Being Grateful Changes Everything

Exactly one year ago I was headed home from Extreme Weight Loss Boot Camp.  Ah, boot camp.  Three months away from my family, three months of grueling workouts, three months of no car, no cable, and no say so in my daily life. Probably the hardest three months of my life.

Being chosen for the show and being whisked off to boot camp was exciting.  As we arrived at boot camp, we were thrilled to have the opportunity. As a group we were so grateful for a chance to change our lives.  We arrived with hopefulness about the future, anxiety about what was about to happen, and relief that the casting process was over. We had made it! I was on Season Four of Extreme Weight Loss! I was going to be training with Chris and Heidi Powell.  Somebody pinch me!

However, as the weeks and months wore on, it was easy to lose sight of the initial excitement that we felt.  I was tired.  I was homesick.  I was hungry.  I was sore.  I had zero privacy.  My life was not my own.  I had numerous tear filled phone calls with my husband.  I never wanted to leave boot camp, but it took everything I had to get through some of those days.

I tried to be strong, to not complain, to not sound pitiful when I called my husband, Scott.  I didn’t want him to worry about me.  I wanted him to know I was doing all right.  I wanted him to be confident in me.  It was tough for me.  It was hard on him too.  He was living his regular life, minus his wife of 23 years.  He was lonely and missed me terribly.

It could have been very easy to fall into the “poor me’s” or feeling unthankful for what was happening.  It’s not always a joy to get up at 5:30 in the morning, six days a week.  It’s not always easy to be excited about working out when your body already feels like it’s done everything it can that week.  Even when the amazing Chris and Heidi are the ones training you, it is still tough. 

By five or six weeks in, I was running on empty.  My body hurt.  My knees were aching constantly.  I missed my family terribly.  I missed my dogs.  I missed my church.  I missed sleeping in my own bed.  I missed my life.  But, I realized that the time I was taking was necessary to have more life.  I was on my way to a healthy life; to a longer life.

So, with that realization, my attitude changed.  I had to make a conscious effort to remember how amazing the opportunity was.  To remember why I was there.  Even though the days were long, and my body was exhausted, I decided that I would remain grateful for every moment.  I wanted every moment to count.  I knew that those moments would all add up to an incredible experience that few get to have.

I began to focus on my surroundings.  Colorado is beautiful.  Instead of dreading cardio in the mornings, I began to look at that time as “me” time.  I would spend those two hours listening to music I loved; often it was Praise and Worship from my church’s previous services.  Not your typical workout music, but it helped remind me of what was important, and to not stress about the little stuff that was driving me crazy at boot camp.  I began to take in my surroundings and enjoy the fresh air each morning. I would let my mind wander and dream about what life would be like when I was healthy.  Focusing on the good stuff made it so much easier to get through each day.

There are definitely other times when I have done the same thing.  Forgetting to focus on the good stuff.  The holidays tend to be that way for me.  I spend so much effort thinking about what presents to buy.  I am an obsessive wrapper (just ask my family about how hard it is to open a gift wrapped by me.  I may use a little too much tape). I love to decorate and spend hours getting the mantle “just right”.  I get so busy with my to do list that I forget to be thankful for the extra time with family, for the reason we celebrate. 

Do you find yourself in the same boat?  How many of us get pulled into the busy-ness of life that we forget to be grateful for our lives?  We focus on dinner, homework, and laundry so much that we barrel through the weeks and never stop to remember how great life really is.  We forget what an honor it is to get to raise kids, even though they drive us crazy sometimes. 

Boot camp was tough.  Life is tough.  But no matter what the situation is, find something to be thankful for.  If you are on a weight loss journey, celebrate every pound.  Don’t beat yourself up because you aren’t losing as quickly as you think you should.  Every pound lost is a great thing!  Celebrate your workouts.  Even when you didn’t feel like it was your best day at the gym, remember that any time working out is better than time sitting on the couch. 

Be thankful for your body.  Even if it isn’t exactly in the shape you would like it to be.  Be grateful that you can workout, that you always have a chance to make it better.  I had to remind myself of that a lot this year. 

As my time at boot camp came to an end, and I headed home, I knew that I had given it all I had for three months.  I had no regrets.  And when those curtains opened at my 90 day reveal and I saw my family for the first time in 12 weeks, I had never been more grateful in my life.  What are you grateful for today?