It started last Wednesday when my beloved Zumba instructor started an eight-week weight loss challenge. For the first dozen-ish people who signed up, she made up these awesome binders full of motivational notes and quotes, food journals, and goal worksheets. When I saw all hard work she was putting into us, without charging us a penny, I totally wanted to throw myself in. 100%. I'm sick of being at the heaviest weight I've ever been when not pregnant. I'm sick of hating my body. If she was going to give us her all, I was going to give her my all. I want change.
She started a private Facebook group for us to support one another and every Wednesday before class we weigh-in and after class, we have a brief meeting. It's pretty common sense stuff - work out every day and write down what you eat - but the group accountability stuff is killer. But anyway, the crux of the whole challenge is to "be intentional with all that you do." Be intentional. Do things deliberately. Do them on purpose. So I did.
On Thursday, when we're supposed to go for a 20 minute walk at a brisk pace, I woke up before the kids got up and I walked briskly. I'd start to slow down, but then I'd hear my instructor in my head - "You shouldn't be able to hold a conversation!" - and I'd pick up the pace. Deliberately. On purpose. Intentionally power walking in the rain at 6:30 in the morning. I got intentional about my food journal. Do I really want to write down that I had a leftover cupcake for breakfast? No! And I mean, I got really intentional. No more shoving in handfuls of whatever is in the cupboard. I can eat whatever I want as long as I keep within a certain calorie limit! I don't want to face a bad weigh-in and have to review my food logs and own up to whatever crap I ate. So I'm planning out what I'm eating like a person who cares about her health: I need more protein in this meal. Is there anyway I can squeeze in some more fruit? I want to check off another fruit and veggies box.
A few days after the start of the challenge, Matt and I went to a marriage seminar. I flip open the folder of notes and what do I see?
Intentional! Be intentional in your marriage! Do things deliberately! On purpose! Halfway through the retreat, the instructor came around and asked us what we'd learned so far. "Be intentional," I said intentionally.
"Yes! Very good!" He replied, and suddenly the "I" word became my word.
"And we need to...what's that word again?" He'd ask, pointing at me.
And we walked away learning all these ways to turn off cruise control in our marriage.
I love how doing things intentionally in one area of my life carries over to others. I'm honest-to-goodness even intentionally brushing my teeth now. Thinking about my technique, brushing more often. I'm praying more and writing more. It is sooooo fulfilling to do things intentionally. It builds up my self confidence and makes me feel strong and smart and successful.
But, damn, is it a lot of work! Being intentional is like homemade bread, straight from the oven - it tastes yummy, it’s nutritious, it fills you, and afterward, you feel warm and cozy. Doing things unintentionally, living on cruise control, is like store-bought white bread. It tastes bland, it’s full of empty calories, it only sort-of fills you up, and afterward you still feel hungry. The homemade bread is so worth it! But it takes planning, work, and consistency. Being intentional leaves you feeling satisfied but tired at the end of the day!
Everything is so easy and dreamy right now because I'm still in the "honeymoon phase" of being intentional. I'm all fired up and determined from my two talks. I started off on the right foot, and so I'm really confident. I put on my Ergo this morning, having not worn it since I started being intentional with my weight loss challenge, and I had to tighten the waist strap. I flew through today on the high of that achievement - grocery shopping the produce aisle like a boss.
The downs will come, I know. In preparation, I've hung up my "motivation" dress: the dress I will one day wear on a hot date with Matt. The one he is most certainly earning, making his own sacrifices so I can put in the work to fulfill the challenge.
I will also have my support group. When I hit those valleys and I learn how to deal, I will happily share those techniques with you here. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy this awesome high of successfully being intentional.