I've frequently read of the influence of those around us on our lifestyle choices - or looked at in reverse, how our lifestyle choices can influence those around us. It's like the ripples in a pond: when you toss in a stone, and cause concentric circles to move out from the center. As I think about the changes I've made over the last year and a half, I see these influences. They are both inward to me, and outward to those around me.
My first influences and motivators were my brother, Jeff, and sister-in-law Gina. In April of 2008, they ran Nashville's Country Music Marathon. They started talking about (and following) a variety of workout programs. At the same time, I was leading a very sedentary lifestyle -hitting my highest weight ever, and realizing that this weight was affecting my health. I had borderline high blood pressure, high cholesterol, which combined with being at a BMI considered obese led me to being turned down for additional life insurance. I was floored. In my 40's, and denied life insurance?!? I knew it was time to make changes. I learned about eating clean from them, about Body for Life, Turbulence training, Chalean, Px90 and most importantly for my journey was being pointed towards Leigh Peele and her Fatloss Troubleshoot program.
Later I discovered that my cousin Chris and his wife Kalli both followed a regular strength training / cardio regime. It was nice to have another set of folks to bounce ideas off, to hear of their routines, to add more folks in my life who already lived the lifestyle I was aiming to live.
On-line support systems followed. The forums at jpfitness brought another group into my life. Folks who worked out regularly, who weighed their food, who wore the calorie tracking device, gowearfit, I'd begun to wear. I learned so much reading others' fitness logs, beginning to keep my own, reading all the questions in the Fatloss Troubleshoot section, answering a few myself. Learned of "new Rules for Lifting", New Rules for Lifting for Women". More like minded people, more good influences, more support.
At work, I discovered people into yoga, several into various forms of cycling - from road to mountain, a women about to do her first triathlon. All of these influenced my choices. Kathy, a co-worker and yoga teacher, taught me so much about body awareness, the importance of balance. The cyclists introduced me to the sport that has become a love of mine.
Twitter was next, finding interesting fitness minded folks to follow. The occasional post about my workouts, my current activities. Recently, I've been fortunate enough to meet one of my twitter "friends" and join her in a great combination cycling/strength training class. Meeting the coach of that class, a female former triathlete has been an added bonus. I'm looking forward to seeing where these two new friendships could lead me.
Then remarkably folks around me started to ask me for fitness and diet advice. Really, me? They noticed the changes (in my body and my attitude). Over time I realized I was becoming an influence on others, one of those ripples in other people's ponds.
I needed all of this, all these people and their influences to hit my first set of goals - which were to lose 60 lbs and get all those health readings in line. Both of which I did. Blood pressure is an un-medicated 120/78, cholesterol has dropped to 165 (from 248, not bad, huh?), 65lbs gone. Two half marathons completed. A whole new lease of life.
But I realize now those goals weren't enough. That I still need to lose 30-40 pounds to get my body where I want it. That I want to challenge myself to complete a triathlon, to complete those half marathons at a much faster pace, to ride a century (100 miles in a day) on my bike. So much left to do. And maybe by discussing it all in this blog, I can throw a few more pebbles in a few more ponds!