You got this!

by Becky Schnekser

Being active was never a choice for me growing up, I just was. My parents wouldn’t allow my siblings and I to go in and out of the house on weekends, summer break, or snow days; once we were ‘out’ for the day, we were out for the entire day. The deal was, once you came back ‘in’ you stayed there for the rest of the day, so naturally, we stayed outside, explored, ran around, played sports, and were just plain, active. I played soccer since the age of five and until two years ago, I was still playing. There were years that I did not play in organized leagues, a year that I tore my ACL and had to have surgery and physical therapy, but for the most part, I was playing soccer any chance I had. 

My family maintains a love/hate relationship with weight and lifestyle choices. Of my five siblings and two parents, I was slender compared to them all. I grew up watching my parents’ weights fluctuate between fad diets and lifestyle choices that were mostly not very healthy. Two of my four siblings inherited genes that made them larger than the rest of us and they struggled their entire life, even today, with weight gain. My other two siblings, it has taken longer but weight gain has snuck up on them as well. For me, it was a pregnancy. Prior to my first child being born, I had three miscarriages. When I became pregnant with my now nine-year-old daughter, I stopped physical activity and began eating whatever I wanted when I wanted believing that I was doing the best thing I could to produce a viable child. I did not want to lose another life my body had been tasked with creating and maintaining. I gained about fifty pounds in all. After giving birth, I was not happy, I began trying to work out again, getting back to healthy food choices and eventually hired a trainer to help me in desperation and frustration with myself and the state of my body. With that assistance, encouragement, and coaching, I was able to get my lifestyle, my body, and my confidence back. It took a lot of work and dedication. Since then, I have had another child who is now seven. During that pregnancy, I gained around twenty pounds and was back in my “regular” clothes the day after giving birth. I remained dedicated to healthy lifestyle choices and physical activity knowing that it was the best choice for myself and my unborn child at the time. I am in great physical shape today and make decent food choices, but it’s a constant journey for our entire lives. I am not where I want to be physically, I have stubborn belly fat that I cannot seem to kick, but I keep going. I know and recognize that at this point in my journey, it is my relationship with food and the choices I make every day in regard to food that is holding me back. 

At different times in our lives, we need different things to keep us healthy, keep us motivated, and maintain our self-care whether that is in caloric intake, body tone, the number on the scale, or the fit of our jeans. Sometimes, we need less effort, like when I was younger, I was naturally very active and playing travel soccer kept me in shape;  I did not have to be concerned with what I was eating necessarily. As we age though, body chemistry changes, caloric needs, and dietary variation changes. One mistake I have made and I believe many make, is in not listening to what our bodies need, what changes they are going through, and adjusting accordingly. We maintain habits, good or bad, over time which have long term effects than we realize in these moments. The most important thing, I believe, is that you are still trying, you are still working toward your health and fitness goals, you do not give up. Surround yourself with people who will push you when you need to be pushed, motivate you to make the best choices for your lifestyle, and inspire you to keep going on days when just getting out of bed are major feats. You are worthy of feeling good about yourself, find others that will honor you, and be there for you no matter what you need in that moment. For me it’s the #FitLeaders community, some days I need to hear from my community, and some days I am the motivational kick others need. 

You got this. 

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