My Biggest Challenge

As a kid, many things came very easily to me, like math, English, science, and music. Especially music. I didn't have to work as hard as my peers, and that gave me a false sense of security. I grew quite lazy, only showing up to one or two rehearsals prior to a concert and not practicing between. I took those God-given talents for granted.

Physical fitness, however, was always a challenge, and because I hadn't learned to work at much of anything, I just flat out gave up. And as an adult, I've become fatter and fatter.

When my beautiful, slim daughter came home crying her first day of cross country in 6th grade, saying it was hard and they make you run even if you hurt, I felt like I'd failed her as a mother. She didn't know how to overcome physical fitness challenges any better than I did. The next day, the coach pulled me aside and told me how much my daughter was struggling. She had cried both days and was next to last in the group. Eventually, that second day of running, she stopped and refused to run at all. I saw a lot of myself as a kid in her. And I knew right then I was facing two choices: One, I could tell her she could quit. But I knew if I did, then she would never be as active or fit as she should be and deserved to be, and she wouldn't learn how to push herself, and I didn't want that for her. Neither did my husband. The second option was to tell her to keep going and support her in whatever way I could.

As a family, we just weren't physically active, and we knew we needed a change. On our way home that day, I made her a promise. If she would keep going, I'd head back to the gym and outside walking, and I would get my butt in gear too. I said that I didn't want to die early and miss out on her and her siblings growing up, and that I would keep trying if she would. She agreed. We bought some new running shoes that weekend and started our training together.

A year earlier, I had joined a gym and hired a trainer to help me drop 100 pounds so we could try to have another baby. I hit the gym every day and, pretty soon, I could do 3 miles on the elliptical in about 30 minutes or less. That might not be impressive to some, but I was so excited! I was working out and felt great! And my husband, who loves me no matter what my size ... well ... he paid me a lot more attention, and a few weeks later I found out I was pregnant. We really wanted me to be healthier before that happened, but God had other plans.

I don't do pregnant well and, very soon, though I didn't gain much weight, my belly was too big for me to do much at the gym. I faced several complications, including insulin dependent gestational diabetes and polyhydramnios, meaning I had excess fluid in my uterus. We were also facing some major financial difficulties and would eventually lose our home and have to move. Even after having the baby, I gave up on getting healthy.

Until that afternoon in the car with my daughter.

That night after dinner, I wrote up a plan. A plan for the gym. A plan for when I'd get with the new trainer. A plan for a new blog. A plan for our new life -- our year in the trenches of battling ourselves for better health.