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Staying Motivated When Life Puts You on the Bench

DssButton125Dear Desperately Seeking Slender,

~

I’ve noticed reading your blog that you often had a lot of down time between your running events. How do you stay motivated to get back into the swing of things so quickly?

Dear Slender Seeker,

You’re right; I’ve had a lot of down time between my running adventures. I started running sometime around July of 2011 when I lost my Father due to a stroke nearly smack dab in the middle of my weight loss journey. I had lost 132 lbs.–about half of the 260 lb. total loss I achieved–and my Father had really been the champion of that weight loss journey for me.

72011Losing my Father was one of the hardest things I ever went through. I miss him daily, especially as Father’s Day, the day he passed away (July 5th) and his birthday (July 20th) approach.

When I got the call that my Father was passing away I was on a flight back to California that evening to make sure that whatever time I had left wasn’t wasted. I’ll never forget walking into that hospital room. I walked over to his bed and I took his hand and I told him “Papa, I need to know that you’re not in any pain.” He squeezed my hand and told me he wasn’t in pain and that he loved me.  As the tears swelled in my eyes I told him, “I have no idea how to say good-bye to you.” He shook his head at me and said “I never say goodbye, kiddo.”

It was true, during my entire life my Father had made a point never to say good-bye. He’d always say “I’ll see you soon.”

My Father’s desire to know that I was going to live a happy, healthy life and that I would not spend my life suffering from the comorbidities of obesity was the incentive that started the ball rolling in my decision to lose the weight.  I needed to know that even though he was leaving this world, he was going to be there to see then end of this journey with me.

269503_203160199734695_2270748_nAs a victim of childhood abuse, faith, god, or the existence of a higher power that never answered the prayers of a hurt little girl had been something I questioned and struggled with. But I told my Dad that day, “Daddy I don’t know what I believe in. I don’t know where we go after this. But the one thing I know for sure is that if there is a place that you can go where you get to look out after me and watch over me, you’ll be there. So I’ll make a deal with you Papa: I need to know that you’re going to see the end of this journey when I get there. So I’m going to believe that every time I exercise you’ll be there with me, listening and watching over me.”

Most of the times that I have been “benched” or had downtime during my running adventures have been due to reconstructive plastic surgery procedures that I have had to get my body back after massive weight loss. I’ve had a total of six different procedures since February of 2012 and each one has taken me out of exercise for 2-10 weeks depending on the intensity or complexity of the procedure.

In that same time frame I have walked one half Marathon, ran 5 half Marathons, ran a 17K, walked 20 miles for charity, participated in several 5Ks and ran several 5Ks and 10Ks as a part of routine training.

My motivation to get back into running, build my pace back up and get off the bench so quickly usually comes from three things: my desire to feel connected to my Father, my own desire to help motivate and inspire others, and the fact that I have some very amazing sponsors helping me do that.

IMG_5315In June of 2013 when I completed my first half marathon I instantly set out to give others the opportunity to have that same experience with the launch of my “How do YOU Celebrate Success” contests. Since then we’ve almost always been in a steady state of training for either the Tinker Bell Half Marathon or now, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. Paying it forward and coaching others in their post weight loss running adventure has been a huge factor in keeping me motivated.

Finding those intrinsic motivators. the things inside you that propel you do to something for you, is quintessential to the weight loss journey. Finding these things along with finding the fun in fitness has been one of the key ingredients to successful weight loss and weight maintenance in my journey.

I’d like to take a moment to thank the very special sponsors of the current “How do you Celebrate Success” contest, #TeamSlenderSeekers and our current #WineDineC210kPrep Training Program; Ameriwell Bariatrics, Celebrate Vitamins, Kay’s Naturals, Wellese and BariMelts.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Check out the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest

Team Slender Seekers Sponsors:

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AmeriWell Bariatrics
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WELLESSE
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Celebratecmyk

Celebrate Vitamins
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Kay’s Naturals
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BariMelts
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#TeamSlenderSeekers would like to thank these early entry Sponsors

Please support our sponsors!

 

Big Brother, Big Dreams, Life after my 260 lb. Weight Loss

SmileThis year I’ve been working on my bucket list. Recently, that meant sending in an audition tape for the Big Brother reality show.  This was quite a surreal experience for me. Realizing that I was actually doing something that I had dreamed of doing for years and let my struggle with obesity hold me back from was yet another non scale victory moment for me.

There was a time that a list of things I wanted to do in life included names of foods I wanted to try and restaurants I wanted to eat at. It included a few other things as well; my life didn’t totally revolve around food. But I did feel like food was all I could do.

I dreamed of things like traveling to different countries, but I knew that it wouldn’t happen because I was intimidated about not being able to fit in an airline seat or not being able to physically do all the touristy stuff you do when you travel.

I thought about things like bungee jumping, skydiving, zip lining, going to amusement parks, riding roller coasters and truth be told, ever since I watched the show in 2009 when Jeff and Jordan were on it, I dreamed of auditioning for Big Brother.

My Dad–who I lost in the middle of my weight loss journey but remains with me through my passion for exercise and my determination to live the happy healthy life he wanted for me–used to watch the show too and he’d always tell me, “You’d be really good on this show kid.” My Dad was a game show guy, he always dreamed of being on Wheel of Fortune or the Big Spin, he always wanted a chance to go on TV and win big money and when the era of reality shows that gave you a chance to do that started he always encouraged me to try.

Of course I never did. Because when it came to something like physical challenges or having to do something that required any sort of strength, dexterity or endurance, at over 400 lbs. I never felt like I was even close to a feasible casting option.  Not to put myself down, but the only show I felt I might get cast on if I tried was The Biggest Loser; and truthfully my weight stopped me from applying for that one as well. In a world where I was already self-conscious about my weight, my appearance and myself, why would I put myself out there for everyone else to talk about and shame? That was what I really felt I would be doing by auditioning for ANYTHING.

All I could think about was being a kid and having our entire class going out for PE (Physical Education) Class together. It didn’t matter what we were playing: softball, basketball, volleyball, dodge-ball. When it came time to pick teams, my name was never called. I was always the last one standing there, and whoever ended up with me was forced to take me and I stood there fearful of what they would say. Let’s face it; we all knew what they were thinking “She’s no good at this game; she’s too fat to play.”

Every single time I thought about auditioning for Big Brother that fear and that memory paralyzed me. But I am NOT that scared little girl anymore. I’m not afraid to put myself out there. If there is anything I have learned since I lost the weight it’s that I can do anything that I set my mind to. I can accomplish anything that I am determined to accomplish.

In the last year I have managed to:

  1. Go to school to pursue my desire to become a Transformation Specialist and Personal Trainer.
  2. Go to school to become a Cooper Approved Wellness Coach
  3. Met my heroes Chris and Heidi Powell
  4. Ran My First Half Marathon
  5. Gifted One of my Blog Readers with a Disney Half Marathon Adventure.
  6. Ran three more Half Marathons during my training for the Tinker Bell Half Marathon
  7. Completed the Tinker Bell Half Marathon
  8. Moved across the country to take a new job at a Ladies only Gym Facility as their Weight Loss and Wellness Coach
  9. Gifted Another of my Blog Readers with a Disney Half Marathon Adventure.

671e345ec71811e39d0724be059614f0_8And I still have another month left before a calendar year is up. I’ve accomplished amazing things in the last year.  All of these things have led me in the same direction; they enable me to make sure that I make my father proud of me, that I follow my dreams and keep myself motivated, that I pay it forward to others on a regular basis and that I help others in the fight against obesity.

It was with those four major motivations in mind that I decided; “You’re damn right. I’m going to audition for Big Brother 16!”

I am sure that thousands upon thousands of people enter. I’m NOT sure that in the few minutes I had on video that I convinced them that I would make a good addition to the house. But I am sure that just by applying I achieved something. I achieved the courage of knowing that this is something I can do. I achieve the accomplishment of knowing that if chosen, my weight won’t hold me back. I achieved the excitement of realizing that if I was selected, I would be able to share my story with millions and millions of people watching and that I wouldn’t be worried about what they said or about being ashamed of myself. In fact, I’d be hoping that if nothing else came out of being in that house, that I was able to touch the life of just one more person and motivate them. I’d be hoping that by hearing my story someone else realizes that if I can win the fight against obesity and go on to accomplish dreams like this, that they could too.

The house guests selected will enter the Big Brother House in just 62 days. I may or may not be one of them; I have no idea when house guests are selected, when they know if they are chosen or what not, but I know that if I was picked I wouldn’t be allowed to tell you. Which means you’ll just have to tune into the show on June 25th to find out for sure.

When they extended the original audition date from April 4th to April 25th there was a part of me that said “Well, I guess they haven’t found what they were looking for just yet,” and felt a smidgen of disappointment.

But then I realized that whether I get on or not, I accomplished great things and learned a great lesson just by auditioning for the show. And guess what? I was able to share that with you. So whether they pick me or not, I will know without a shadow of a doubt that I wasn’t the last one standing there and that my weight had nothing to do with it and I will walk away from this whole thing knowing that no matter what happens, when it comes to the fight against obesity, there are a lot of people out there who have already chosen me. After all, I’m the captain of #TeamSlenderSeekers!

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

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About (Pandora) The Author

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender
Jaime "Pandora" Williams

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