been overly positive. 1) I didn’t let the news from my doctor cripple me or destroy everything I’ve been working towards. 2) I practice yoga 2-3 times a week and have much better clarity and awareness about every aspect of my life... so when roadblocks happen, I face them, embrace them, and create a plan of action. 3) I continuously remind myself that this is all a part of the journey and to get where I’ve never been is going to be hard AF, but not impossible.
The only extreme change this new information did was light a fire to my depleting flame. I decided not to do another marathon and to focus more on strength training and weight loss (still running but not so much), I am working with a dietitian to make sure I'm getting the nutrients I need and I started taking meal prep more seriously.
Maybe I've been pre-diabetic this entire time but didn't know it. Maybe there's more to my family history than I know. Whatever it is, I'll be working hard to overcome this new challenge, starting with inside out.
The journey is what you make it. And if you ever feel like you’re not in control, know that you’re not alone. Now, let’s get to work.
Kiera Smalls is the Co-Founder of City Fit Girls. She's a marathoner and wannabe chef who's passionate about helping women reach their fitness and weight loss goals.