Hello, and Sat Nam*! My name is Rachelle, and I started my 18 Week Challenge last Tuesday. I'm a high school English teacher, but my dream is to open a kundalini yoga studio/raw foods cafe. For nearly all of the 38 years of my life, I've been overweight. In 2006, I was the heaviest I've ever been, topping out around 300 pounds. I've always been able to hide my weight well on my 5'7", large-boned frame, but at that point, I knew I'd crossed a line into a place that could seriously affect my health down the line.
The year 2006 was also when I moved to Japan to teach English there. For three years, I had the privilege to live and teach in the town of Miyakonojo, which is in Miyazaki Prefecture on the southern island of Kyushu. The support and love of my students, the community of teachers, and even my neighbors gave me the strength to get out there and start changing my life. When I returned to the States, I had lost nearly 70 pounds through improved nutrition and exercise. However, the reverse-culture-shock process really took its toll on me last year. I grieved for Japan and the life I'd left behind there--a sadness made more acute by the knowledge that I could have stayed were it not for the fact that I'm an only child with aging parents. I knew I'd made the right decision to come home and enjoy time with my parents while they're still in relatively good health and mental condition, but it still felt like I'd left my heart behind in that beautiful, beautiful place. Depression caused me to re-gain half of what I'd lost.
Last February, I shook off a bit of my funk and decided to get back into my exercise routine, which I had allowed to fall by the wayside. I hired a personal trainer and worked with him once per week in additon to a few regular cardio sessions. In May, for spiritual reasons, I became a vegetarian. I did it in rather radical fashion, I must say, embracing a raw, vegan lifestyle for most of the spring and summer. I found that I greatly enjoyed eating this way but that it wasn't completely sustainable during the fall/winter months when school is in session. Due to this change I lost half of the depression weight....and then I got STUCK. Even worse, as the stress of school began piling up this fall, I noticed that I had somehow allowed bad habits from the past to creep back in--like eating an entire pint of ice-cream in one sitting, for example. I knew I had to do something, that something was holding me back from being everything that I wanted to be and that I KNEW I could be.
And that's when the Transformation Solution appeared in my life. I had only heard of Bill Phillips in a vague, round-about way, recalling that he might have written some book that was popular a few years back. However, once I listened to his words about Transformation, and after I watched Chris' video, I knew that this was exactly what I needed to break through the roadblock and allow the healthy, vibrant young woman inside to emerge.
I spent quite a bit of time this past week taking a good look at how far I've come since my 300 pound days and how much further I have to go to make my dreams become real. I find it hard to visualize what I'll look like as that healthy, fit person, but I'm working on that in my daily meditation. I've already posted an exercise plan for Week 2 on my blog, and I just finished planning my meals for tomorrow. This included whipping up a batch of the most delicious lentils I've ever made in my life!
My greatest challenge is that I tend to allow the stress and negativity at school to creep in and make me forget how much I really do enjoy exercising (even though that HIIT session on the bike this morning was not fun for the first 5 minutes!) and eating healthily and with consciousness. My hope is that by connecting with the community here, I will gain the support that I need to sustain my will and intent towards truly changing my life for the better.
**Sat Nam means "true name" or "name of truth", so when you use it as a greeting you're saying that you're welcoming others in the name of true or with your true self.