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As I continued along my weight loss journey and strove to overcome my fear of failure and fear of success, I experienced defining moments that were pivotal and changed how I saw myself as a person.
We start a new personal journey yet life doesn’t stop. We start a new fitness program, lifestyle change, personal goal to improve, or we move into trusting God more. Life ramps it up a notch and gets tougher.
I’ve learned we have an enemy who does whatever he can to thwart our efforts to grow closer to God and become more like Him. Expect obstacles and roadblocks. When these come, instead of throwing in the towel, see these roadblocks for what they are.
I started therapy at the end of 2004 and continued with that process throughout all of 2005 and 2006. During this time of ongoing progress, I experienced some of my greatest challenges yet greatest joys — defining moments in my weight loss journey because I was handling life in a new way.
A New Life Challenge
We brought our foster son Paul into our family when he was 5 months old knowing very little about his medical issues, but we jumped in with both feet, scheduling therapy and learning new medical terms. Daily medications, stretching exercises, feeding problems, oxygen, more feeding problems…this was Paul’s life and now it was ours.We also met Paul’s birth family and the case workers began moving toward the goal of family reunification. The process is usually a complicated one, with the county trying desperately to mend the biological family if at all possible, and Paul’s case was no exception.
Meanwhile Paul was growing. We were becoming more attached to him, and he was attaching to us. He was developing at his own special pace, but it was happening. The serious, sick baby who came to us was becoming a smiling and energetic little guy:
There is a complexity to the emotions of a foster parent that fails words. People often said to us, “I could never be a foster parent. I could never give the kids up!” I get that. Every child who was in my home, whether for a day or a year, was mine for today. I don’t say that to take anything away from these children’s birth families. I know these children were not legally mine, but I needed them to be mine and THEY needed me to need them to be mine. There is no distinction of kids in my house — birth, adopted, foster. They all get hugs, love, snacks, advocated for, and yelled at when Mom is on the war path.
Paul was our son. We wanted what was best for him, but selfishly we wanted him to stay with our family forever. We feared for his safety if he were to return to his birth family. Caring for his medical needs was complex. One night I rocked Paul, his oxgyen tube hanging across my arm over the side of the rocking chair, singing to him as tears streamed down my face. I tried to pray, desperate to plead with God to let us keep Paul in our family. I couldn’t form words. The most I could say was, “Please, God. Please.”
After over two years of twisting turns with the court system, we learned we would indeed get our happy ending. November 17th, 2006 became the Borgstede family’s “Forever Family Day” on National Adoption Day. It was a special day for Paul, but really it was a day of celebration for each of us, as we became our new family. Rebekah, Kiersten, and Josiah gained a new brother, and Mike and I, a son.
The adoption service was short, but the moment I’ll never forget was when the judge turned to Paul and said, “Paul, this is your Mommy, and this is your Daddy, and forever and ever, no matter what, nothing will ever change that.”
I think most of us were teary through the whole event, but at that moment there was barely a dry eye in the house.
After the adoption we had an amazing party because it was just too wonderful not to celebrate big.
Life with a New Way of Life
One of the questions I’m asked the most about fitness and weight loss is, “How do you fit it all in?” Or people will tell me, “I get started great with a weight loss program, but then life gets stressful and I get off track…”
During Paul’s first two years my stress level was off the charts. I was riding the ups and downs of not knowing what would happen. Each day brought a different high or low. Some days I handled the stress in new, healthier ways without overeating. This was totally different from my previous patterns. Not relying on food as a buffer felt weird and exciting.
Sometimes I still slipped back into old patterns and would overeat or binge when the stress overwhelmed me. I just got back on track and tried again. And again, and again. The number of times I failed — if you want to call it that — was incredible. I messed up a lot! That’s okay, because I had lots of successes too.
Eating well isn’t about perfection. Just like any other skill, I needed to build up my practice of healthy eating by doing it over and over again. The more I faced stressful situations and successfully handled them without turning to food, the more I realized it was possible. Stopping the pattern of beating myself up for the slip-ups was key. The mistakes were just that — mistakes. Oh well.
The more I faced stressful situations and successfully handled them without turning to food, the more I realized it was possible.
Have you had defining moments in your fitness or weight loss journey?