Here is the "offending" profile picture:
Yes! Crazy, huh? When that person shared it with me, I made the fundamental decision to move in that direction, to change my orientation and develop healthy habits, and to CHOOSE optimal health!
Through this program I found an AMAZING community of like-minded people, who are health coaches also, who have supported me along the way! I'll support them too when they may run into inconsistencies in their healthy habits, or speed bumps, no matter what life throws their way, no matter how they choose to respond to those curve balls.
By the way nothing happens TO us that MAKES us do anything, we are always 100% responsible for the choices we make. That is actually AWESOME NEWS because that means that in the blink of an eye, in a heartbeat, in the time it takes you to finish this sentence, YOU CAN DECIDE TO CREATE OPTIMAL HEALTH IN YOUR LIFE. There. Did you decide? Are you going to do it?
"Dear friend, I love you, and hold space for you in my heart. We all go through our life's journey and make choices that are right and congruent for us. I'm on my health journey and will continue to lean in to my community for encouragement and support, and will continue to encourage and support those who God puts in my path.
What you won't EVER hear us say is "You know, I saw that you took a tumble down that ravine awhile back, and you stayed there for a couple of years. Well we've had enough of your shenanigans, you make us look bad. You really shouldn't tell anybody about this road anymore, it's deceitful and hypocritical. I mean, you can't even stand up straight for 7 years solid, we saw what you did at that 5 year mark, don't think we didn't see it. We can't have the likes of you, someone who is a little clumsy every once in awhile, who let's herself get the wind knocked out of her, no, you're not what we want here. Hey, look, we can't have you representing this road anymore. I mean, what if they see you on it, and think you are ACTUALLY one of us? Can you imagine? How embarrassing for us, and you know, really, how embarrassing for you. What? You're still telling people about this road? I thought we told you you couldn't do that anymore. You couldn't cut it. You're a hypocrite for telling anyone else about it, even if their journey isn't your journey and your journey isn't their journey, no one should hear about this road from YOU."
I didn't take too many pictures of me in the pit, it wasn't very scenic, and the pit is not where I chose to STAY. The pit is the pit, but it is an essential part of my story and they'll hear it, believe me.
I may have been stuck in a ravine trying to claw my way back up for the last 2 years, but my tribe did not leave me behind, to stay there.
My tribe surrounded me with love, dropped every rope they could spare, and spent THEIR time, with nothing to gain but my humble gratitude, reminding me what I had forgotten. Reminding me that to move forward, to move upward, I have to raise my hand, grab the rope, and do the work with consistency to get out again.
I'm not misrepresenting who I am by having my transformation pictures as my profile picture. BOTH of those pictures are 100% me, no airbrushing, no touch-ups, no manipulation, I didn't photoshop my head on someone else's body in EITHER of those photos. They are genuine, they are true. That IS me, I DID do that, that IS a vital part of my story.
I'm still on the road. I'm not perfect. I don't claim to be.
A club will kick you out if you don't follow the rules, if you don't live up to their "standards".
I've noticed people can sometimes do that too.
A COMMUNITY, our community, will catch you when you fall, will reach out and say "how can I help" and it not be just WORDS. THIS is why finding and connecting with a like-minded community is a key element of successful positive long-term behavior change.
I'm not an actor here, I'm not playing a part. I've not set myself up on some pedestal and claimed to be bullet-proof. I'm not engaged in some kind of puppet-show hoping nobody can see the strings. I'm not the wizard of OZ behind the curtain. I post pictures to inspire me, and sometimes they are my pictures.
Diet mentality language would say "that's not you anymore, you don't look like that, therefore you are trying to deceive people".
I'm neither deceiving, nor trying to deceive anyone.
It IS me.
Both pictures are me.
One is a reminder of what happens when I'm not practicing healthy habits over time, and one is a reminder of what CAN happen when I'm practicing healthy habits over time. Still me, 100% me, I can guarantee you that.
And this I know for certain, when a community of people, with genuine love, compassion and truth are committed to help others bring out the best versions of themselves (instead of judging, pointing fingers, or "shaming them"), LOOK OUT WORLD!
Hope, inspiration and encouragement are contagious. When we receive those things with authenticity we can't help but pass it on! These are the people who never count someone a lost cause and move on, no. My tribe sends out a search and rescue party, NOT a search and destroy party!
What a contrast!
When we need a little help to see and believe in our potential again, I know who I can count on. The heart of our organization, our community, is best expressed by words I heard just last weekend at Convention and Wellness Retreat. Phrases (always accompanied by big bear hugs) of "SO glad you are here!", "you are right where you need to be!", I know what you are capable of, keep going!" and "We need you, we love you!"
I could say I have no words to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for my community. But, as you can see, I have MANY words!"
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.