Its a Group Effort: a tribal approach to healthy living

January is in full swing, and so are the throngs of folks striving hard to get through the first month of resolutions and vows to be more active, healthier, stronger, faster, skinnier, more muscular. This “global” push to be healthier in the new year feels a little different for me this year. I have come to realize (or maybe remember) that on my journey to maintain healthy living,  while I am independent in deciding on a ‘plan’ that works best for me,  I see the most success when I utilize my support system. My tribe.

I am generally an open book when it comes to talking about my weight loss journey. I am ok with telling people that and my heaviest, I weighed 285lbs. I am also comfortable telling them that I am a lifetime Weight Watchers member. I am not currently at my lifetime goal but I am working, damn hard, to get back there. And “there” is the place where I feel best in my own skin. I have been in this journey for a LONG time now so I know a thing or two about how I gain and lose weight. What I hadn’t factored in really, was how important the give and take of having a “healthy living tribe” has been to me.

After I reached my goal, I was feeling invincible. Almost as if I was “cured” of being over weight and cured of my bad habits. As time wore on, I got complacent and life circumstances shifted my priorities. I gradually put a few pounds back on and forgot about how i had gotten there in the first place. Aside from determination and dedication, “my tribe” was a huge key to my success. That being said, when I started looking at “Defining Me” in the month of January, I knew would be missing a key component of who I am, if I didn’t include this tribe.

For the purpose of keeping this post an acceptable length (as you all know I can be wordy to say the least) I want to talk about how I am getting back to leaning on those around me, near and far, to help me succeed in my journey.

I started by realizing that technology was going to be one helluva weapon in terms of tapping into all of my supports. As I am living thousands of miles away from some of my most supporting of friends and family, I rely on Facebook groups and texting as a major part of my support. I literally have people I text or message every single day about our journeys ranging in age, background, and from all the globe. Some days, sending a simple text to say “tell me I should put down the spoonful of Nutella”, helps keep me focused. Also, when a friend reaches out to ask my advice or input, their commitment to their own journey helps keep me motivated to stay on track.

Some of my tribe members are the ones who remind me to forgive myself when I have gone off track (the Nutella wins the battle sometimes). Others in my tribe are always there with a good recipe when I need it, or a “pro tip” on how to maximize my workout time. My tribe is diverse. Its membership includes marathon runners, personal trainers, Zumba lovers, dancers, walkers, foodies, vegans, vegetarians, world travellers, meat lovers, moms with yoga pants and messy buns, CrossFit enthusiasts and cake connoisseurs. Many, including myself, are a combination of many of these things.

What do I learn from this tribe besides the obvious tips and tricks of being healthy? They all have a way of proving to me that I am surrounded by good people. When I see (via Facebook) my old Weight Watchers crew from Nova Scotia supporting each other daily online, I am energized by their love for each other and genuine want to see each other reach their goals. When a friend messages me that they thought of me while busting their ass on the stair climber because Salt N Peppa came on their playlist, I push harder in my workout. When I meet new friends because I put myself out there to head to a WW meeting in my new town, and they just “get it”, I know I have the support I need to succeed. When my husband hits the yoga mat every night with me for a month long challenge and doesn’t complain once, I push myself harder, because my family is my “why”. And today, if just one person asks me about my journey, or makes a healthier choice because they read this little post of mine, I will stick to my plan and make good choices along side them, because together we can accomplish more great things than alone.

As I continue “Defining Me”, from the perspective of healthy lifestyle, I will lean hard on my tribe; I will accept their help and advice. I will give back as much as I can in love and support and together, my hope is, that we will all see greater success.

You’ve got this. We’ve got this!

~M~

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