We all have aspects of our lives that we can and cannot control. Sometimes—at least with me—we forget that some things are within our power. While attempting to control my injury would be about as successful as trying to control the weather or my firecracker of a 4-year-old, I can actually control how I protect my body—how I fuel it and how I strengthen it—and I have not done that. It is time for me to stop making excuses. Starting this week, with the help of Sasha at True North Strength and Fitness and Michelle at WestCoast Nutrition, I’m going to make a change.
In the age of body positivity, it’s difficult for me to announce to the world that I am unhappy with the way I look—we should all love ourselves exactly the way we are, right? Well, I don’t. But it goes far beyond appearances. It’s a lifetime of poor eating habits, a serious sugar addiction and a relationship with alcohol that went from casual to complicated in the aftermath of my accident. It’s independence that requires a lot of upper-body strength. And from transfers to piggy-backs to helpful friends and strangers occasionally lifting me around—the fact is, the heavier I am, the harder it will be to keep up with my lifestyle. So, what is the plan? Let me tell you.
I met with Sasha and Michelle and chose to embark on a 12-week transformation challenge with them. I have tried and failed numerous times in my adult life to get fit and lose weight and I’m done attempting to do it on my own. In discussing my goals with them, I quickly realized that I needed these two women in my corner. Not only did their philosophies resonate with me, they easily addressed my three biggest concerns:
- Can I be independent in the gym? It’s hard to be consistent with working out when I always need assistance.
- I’m willing to change my diet, but can you work with my stipulations? Having a spinal cord injury, my digestive system can be unpredictable. Add in a history of irritable bowel syndrome and I am—understandably—tentative about changing the way that I eat. Any overhaul to my diet needs to be done slowly and with compassion for those fears.
- Will this be sustainable? The workouts and nutritional changes need to be livable. I don’t want to finish the 12 weeks and be left with an unrealistic exercise schedule and nutrition plan.
Their understanding of my concerns and their enthusiasm to form a plan around them gave me a lot of confidence. Through individualized workouts and one-on-one nutrition counselling, we will work together over the next 12 weeks to implement change. But what do I hope to see at the end of this challenge?
The obvious answer is that I want to see the physical changes. But more importantly, I want to transform my relationship with fitness, food and alcohol. I want to implement consistency in my workouts, acquire a better understanding of nutrition and change my relationship status with alcohol back to casual (I’ve made a decent start with dry January). If I can change my mindset, the physical transformation will follow.
I tell my kids all the time that you are in control of you and I try to follow through with this in regard to most aspects of my own life. However, I have always found a reason to deflect responsibility for my weight. My guiding motivation for this transformation challenge is to change that. I want to prove to myself while setting an example for my children that—to whatever extent I am able—I can take control of my own health and fitness. And I’m as excited as I am terrified. Make sure you are following me on Instagram and Facebook to see my weekly check-in and be sure to come back here for a 6-week update and 12-week final thoughts on my transformation challenge with True North Strength and Fitness and WestCoast Nutrition.