Why I do what I do: Reliving my turning point

One of the questions I get asked the most often is why I do what I do. Why do I run? Why do I eat the way I do? Why am I so invested and passionate about my health, my kids health and why do I freaking enjoy it so much?

Way back in high school (and I do mean waaaaay back), I was a shy girl. In some ways, that hasn’t changed but I *think* as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found a voice that is uniquely mine that I’m less afraid of projecting it. As a 16 year old however, I was this awkward (shocking, I know), skinny, pimpled faced girl with absolutely zero self-confidence.

I clearly remember a moment in time where I was out in the forest hiking with friends and we got turned around on the path we were on and being totally awesome and prepared, as most teenagers are, we had no compass or map to find out way back. These were the days before cell towers and smart phones were all the rage for teenagers (for the record…I’m 35 years old now…not 60 for those that may be wondering how far back we’re talking here).

_There is no fear in love, but perfect

As panic started to creep in, we eventually found our way but because it was late, we needed to haul you-know-what to get back to our ride before it left without us. We were running like crazy down the paths trying to get back to our meeting point and I was struggling to keep up with everyone else. I’m not talking just burning lungs and racing heart. I was physically unable to hold the pace my friends were running and they were very quickly getting lost from my field of vision. I had always thought that in a moment of panic, I would be able to sustain whatever was needed of my body for as long as it was needed. As my friends pulled further and further ahead of me, I quickly realized how wrong I was.

All in an instant, I felt alone and terrified that I would be lost in the woods forever.

Thankfully, I found my way out and did my best to down play the entire situation. In truth, not only was I embarrassed, I was utterly ashamed of myself. I was so out of shape that a 10 minute run was more than I could handle physically and emotionally. 19 years later, I still remember that feeling and how much I hated myself for thinking that being skinny was my exit pass from taking care of myself. That day, that moment really affected how I perceived myself. I was so mortified that I just stuck my head in the sand and kept it there for many, many, many years.

And though your beginning was small,

Eventually I got it into my head that that day in the woods was my starting point. I really couldn’t get any lower but I could certainly work my way to being better. More importantly, I learned that I was responsible for my outcome. That realization is what started my entire journey to where I am today. I’m not trying to be the best, to win races or be better than the person standing next to me. Quite the opposite. I want to walk alongside people who have been where I’ve been and are going where I’m going. Encourage those who are discouraged and lean on shoulders when I’m down in the dumps. All the while pushing myself to where I want to be. I don’t have all the answers (shhh…don’t tell my kids!) but I love learning and sharing the few tidbits of insight and knowledge I’ve picked up along the way.

Sharing my journey through postpartum depression for 300+ people.
Sharing my journey through postpartum depression for 300+ people.

I mean, isn’t that what community is all about? Building each other up, helping, supporting and walking through life arm in arm. Never hesitating to carry someone or to ask to be carried? Wouldn’t it be awesome if we could look at the person standing next to us and cheer them on no matter where they’re at? I know when I’m struggling with something and someone offers me encouragement, a pat on the back or a shoulder to cry on, I not only feel empowered to keep going, try again, work harder, I also feel safe. And I think that’s something we really lack these days. Safety to feel, be and act outwardly the way many of us feel inwardly. I want to not only be authentic and vulnerable, I want to feel safe in doing so. Tell me I’m not the only one out there?!

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Stephanie is a Canadian Mom of 3, Runner, Certified Functional Strength Coach (CFSC), Christ-follower and all around reeker of awesomeness. When she's not chasing after her kids, you can find her dreaming big dreams and bringing them to life.

21 Responses to Why I do what I do: Reliving my turning point

  1. This is such a lovely post! We all have something that motivates us and pushes us to be healthy. For me, it was growing up with a Mom who battled cancer. The cancer led her to depression, which led her to gain weight, which led her to more depression. It was a vicious cycle. I’m happy to say that now, 16 years later, she has shed 70 pounds and just ran her first 5k! She’s still battling cancer, but she’s pulled herself out of the rabbit hole of emotional eating and is doing everything she can to stay healthy. Her struggle and her determination is what motivates me to stay healthy. She is such a strong woman and knowing that she created me means I can be just as strong.

  2. I think that we all have something that motivates us and pushes us- and it’s always good when we take something that isn’t so good or negative and turn it into a positive and refocus that negativity.

  3. My heart aches for that 16 year old girl…how scary and sad, but how neat that it became a catalyst for change and a tipping point for you. Thanks for sharing your story! I feel like I’ve had multiple turning points in my life…when I did my first 5K at 17, when I finally owned up to a 20 pound weight gain.

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