Motivation! Where are you?!

So, once again I’ve taken a little hiatus from Eco Runner. It wasn’t planned, and there’s not a great excuse for it. Basically, work got stressful, and suddenly things got in the way and I just stopped posting.

Not only that, but I stopped running.

For about two months I ran sporadically, just like I sat down to write sporadically….and in both cases I didn’t achieve a whole lot. Then after that I just quit completely. I kept telling myself that after the school year was done, or when the weather got nicer…

I gained a little weight. Not a lot but a little. I watched Netflix. I ate junk food. My anxiety went up.

Then about three weeks ago I was feeling this urge to “get it together”. Fueled by frequent chest pains (anxiety induced) and general feelings of panic, I decided that I really should do something, but I was still feeling less-than-motivated.

My cousin, who I’m pretty close with, happened to post on Facebook that she was struggling to lose weight and was looking for some motivation as well. I struck up a conversation with her about it, and we reached out to her younger sister, and a few other cousins and family members and decided to do a “Biggest Loser” challenge.

Now I know that these sorts of challenges are nothing unique or particularly special. Lots of families do them, and they are a fun way to get in shape. We each put in $10 and started a Facebook group to post our weigh-ins, and progress.

The cool part is that it has started my whole family thinking about fitness, and even better—TALKING about stuff. Even better than just talking about fitness, we started talking about our motivations and struggles with it, our body image issues, and frustrations. As it turns out, anxiety runs in my family (not a surprise) and several of us tend to cope by zoning out, eating, shutting down. I’m sure like many families, we also tend to bottle it up, and feel like we are the only ones who face these struggles.

Guess what? So far it’s been pretty transformative. Now, of course, not completely life changing…yet—it IS summer, and there are a lot of family reunions and grill outs, games and events happening. It’s unbearably hot in most parts of the country (not for me, here in Wisconsin, but for my cousins in Utah, I guess it’s pretty bad).  Despite the challenges, we’ve all started to see changes.

My cousin got Fitbits for her kids, and they are all trying to be more active as a family. My other cousin is taking walks with her fiancĂ©, having dance parties in their kitchen (okay, they are seriously adorable) and he just ran a 5K while he was in Portland on a business trip—on his own—for fun?! We’re seeing changes all around and an awareness, and motivation to do more.

Anyway, it’s been pretty cool to see the power of activity, and the way that motion sparks more motion. The first step is really getting off the couch and starting to move, and that’s where I think for me--and my family members--we all needed a little spurring.

Having that buddy, that cousin, friend, spouse or coworker that you have to answer to each week is really motivating and inspiring. Usually I can find it within myself to keep going, but sometimes that anxiety/stress cloud rolls in, and all I want to do is shut down. Knowing that there are people that are in my same boat, that are going through the same challenges, and are overcoming them in their own ways, has been really inspiring. Not only that, but we are actually having fun.

All of this has inspired me to post again on Ecology Runner. Sam is still running regularly (he didn’t fall off the exercise wagon quite like I did) and we are planning another Huber 5k next month. I am signed up for the Brewers 10K in September (which sounds a little insane right now, but it’s the impetus I need to get my butt in gear). We organized and did a little “makeover” on our workout space in the basement this past weekend, and I’ve been getting my CSA farm share with lots of veggies and making some healthier cook-at-home meals.

I’ll keep posting along as we go and let you know how the “fit fam” and I are doing on our challenge. If you are looking for a little motivation, reach out to your friends, family and others and see if they are struggling too. You just might find a couple buddies to keep you lacing up your sneakers and getting out the door!