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Two years to a new life...

I walked into the studio filled with hope and excitement. Paint, buckets, brushes, and drop cloths filled the multi colored space which I was desperately ready to make my own. Many friends and family members offered to come and help with the task ahead: We must paint and set up the studio in less than 48 hours.

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To move into this space, things were simple, easy even. I thought this moment of success would feel more momentous, but really, it felt like work. With all the work that needed to be done, I was elated, joyful, and stressed to no end….

This picture captures the joy and stress pretty well....don't you think?

This picture captures the joy and stress pretty well....don't you think?

March 12, 2016, as we furiously worked to make Infinitely Fit the space I imagined, I didn’t know how pivotal the decision to move into a commercial space was for me in all aspects of my life, not just for my business.

At the time, this decision seemed to be based on business facts, and some emotions tied strictly to the business growth. I had no idea how much it meant in every facet of my life.

When I moved Infinitely Fit into the studio where we now run our daily inspiration, motivation, and just plain fun, I found freedom from my past and found hope for a brand-new future. It opened what felt was a whole new way of seeing and being.

I began to look at everything as if I was balancing on my head or walking without my V-8.

I had already been fighting to stay in the life I had because that’s what I’m “supposed” to do. And my new perspective amplified those feelings. And I just couldn’t stay any longer.  

Over the course of the following two years, my whole life changed.

I was married to a Marine for nearly 14 years before we separated just after the studio opened.

I was a full time single mom 90% of the time due to deployments, and now I see my son occasionally throughout the weeks and every other weekend.

I was the leader of my small family, and now I am alone.

I had a middle schooler and now I have a high schooler.

I ran a small operation business out of my garage, and now I have trainers and overhead to worry about.

I had a home, that even though we rented, was my home, I now live with a friend.

I had a healthy fit body, now I have a healthy and less fit body.

I had many friends whom I could count on, now my friends are scattered or the relationship has run it’s course.

I had my “Framily” in the form of Bestie, her husband and my nieces, and now, they live across the country.

I had my bestie to go to happy hour, plan a girls day or just be there for each other on a whim, and now we have to work hard to even coordinate time to talk.

Before March 14, 2016, I thought I was the girl who could tackle anything and still have it all…

Before I was bold enough to take on the gym and leave my marriage, I was working towards everything I felt I “should” have and want. I can’t say that I don’t still look for what I think I “should” want in life, but I am much more aware, and listen to my internal desires more and more frequently.

So, you ask, what have I learned by flipping my life upside over the span of two years?

Probably more than I can ever articulate in this short post, but here is my best attempt:


The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.
— Robert Burns

The quote is the start of the process, not the whole story. What it doesn’t explain is that when the plans go awry, that’s when real life happens, learning ensues, and character is built. It’s what we need.

Continuously flipping everything on its head for the last two years didn’t break me, it grew me, my relationships, my resiliency, my self-confidence, my coping skills, and so much more.

It makes me think of muscle breakdown. When we workout, we are actually tearing our muscle fibers. That is the purpose of loading the muscles. Then, our bodies repair the muscles and the fibers are stronger than before.

Our whole body works that way, so what if we embrace the breakdown process for all aspects of our well-being: mentally, emotionally, spiritually, relationally. Because It A-L-L breaks down.

It happens all at once or in waves, but some aspect of life will fall short of our expectations; then we start again. Rinse and repeat.

Let’s be honest, life keeps moving whether we intentionally start again or not. The choice to start again provides greater growth and faster healing. The choice to resist the change forces us to stay in the pain longer. And don’t kid yourself, it is a choice!

Change is inevitable, the choice to move with the change is optional. There are far greater benefits to making the choice to move with the change rather than resist.

Maybe you have a cascading affect of change like mine has been over the last two years, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be small changes that add up to make a big impact. Embracing change makes the ride a little more enjoyable and moves you through more change faster, so you see the results you want sooner.

I encourage you to evaluate your change resistance to the things going on in your life, so that you can make a conscious choice to change or stay the same. Being aware is the first step to moving forward, healing past wounds, and building character that provides resiliency.

Thank you for all who have been a part of this journey. I look forward to celebrating again with you next year and many more to come!

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Fearless...stripped down to just be

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I spent year in the church trusting in God, finding my way, trying to obey all the rules of the faith while seeking an authentic relationship with my maker. When I initiated my divorce, my conflicting world became more apparent. I wanted to have this unbelievable unwavering and perfect faith that others could commend and follow, but that’s not what it looked like. It looked real and ugly.

Following a set of rules has never brought me closer to God, in fact, it often took me further from him. The rules kept me from what the church kept telling me to do which was “let go and let God.” I never understood how to follow the rules and let go. I still don’t. I do however understand better than I ever have what it feels like to be stripped down of all the things I most covet.

In the last year I have lost my husband, significantly reduced the engagement I have with my son (almost as if he went off to college), lost a relationship with a close personal friend, my “framily” in San Diego have almost all moved away, lost some of my health, stopped sleeping, and my business has managed to just sustain but not thrive through the difficulties.

I used to see myself as superwoman, like my mom (my words not hers). I have a business, I am a part time single mom because my husband deploys, I am a loving and patient wife, I’m a fierce philanthropist, I plan gatherings with friends and framily, take my nieces on dates, I work out daily and eat well, and I still manage to get to church every Sunday with my son a part of the worship band. I defined myself by what I thought I was supposed to be.

Over the last few weeks, I have had the harshest of change, the most difficult of which is my declining health. The second is the impending inevitable departure of my Bestie. As I sat thinking about it and how to make this into a positive, I struggled. To remain present and not always be angry, and shutting everyone out is a struggle. Feeling like a victim is a deep hatred of mine only surpassed by acting like one. As I struggled with my beliefs about my character and personality in contrast to how I was handling it, I just let go. I thought, “I can’t eat this or drink this away. It’s too much, I could literally kill myself trying. I can’t pretend like it’s not happening because it is.” So I decided I was too tired to come up with anything, so surrender to it for now.

When I awoke the next morning, I was reeling through all the pain and fear. I couldn’t stay in my own head and didn’t have the capacity to meditate and stay in the moment so I tried to numb it or make sense of it by reading. I was reading Fearless by Arrianna Huffington and the chapter happened to be on fearlessness in God and death. I almost skipped it to be honest.

As I read in the quiet of the early morning, I was recounting my spiritual journey. I don’t have a fear of death and I think that’s partially because I lost people very close to me at very young ages well before I felt it should be their time. Everyone dies and we never know when, so I don’t spend time in fear of that, but I also don’t embrace that it has not yet happened and I still get to enjoy (or not) life.

Reading and recounting and evaluating my situation, my perspective of my current state changed. I have a choice to make:

1-  I live in mourning of what is lost and fear of the VERY unknown future.
2- I look at this moment as the ultimate strip down I have been wanting and just BE.

Since my weight loss in 2011, I have been struggling to figure out who I am and what I want. When I realized how little weight loss does for confidence and self-image, I was at a loss and kept seeking outside sources to make that happen.

But the truth is in any given moment, we are who we were in our past. The series of actions and thoughts created us and if we want a future with new, we have to start here and now with new.

Although I would NEVER choose for my Bestie to leave my close proximity, maybe it’s what we need to grow and be better for each other. I won’t define myself by our relationship the way I do with her here, I can’t. Maybe if I can’t define myself by my “just work hard and it will be OK” body, then who am I? Not “what am I?”

These thoughts are a work in progress, but I know I long to be the person who doesn’t place my self worth in my body or my friends and family saying I’m enough (which by the way the always do and I still don’t believe it). I’m not there, people, but I long for it. Like a deep calling to be connected to something just waiting inside me. I’m guessing I need to just BE, but I can tell you this, that is a new skill I am going to have to work on.

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Long, hard look

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You may or may not know of my current situation, but I am almost a year into my marital separation. It's amicable, but that doesn't make things easy. We just went to court for the final hearing, and now we wait for the decree in the mail.

I sit here baffled that our almost 15 year relationship is ending. Throughout this divorce journey, I have had to face more of my demons than ever before. Facing those demons isn’t easy, but it has always been worth it.

After the hearing, my ex and I went to eat and discussed the ups and downs of the marriage, sharing some more pain from the past and hope for the future. We both had moments of emotion, but mostly there was an air of uncertainty as we awkwardly navigated our budding new normal.

It was extremely difficult to sit across the table from him as he shared his new life. A life without me. A life where my opinion doesn’t count, or at least doesn’t have to count. A life where I let go and let him be him in a way I was never capable during our marriage.

We were 22 and 23 when we married and we were still those ages when we had Kiddo who is now fourteen. We barely knew ourselves and knew each other even less.

Life without each other is a brief moment compared to life with each other. I have more years of memory in a family with my ex than I have years of conscious memories in my family life growing up. Whether we were best for each other or not, that’s a lot of time to spend with someone.

As I drove to pick up my son to spend the night with me, I thought about the conversations between my ex and me over the last year. I thought about the times in my marriage I dug in deep to be everything to everyone and the times I skated. I am and always have been imperfect and have always struggled with my imperfection.

Fortunately, during this twenty-five minute ride, I experienced a new tape being played in my head. Not one of accepting imperfection, rather one of “I gave it my all, damn it!”

The pain I had experienced as my ex told me of the things he was now doing which I begged him to do for years, began to turn to strength. I suddenly felt empowered. I began saying aloud, “I was worth it. I AM worth it.” 

I know it sounds unlikely, but the change felt instant. Suddenly I felt an emotional healing that physically lifted my posture, strengthen my spirit, and softened my heart. In the blink of an eye driving north on the 163, my usual self-talk tapes of defeat, failure and guilt turned to strength, power, and love...for me.

I didn’t know what to do with the feelings or how to process the information that changed so suddenly, so I decided to drive to work to do a couple of things to gather my thoughts. As the thoughts gathered, I realized the only way for me to solidify this tape change was to share this with my ex.

I drove to pick up my son, and when I arrived, I asked him to go to the car so I could talk to Dad. When my son was out of ear shot, I told my ex that I had to share something important for my own sense of closure. I said, “I hurt because you wouldn’t do the things I was asking for and now that I am gone, you are. I am happy for you, but I hurt because I am worth it. I am worth the work and I always was. I am worth it, and I need you to know that. Its not all your fault. I didn’t know I was worth it, so I didn’t ask for it. But I am and was worth it.”

He apologized, I cried, we hugged, and I left. No grandeur.

When I got in the car to take my son and his friend home, we chatted and laughed a bit. Nothing like two teenage boys to provide some comic relief from the heaviness of the day. I am and will forever be grateful my ex and I had that moment together, and I am grateful it was brief. 

Since we have been back home, I have been trying to write this blog. I want to write it because it is a hugely defining moment in my life that I believe needs to be shared, but I also want to be careful not to vilify my ex or expose the intimacies of our situation.

Since writing this blog (and I have been doing it for at least two hours), I realized something more important than finally believing I am worth it…In case that wasn’t enough…

I realized that I have waited my whole life for someone to show me I am worth it, but I have never tried to treat myself with that same respect. I have constantly measured my worth and value by the yard stick others use for my life. That's not how I want to live any longer. 

This divorce has taught me so much about me. The more I am willing to take long hard looks in the mirror, the more I can confront. The more I confront, the more beauty and depth I see in the woman before me. I’m elated and terrified that this is just the beginning…

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"I'm proud of you"

I'm proud of you. I don't know about you, but those four little words strung together can make an impact like few others in my life. 

Just today I received a phone call from my big sis. She really amazes me sometimes with her perspective of me and my journey to my business. (She also has a sixth sense and always knows things before I tell her, but that's a different topic all together.) When she called me kind of out of the blue, it was just to catch up. She went on to tell me that she was just talking about me and how she believes a friend of hers can be successful in her similar business because I am successful in mine.

It stopped me in my tracks filled with humility and uncertainty. Rather than being appreciative of the comment, I was almost argumentative with my sister saying that it sounds like this person is even more successful than me.

You're probably reading this thinking: But you ARE successful. You're in business, your doors are open and things are growing; how many people have that?

The truth is she's right and you're right! I have success in my business and my life. I see it when I pay attention, but day-to-day it's easy to forget the journey at which I've already succeeded and the little steps along the way. 

In early years on this journey the thought that someone else was more successful would have gotten stuck in my head. I would have decided that since they are more successful, I am a failure (now that's a blog for another day). I would have allowed it to eat me alive, defeating my future attempts at the next milestone of success on my journey ahead. 

This time was different. I heard the words my sister said, almost immediately tuning them out. I felt and heard the loud and negative bitch in my head telling me I am not successful- I've failed. But then I heard my sisters words again. She was trying to tell me that she was proud of me, and a couple sentences later, that's exactly what she said. Had I allowed the loud negative thoughts to plague me, I never would have heard the most important words my sister had for me today. 

She would have said those positive words, but I never would have received them as the gift she intended. If I hadn't opened my mind to receive those words, when things get harder during this journey (and they will), I wouldn't have that gift to lean on. 

I'm eternally grateful to my sister for her words of encouragement, and not just for the content of her being proud of me, or for the future memory of that moment. I'm also grateful that her moment of kindness unlocked awareness of strength inside me and gratitude for my journey, completed and incomplete.

The healing and growth I have had over the last few years is not only palatable, but it is being put into action even without conscious effort. If this sounds a little like a self-kudos moment-- IT IS! I'm proud of me for numerous reasons right now! 

Thanks to my big sis for always being my cheerleader and supporter, and for helping me see an accurate reflection of my journey in this moment.  

I hope this encourages you to keep working towards a healthy mindset and emotional health. You are worthy of believing in yourself. Until you believe that about yourself, I'm here to remind you!

I'm proud of you for every bit of effort you have put into you, for making every hard decision that allowed you to step into a better version of yourself, and for just showing up, reading a blog, getting out of bed, or saying a prayer when it was hard to even exist. You're valuable to this world just because you are you!

Please feel free to comment below, share with friends and family or email me personally. lj@infinitely-fit.com. 

LJ Eastmead

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Replacing My Mask

As I stood in my bathroom, looking into the mirror applying my make up for the third day in a row (one time a month is about my average), I was struck by a thought. Since my recent weight gain has settled in and I cannot seem to get the weight to drop for a multitude of reasons (some I can control, some I cannot), I feel an overpowering need to replace my “mask”.

Finishing the make-up application, I was so aware of my attempt to replace my “hot body” mask for a “great hair and mediocre make-up” mask. Since I can’t seem to wrap my head around consistently eating well, I decided I would fix something else. I’m not accepting anything- I’m just moving on.

Don’t get me wrong, moving on can be a healthy means of leaving old habits behind. And right now when I actually do something with my hair and put on make-up, I feel more beautiful and attractive. But let’s be honest, that’s not all that’s happening here.

I am unbelievably insecure about my looks. And not just my body but my face as well. My husband teases me because I always have my mouth open to make a silly face in every picture. I do it as a mask. I do it because I can laugh with people and never have to be laughed at. In my head, people will ridicule and laugh at me when I am not making a “pretty face”. Even worse, I feel like I look good but find out that someone else doesn’t think so. I’m an adult and logically know that most people don’t care what I look like in pictures, but my sensitive and previously damaged ego is more of a feeler than a thinker.

The worst part is that no one else can fix this issue for me. My husband, friends and family cannot tell me enough times how beautiful I am so that I will actually start believing it. Even if they could fix it for me, they would have to follow me around all day and night, every day and night saying, “You’re beautiful” every two minutes in order to thwart the bitch in my head. Even then, I am not sure she would stop because she can attack me when I least expect it and no one is looking.

There’s more to this change than just stopping the loud bitch in my head. I have been quieting her down increasingly more and more over the last year; the next step is to replace her. She doesn’t serve me any longer. She doesn’t protect me from others and their potential attacks. She hurts me, holds me back and reminds me of all of my fears and failures. But she’s not just wrong- something else is right!

There is beauty in me that’s skin deep, but there is also a beauty in me that radiates from the inside out and deserves the best I have to give. She deserves the best from the people around her, and shouldn’t put up with anything else. She selflessly and generously gives to the community of people around her because she cares. She is a precious diamond. Gosh that sounds cheesy and silly! (If you just read that diamond line, I worked hard to keep that in here. My less than romantic side is grossed out by it!)

As cheesy and silly as it sounds, it’s truth. It’s the most beautiful and freeing truth I have heard from myself in a long time. I am an extremely flawed and imperfect person, but I am a beautiful person. A beautiful person who wants heads to turn when others see me, and hearts to open when they spend time with me.

Why do so many of us believe they aren’t enough? That regardless of what we do, achieve, experience, and share we are inadequate? Adequate is different than perfect, and none of us are perfect, but we are certainly adequate in just about anything and better than adequate in many areas.

I don’t know what your bitch says to you, but here is the daily list of failures my loud bitch likes to lie to me about:

·         You’re a terrible mom- you are going to drive your kid to be an unproductive member of society who is a (fill in your choice of addiction)

·         Your husband is not being fulfilled because you’re not good enough, attractive enough, fun enough, etc.

·         You are not savvy enough to run a business

·         You will never achieve the business you envision

·         You failed at this before why wouldn’t you fail this time?

·         Your clients can’t lose weight if you can’t even maintain your own weight

·         You don’t have anything important to say, why do you talk so much?

·         You want to be a professional speaker? Have you heard yourself?

·         You’re so ugly! How did you ever think you were attractive?

·         You look so old, are you sure your birth certificate is right? (OK, that second part is my sense of humor right in this moment)

And the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on…

Most likely if you’re still reading this blog, you have a list too. Maybe the same, maybe different. Either way, you probably can feel every insult as if it was the familiar voice you hear.

Honestly, as I take a look at this list and absorb it- Stockholm’s Syndrome makes sense. Just like a kidnapper holds someone captive and the victim starts to identify with and defend the poor choices of the perpetrator, I listen to and defend the bitch in my head.  I have the freedom of choice every single day to listen to the loud bitch or not, yet often times, I choose to not only listen to but to defend her! That sounds crazy, but I do it. I believe she’s justified by memories; moments I recall when she says those things. They are snap shots in time, but I take them to be the entirety of my story.

Our rational brains can’t make sense of it, but we don’t operate from a logical place all that often. There’s a theory that says we make decisions only with our emotions. We think through things and make our pros and cons lists taking 3 days to make some big decisions, but the truth of the matter is the decision was still emotionally instilled. Maybe the greater emotion that took over while you waited 3 days was greater than the impulsive emotion, but often, our first emotional decision is our final decision.

I don’t know about you, but I want to change my emotional reactions. I want to say things out loud that are true. I want to not just drink my own kool-aid that I spout out to anyone who listens. I want to live it out as an example to others, make an impact on my community, and change the way we think and act as a culture.  

As always, thanks for reading our blogs. We welcome any feedback, comments and suggestions. We want to share material that you want to learn about or hear. Please comment on the blog or email fitness@infinitely-fit.com for any ideas or thoughts.

 

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The Dirt Behind the Fairytale

It’s time to free myself of the fear of someone “finding out the truth”, so today I stop hiding behind my weight loss success story and divulge more dirt behind the fairytale. And in order to get the full effect of the present, you have to know the history of my journey...

Most of my teen and adult years prior to my significant weight loss journey, I weighed approximately 160-165 and wore a size twelve. I was probably a sophomore in high school when that weight settled onto my body staying put until I was thirty-one years old. On occasion those pounds would find extra friends to cuddle up with in my hip, thigh and butt areas pushing my weight higher and my pants tighter, eventually needing a size fourteen. I even spent time near 200 pounds (without being pregnant) and squeezed into a size fourteen, but I was honestly more of a size sixteen to eighteen.

The last few years, I have spent most of my energy struggling to maintain a healthy weight and not get obsessive and lose too much weight. I have over-trained my body and tried to recover from its effects while the fear of “getting fat” stalking me like a bad ex-boyfriend.

The pressure is immense in the health and wellness industry, but mostly from my own thoughts. My clients and the average Joe or Jane still think I look fit and healthy and some even desire to look “as good” as me. Day in and day out, I stress over every pound I have gained….and, trust me, pounds I have gained. This time around, it’s more than pounds, it’s inches and pants sizes too.

After a couple years of a highly stressful life kicking me around, I’m back up to my fighting weight range around 161-163 most days. My thighs jiggle more, my tummy is soft and pouchy, and “Baby got back!” On the bright side, I did start filling out some bras. With all the extra fluff and jiggle, no one has said a word to me. Obviously some people have noticed, but most politely say I still look great or really just haven’t noticed.

The reason they have yet to notice is that I may have gained weight and size, but I didn’t gain so much weight and size that I am back up to a size twelve. When I was ten to fifteen pounds lighter, I was wearing a size four, which I never dreamed was even possible! Now I wear a size six or eight depending on the cut and style of the clothing. So the weight has increased more than the size, especially when I consider my past of weighing the same and wearing two to three sizes larger clothing.

You’re probably waiting on me to get on with my point, so here it is…I am clearly a much healthier 162-ish than I ever was in my teens and twenties. My body isn’t completely unhealthy; I am just carrying some extra weight.

Without boring you with all the nitty gritty details, I have earned every pound gained. My life has been stressful, and I am a stress eater. I also need more socializing than the average person to keep my mind healthy, and my social life has wine involved at least 60% of the time. In addition to the stress eating, I was eating extra because I wasn’t sleeping. And when we don’t sleep, our hormones are off and we tend to think the sleepiness is hunger. So again, more eating.

Now here I am, feeling the pressure of looking the part as a trainer while holding true to my principles and values as a trainer and coach. I believe that people,including me, need to take time to lose weight by caring for their bodies when things have been out of whack.

I could choose to go on some restrictive diet losing ten pounds so I am comfortable with the number on the scale and the one stitched into my clothes.  There are ton of diets to choose from- paleo, vegan, low carb, cleanses, etc. But I know better and really believe my own advice. I believe it’s more important to live a balanced life caring for myself as a human being, not as a fitness model whose worth is found in others coveting my body. My obsessive trainer wants to diet and take extreme measures, but my true coach knows that will only make things worse.

This is probably the hardest form of getting comfortable in the uncomfortable I have yet to experience. I want to lose a few pounds, probably five to eight and I want to comfortably fit into a size six no matter where I shop. And I am going to slowly work towards those goals by first and foremost, RESTING!

It’s counterintuitive to my core, but I speak the truth. I need to be kind to my body by getting good sleep. And to get good sleep, I need to exercise a healthy amount and eat well (not perfectly), create clear boundaries at work and home, and spend time doing things I enjoy and are relaxing for me. As these habits become more regular again, the deeper rest will come and the next level of mental, physical and spiritual healing will be complete.

Sweet dreams!

 

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LIES VS TRUTH

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LIES VS TRUTH

After much lamenting over what to write, I realized that many of the things I am tired of or don’t want to do are because there is a possibility of a “should” being placed in front. We should exercise, we should eat well, we should be grateful, we should be disciplined, we should be diligent with money, we should be kind to ourselves and others. Again, like a teenager, I’m rebelling against all responsibility. It doesn’t matter right now that these are things I enjoy and have benefits. The rebellion is all in the should!

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I'm proud of her...because she's me...

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I'm proud of her...because she's me...

I have been working on many marketing pieces these last few weeks and spending more time than any one person should for their own mental well-being. As I got into marketing more on Instagram, I found that there are many more photos of very cut, muscular, almost-naked people on there than almost anywhere else on the internet. Considering that is the social media the younger generation uses, it's a bit disheartening- especially as the mom of a tween. Although that was bothersome, it is not why I decided to blog.

I am constantly posting about how I live a healthy lifestyle, and be certain that I am showing you the best of me most times. I want to show people how I do healthy things so they can join me on this side of physical health. It was life-changing for me in multiple ways and I want you to experience a piece of that, but my story isn't your story. Maybe choosing to live a healthier life is part of that, and maybe it isn't. That's only for you to decide. But if you are only recently following me, you may not know fully who I am. This woman right here is who I am to my core:

She had the guts to make a commitment to run a half marathon and then another when she was overweight. She was confident enough to squeeze into her spandex, lace up her shoes, and let all of the ripples in her body shake in front of the world. The photo above is me finishing my second, very slow half marathon at Disneyland with a smile on my face because I was so relieved I didn't have to run on my plantar fascitis foot any longer! But that 188lb, 5'8" woman is me. She got me to my 150lb self and even down to 145lb (until she realized it was too low). I'm grateful she had courage that I, ironically, don't always have in this body.

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This woman above...she is still insecure, she still overeats regularly and beats herself up over poor choices. She lives in a place of fear that one day she is going to wake up and be the size of the other woman. She obsessively weighs herself because she believes if she stays thin, she still has value. And somehow if she gained weight, she would be of no use to her clients. Or worse yet, everyone who find out she really is a phony who over-eats and practices unhealthy habits.

It's true the struggle is real everyday. Even living a fit, active, healthy lifestyle, I struggle with body image that is ingrained from 31 years of feeling inadequate because I was overweight and "big-boned". Just because I'm in a smaller body doesn't mean that goes away. I don't know if it ever will, but I am getting more OK with that. I'm proud of 188lb LJ for all she accomplished- 2 half marathons, running businesses, graduating from college after being a Marine, a wife and a mom. She did the best she knew how, and right now as I sit here and write this, I am so grateful she had the courage to tackle all of those things regardless of the lies her mind was telling her.

I think we all need to take a few cues from my strong, enduring, "I don't care what you think" and, yes, heavier past self. Tell those lies in your own head to "SHUT UP!" and starting doing it anyway! The lies we tell ourselves are just that, lies! Don't believe everything you hear in that head. Take a moment to evaluate what you are hearing. Is it true?

I don't know who you are reading this or why you chose to stick it out, but I can tell you this one thing. God placed you on this earth for a special purpose He has JUST FOR YOU! No one else can accomplish your purpose, and no one else will! You have beauty, talent, and a passion for a reason, don't let anyone take that away from you- ESPECIALLY YOU!

I'm proud of LJ then and now...because she's me!

Thanks for listening!
LJ Eastmead
lj@infinitely-fit.com
 

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Forward-ish Journey

When we're young, we are creative, fluid thinkers. We aren't confined by the world's view of how things work or are "supposed" to go. We chose to use boxes as spaceships, toasters as toy launchers, and couch cushions to make people sandwiches. We were not afraid to make mistakes or look foolish because to us, we weren't making mistakes or being foolish. Somewhere along the way though, we learned that creativity can make us look stupid, so we began to practice linear thinking. Even when we were teenagers, we wanted to be different and unique, but only if It meant staying in the confines of "normal". Somehow we gradually grew out of fluid thinking and moved into linear thinking. We even began to look to our left and right so we knew we were still moving in the straight line.

I envy the adults who have never really let go of the willingness to look stupid in the name of creativity. I may be willing to be the first bad dancer on a dance floor or volunteer for some silly show, but my fear of looking stupid trying a new venture, or worse, failing completely, stops me dead in my tracks even if I am moving 1000 MPH. I am more of a linear thinker than I would care to admit.

If you think about it though, life is any BUT linear, it's messy! We take 5 steps forward, 3 to the side and 3 back just to be in a new place. We even take steps spinning around in circles believing we're moving forward. Recently, I saw a picture of the hard core linear thinking I implement in my health jouney. Here I am almost 4 years into a whole new lifestyle, still fearing that if I go backwards it's going to look like it did 4 years ago, but that couldn't be further from the truth. In order to go back that far, I would have to spend a ton of time remembering my steps to the left and right, back stepping, forward leaping, and of course, circle spinning. There is no way I could go back. I'd still be going forward in my journey, just creating new habits; however, to create those habits of the past, I would have to unlearn the habits and information I have acquired over the last 4 years. How likely is that?

If you don't know, I suffered a pretty severe concussion almost 4 months ago. It's a long road to full recovery, but at least I don't lose my words as often, and I don't get nauseas when I workout. I still get headaches and have to take it easy and remember to get lots of rest- to include rest days from working out. That has been so hard for me. My go-to for stress management is working out at full intensity, but I don't have that as an option any more- no soccer, no half marathon training (yes, I did run one before I realized how bad things were), and no pushing the strength limits. I probably have to work out like normal people now- at least that's what everyone keeps telling me. What I have found is that my health is not rapidly declining as I had predicted. I am seeing my weight fluctuate through its normal 5 pound range and my clothes still fit, however, I am a higher body fat percentage (to be expected) but in a completely acceptable place. I haven't had to change my diet all that much because I eat pretty well (most times, and if I listen to my body, I'm not as hungry because I am not burning as many calories. There is nothing straight or linear about the path I am on, but I am still on my health journey moving forward-ish. Like one of my clients pointed out to me, "Just because you cannot workout like you could before doesn't mean your health is no longer a priority." She's right! If anything it's probably more of a priority. I find myself listening to my body more because the whiplash effect I had with the concussion is worse than the concussion. I take significantly more rest days when my body hurts, take yoga when I can, and consider walking my dog and training my clients enough for a day's workout.

I'm starting to see that this part of my journey is growing me even if it feels like it's a set back. I am less toned, a little hippier, and feeling soft, but the truth is I am OK. I have to work through the mental journey of being comfortable with greater rest- I don't want to stress or obsess over resting more, and I don't want to be so OK with resting that I create a habit of laziness. Like anyone else, I have to talk myself off a ledge from time to time, but I am going to be just fine and "survive" this down period until I can do more. Who knows?! Maybe this period of rest is going to contribute to overall ability to exercise for my lifetime. That's why the Infinitely Fit motto is "Fitness for a lifetime. Any age. Any stage." We all have different stages of health at different ages, and we need to be willing to zig and zag with the punches as they come. Keep fighting for what you want and one day, you may wake up and find that it's no longer a fight, just like I have with my fight for my healthy weight. Don't be afraid to share your own comments thoughts or journey! I would love to hear! -LJ

 

 

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Journey Trilogy Part 3: Lifestyle change and weight loss

Back in our old stomping grounds, things were looking good in San Diego. Although we loved Okinawa, we were really excited to be back! San Diego is where we met and fell in love and we reunited with our best friends. I got a job almost immediately doing what I had been doing in Okinawa- I was a Family Readiness Officer (FRO) for a Marine Corps unit. It's a high demand job, but I loved it and worked with some of the best people in the Marine Corps.  

Jan 2011- I'm wearing the same shirt as I am in the photo below. (Don't ask me what I was talking about, but my very-Italian-hand-talking-genes were obviously in over drive.)

Jan 2011- I'm wearing the same shirt as I am in the photo below. (Don't ask me what I was talking about, but my very-Italian-hand-talking-genes were obviously in over drive.)

While working there, my bestie was working with our supporting organization, MCCS, and they were about to start this competition regarding health. As she was filling out the paperwork, she asked me to be her accountability partner. I said yes, but hearing there was a competition, I had to be a part of it! I contacted the man running the program for them and asked if we could join in. He told me I would have to be in charge of my own group because it was too many people for him to handle. Creating my own group is exactly what I did. About 8 women signed up and we became a team of fierce competitors. We were committed to the changes, and even more so I was committed to winning! Similar to my Waist Wars program, we began tracking healthy habits. We had to drink enough water, eat some fruits and veggies, and move 30 minutes a day in order to gain points. The more we followed the habits, the more points we received, which meant the more likely it was to win. This was easy enough, I could get on board with those habits because they all made sense to me. Plus, I was always a believer that the American diet is, in part, so unhealthy because of what we weren't getting as much as what we were getting. It was a perfect fit for me to get moving in to a healthier direction. I was focusing on accomplishing healthy habits so I could win. Weight loss was a side effect of what I was doing in the competition. There was no part of my mind that thought this program or my new habits could help me lose weight. Maybe a few pounds, but I knew I was destined to be over 180 pounds the rest of my life.

After a month of following 3 simple habits and focusing on the habits, I had lost 3 pounds in a month (and won the competition). The real difference, though, was in the way I looked and felt. I dropped a pants size and I felt great. I had more energy, I slept better, my mind was clear and I just felt "lighter" and not in the weight sense. Since I was seeing results that I hadn't expected to ever happen again, I continued to follow and track the habits after the competition ended. The same outcome resulted: I kept losing 1/2lb a week, I felt amazing, and my clothes just kept getting too big.  (Side story: I even had a friend grab my pants by the crotch once, pull at them and tell me "You need to buy new jeans!" It was a little shocking because I didn't think they looked as big as they felt, and it was shocking because she grabbed my pants by the crotch.)

A few weeks after the competition ended, my step dad came to visit. I played soccer on Wednesdays, so he flew out on a Wednesday and left the following Thursday, in order to see me play twice. The first game, I felt like a million bucks. After playing a 50 minute game without a sub, I felt like I could run for another hour! My energy level was soaring! We went through the week long visit and I still followed my habits. The only difference is that my step dad loves to eat out, so we ate out a few times in the week. I ate foods I hadn't eaten in almost 2 months and I felt every bit of it! The following Wednesday, I played soccer again and I felt like crap! I thought I was going to feel like a soccer star running to and fro, and instead, I felt like a lethargic turtle (in case turtles aren't slow enough, I was a lethargic one.) After the game I was trying to figure out why I felt so tired and then the "ah-ha" moment came! I didn't fuel my body properly. From that point on, I kept as close to my habits as possible and kept from eating out. I had no problems maintaining that until several months later (which I'll get into another blog the reasons why). 

Sept 2011 with my two favorite people in the world!

Sept 2011 with my two favorite people in the world!

Within 6 months time, I had lost 23 pounds and completely changed my shaped. Even though I weighed less than I ever thought was possible again, I kept at the habits. I was 165 pounds in a size 8- that's a lot of muscle, folks! I didn't stop the habits because there was no finish line. When I get to 170 pounds I didn't think to myself, "I've made it!" I thought, "I feel amazing and the weight is just falling off. I don't want to stop!" It was the right kind of addiction until it truly became an addiction, but that's for another day. So there I sat after 6 months of being consistent, 23 pounds less than I started, feeling amazing, and in a body I didn't know I could even attain. My thoughts were about how to stay active and how to get more fruits and veggies into my body. I didn't think about calories or not eating anything I wanted, I just thought about being healthy. That's why I became a trainer. It's possible to do and I want you to feel amazing too. Don't worry about the weight, it will take care of itself. 

Shameless plug: If you can relate to any of the last 3 blogs, please check out my Waist Wars program. It could just be the steps you need to be successful in your own health journey. Also, don't hesitate to comment or reach out for advice! Thanks for listening! I'll be back soon! -LJ

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Journey Trilogy Part 2: Settling in to the weight

When I got to Okinawa and we settled in, I could feel how much weight I had really gained. It probably had to do as much with the fact that I was living in the land of the munchkins and am 5'8" and was 188lbs. Every car, chair, stair, parking space, bed, etc felt like it was made for a child. Not to mention I was trying to squeeze into a 14 and probably could have worn as large as an 18 in most things. I didn't fit in my bras or many of my clothes. It wasn't enough to want to make a change; however, I was fortunate that just living in Japan and having less stress, I lost 10 pounds in a few months time.Though I still ate out a ton, I was eating a ton of sushi, fish, and fresh foods and walked almost anywhere because it was easier than driving or getting a cab. Its not that it came off on it's own, it's just that I didn't make an intentional shift in mindset or lifestyle. There at sat at 188 pounds size 14/16 for years. I would ebb and flow with my workouts but I never dieted or even attempted real change. I actually developed my affinity for wine while I was there and had no desire to give it up (truthfully still don't- I practice discipline elsewhere).

Okinawa was such a pivotal time in my life in so many ways. My husband went from tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt to none to saving tens of thousands before we left. We also went from a marriage filled with resentment, anger, and detest to one that is usually saved for newly weds filled with love, acceptance, honesty, and maturity. Okinawa is a place I long for because (aside from just loving the island), it has so much positive significance in my life. Sometimes I just envision the sheer joy I experienced out there.

Okinapa, Okinawa, Japan April 2010

Okinapa, Okinawa, Japan April 2010

Even with all of the positive things happening, I remember the negative feelings I had one day getting ready to go out with my husband and our friends. I don't remember where we were going, but it was a special outing, not just a regular weekend. Standing in my bedroom, I remember putting on my white pants and red blouse. As I looked in the mirror at my curvy self I thought, "I know I need to make a change, but I am not ready to commit to taking care of myself; plus I feel comfortable enough in my skin. Why change?" (I'm still not sure what "comfortable enough" means, but that's a whole other blog.) Out the door I went o eat, drink, and be merry. I was so blissfully happy in my life, to be honest, my health didn't matter to me. Looking back it's a scary thought. Knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss, and in that moment I was blissfully ignorant to the state of my health (notice I didn't say my weight). 

Still at 188 pounds, I decided to train for and run my first half marathon in Okinawa on my 30th birthday. Sadly, running all those miles, I lost 0 pounds. Of course I increased my food intake beyond what I actually needed because "I was fueling my body", and I had no desire to stop drinking wine. In fact, I am certain I justified greater wine consumption because I was running so many miles. I'm certain my overall health started improving when I started exercising regularly, but my waistline and my scale didn't budge and I still had a long journey ahead.

Disneyland Half Marathon Sept 2010

Disneyland Half Marathon Sept 2010

Three months after completing my first half marathon, we moved back to our old stomping grounds, San Diego, CA. While we were moving, I was training for my second half marathon in Disneyland, less than 2 months after moving back to the states. And San Diego is where I learned how to be healthy. Come back tomorrow for the last of the trilogy.

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Journey Trilogy Part 1: Massive weight gain

Although I said I was going to continue to blog about the deployment that followed my chronological blogging, I am going to skip ahead. From time to time, I will go back to some of the pivotal moments in my life journey, but I think it's time to give you the nuts and bolts of how I got to the point of weight loss and creating a healthy lifestyle (not in that order). 

In late 2004 we relocated to Jacksonville, NC, bought our first house and settled in for a long 3 years without deployments. We thought it would be just what the doctor ordered for our whirlwind lives together thus far. There was some truth to it, but more than not, all that time together proved difficult for our marriage. I started to gain some weight and was sitting at about 10 pounds heavier than my usual weight.

NC, 2005- 168lbs

I decided to get back to the Body for Life routine, but came across Body for Life for Women version, which proved much more successful. I dropped down to a size 8, worked out almost everyday and felt pretty good. I was working on getting funding to open an indoor playground for kids when another opportunity was dropped in my lap--I became a sweat-equity business partner in a double drive-thru coffee kiosk that was just about to open. It was a dream come true: I could work in an industry I loved and be a business owner without taking the risk of the financial backing! The position required many hours and much sweat! Sadly the sweat wasn't enough to offset the increased calorie consumption working 16 hour days for the first couple of months we were open. Once we had good, solid help, we got into our routine, and my days slowed down to about 12 hours a day. I spent so much time in my car and in the kiosk (which we didn't sell food), that I ate fast food constantly.

About 6 months into the opening of the coffee shop, my husband was received overseas orders for the family. We made the decision that the business opportunity was too good to walk away from which meant hubby was going overseas alone. 3 months later, my son and I stayed put in NC and my hubby moved off to Okinawa, Japan. At this point, I had already gained about 35 pounds and didn't even realize how big I had gotten. Within 3 months of him leaving, I was stressed to the max and had gained another 10 pounds! 35 pound weight gain in 1 year: That is not an exaggeration. I was almost 200 pounds with not a day of exercise in site. The stress was so intense and my business partner's expectations were beyond what I could give anymore, that I decided to quit.

I'm going to move to Okinawa to be with my husband, right? Nope!

Within a couple of days of quitting, one of my regular customers offered me a job on the spot. We were extremely tight financially, so I thought the guarantee of a job was more important than being with my husband. So off to the non-profit community for me! If you haven't been in the non-profit community before, it requires a lot of "meet and eat" scenarios. In the first month of working there, I gained another 5 pounds. Maintaining that 200 pound figure even proved difficult with the habits I had acquired. It was tiring and wearing on my body, but I couldn't see that my lifestyle was killing me.

For Christmas, my son and I flew to Okinawa to spend the holiday with my husband. I remember my best friend's husband seeing me for the first time in 3 years and his expression said it all, "How much weight did she gain?" He and I never talked about this, but I could see it written all over his face. The pounds were a shocking image. At that moment, I realized just how far out of control my weight really was, but I wasn't ready to address it. Seeing my husband for the first time in months fortunately distracted my attention from my weight gain and failures. Our marriage still wasn't great, but it was familiar and I had missed him, which was enough to bring me to something more positive. Touring the island, I immediately fell in love with the beauty, the people, the culture and just about everything about it. It didn't take long for my husband and I to decide it was time for us to join him in Okinawa. When I got back to reality, nothing slowed down. I had less than 3 months to get our house ready to rent out, our son and I cleared to move overseas and get 3 dogs to Japan. It was not an easy feat, but some how, I managed....That's it for today, but come back tomorrow for the next chapter of the "settled" weight story! The day after that will be how I lost it all and kept it off!

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