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What Causes You to Commit? The Value of an Accountability Partner

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What Causes You to Commit? The Value of an Accountability Partner

Chances are you know the formula for getting from Point A to Point B. Whether your goal is to lose 5 pounds or to get 8 hours of sleep per night or to learn how to do a handstand, you probably already know what it's going to take to get there. You can probably write it down:

Attend Health Defense class 3xs a week and replace afternoon cookies with fresh veggies. Walk for 30 minutes on other 4 days of the week.
 

Get into bed no later than 10 pm. Eliminate mindlessly watching TV after putting kids to bed.

If knowing how to accomplish something is so simple why aren't we checking new goals off our list every day? Well, knowing the formula is the easy part. It's committing to the change required for the formula; that's the tough part.

...Unless you have an Accountability Partner. Someone you know and trust, who understands and shares your goals and somehow who is going to hold you responsible for what you've said you would do. 

Think of it this way: you plan to go to Health Defense at 5:30 AM tomorrow. Your alarm goes off at 5 - it's cold out, your bed is warm, you're tired. You make endless excuses to yourself, turn off your alarm, and roll over. No biggie, right?  But what if you had an Accountability Partner? You texted each other last night and both of you committed to attend this morning's class. You may be hesitant to get up when your alarm goes off but there's no way you're missing class because you promised you would go. You don't want to let your friend down. 

Your Accountability Partner does not have to share every goal you have, but they should understand your goals and have similar ones. For example, your partner may not be looking to replace their afternoon cookies with fresh veggies. But if you are, they should be encouraging and check in with you to make sure you met your goal. Your partner should not be afraid to hold you accountable either. The idea is not for them to punish you if you don't meet every goal, but simply to help you in the most difficult element of getting where you want to be: committed. 

Find that person. Hold each other accountable. Commit. Succeed.

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Cathleen Lavelle
AFAA Certified Group Fitness Instructor

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Tough Week #30DayNoWeigh

So I'm having a bit of a tough week...Really the week just started, but it has been about the last 4-5 days. Life is funny though, because the 4-5 days before that I was on top of the world. I knew I wasn't going to stay so elated for a lifetime, but I thought things would go smooth for at least a few more days. I'm in a hard spot right now because the top people I would talk things out with face to face aren't around. I guess I am using my blog as my sounding board. 

The 4-5 days that were great, I knew whole-heartedly that I was blessed and life was going right despite my own actions. I knew I finally arrived at a place that I allowed God to take over and I was safe and could breath. Then something changed and I started to feel overwhelmed. As I reflect over the time, I am certain that my circumstances hadn't changed, just my perspective. It's crazy and wonderful how that can change so much. It's crazy because I am not sure how to get back there, and it is wonderful because I know changing my perspective can and will change my state of being. We have these emotions that we allow to affect everything. One small change can cause you to revert back to your old ways of "dealing" with things, and for me, that's weighing myself. Usually, when I want to weigh myself at a time like this, I would get together with one of a few friends and talk things out; the only problem is, none of them are available right now. This happened to me a couple of months ago too, but I at least still had my scale. HA! As soon as I wrote that sentence it made me laugh because my scale makes me feel worse most times, not better. Again perception is a powerful thing. 

This would normally be the time I would write something insightful and help you deal with your own issues of perception, but honestly, I don't have any advice. If you have a relationship with God, you could say you'll turn it over to him, and I am trying that. If you don't, you may say something like "this too shall pass" or look at the positives in your life and focus on what you're grateful for, and I am doing those too. On the other hand, sometimes you just deal. So right now, I'm just dealing. I want so badly to step on a scale and "take control" much like a drug addict wants another hit to lose control, to change our perspective. 

To close out in earnest: Thank you to those who have signed up for my 30 Day No Weigh. I would have given into the pressures if I wasn't "leading" you. Like I said when I released the video for my pledge, I need your support just as much as you could use mine! Please let me know how you are doing. I want to know! -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 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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