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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I was doing some reading tonight about body image and self acceptance. There were some things that really hit me and really provoked some deep introspection. I realized that for all that I have done, I am ashamed of what I look like. You see, I belong to a very unique group of people. For a lack of better terms I will call this special group "in-betweeners". We are not couch potatoes, neither are we at goal weight. Some of us (like me) have accomplished some pretty amazing things yet, to look at us, you would never know it. Some of us are stuck on an everlasting plateau. Some of us could probably teach a fitness class. Some of us have been at this long enough that we can tell others what it takes to endure because we ourselves have survived the myriad of pitfalls that have derailed so many others and we are still standing.

Without apology, I say we "in-betweeners" are an elite bunch.

I also say that we "In-betweeners" are also a frustrated bunch. We are the ones that walk into a doctors office where the physician is unaware of our past, and after we get our results back, get suggestions of things we can do to get off the couch... Maybe start a basic walking program... Your results are good but .... Oh, you mean my belly roll that I still have....

Hmmmmm should I tell him about my 70.3? Nah.... Unworthy....

Most of us in-betweeners live behind Clark Kent glasses. We know who we are and what we are capable of yet we are casually dismissed by those who are unaware of our secret identities.

I feel that way now. I just obtained a running coach certification and am actively working on completing the ACE Personal Trainers Certification. Chances are pretty good that I will probably certify before the end of '14. When it comes to training, I am no novice. My race history....'nuff said. Yet I find myself feeling like I need to apologize or justify my appearance before any serious face to face conversation about fitness. If that fails, I reach for my secret weapon.... You know what I'm talking about.....

The before picture....

Like some secret agent, I have to whip out my Acme, super duper, Cracker Jack, weight loss superhero ID badge and let you verify my credentials before any credible conversations can ensue.

I think I am not the only one who feels this way.

I am not bitter or angry in any way... Just keenly aware of my status as an inbetweener.

Deep down I have felt a personal calling to help people who are where I was.... Morbidly obese and in real need of a friend who will help them believe that they too can reclaim their life. Never mind the six pack, let's just start with climbing stairs or fitting into a booth at a local establishment.

So I pose a question, at what point does a person become magically qualified to care? Is it when we reach the media driven image of what a trainer should look like? Is obtained when we reach normal.... Whatever that is.... Where is that finish line at?

I digress.

We Inbetweeners are truly survivors. I can't post the link right now while tapping this out on my iPhone but I will later because it is worthy of substantiation. According to the National Institute of Health only about 20% of all "dieters" succeed at losing 10% of their body weight and keep it off for a year or longer. The implied meaning is that there is about an 80% failure rate. That isn't me, that's the geeks in the white smocks paid to crunch data and spit out statistics.

I have lost and kept off about 30% of my body weight.

My belly roll does not negate my success.

I repeat myself here, If you are an inbetweener, you are survivor with a unique set of skills that you have earned on the field of battle. Wear your "medals" proudly, do not hang your head because you are stuck or do not meet societies version of success. Most of us will never be paraded across a stage or be featured in a TV spot but we may yet fill the most important role of all. We serve as an example to those who know us and are living proof that changing your life is not a waste of time or a fruitless endeavor.

Hope is the greatest gift of all. Inbetweeners I call on you to stand your ground and not give in to frustration, you may be the only example of hope that some people will ever have.

Ok... I feel better now. I'm done encouraging myself.

You see this blog was written to me, but there are so many here like me, that while encouraging myself, I can also encourage others. It all comes around and I too need all the help I can get.

Let's be strong for hope is a precious commodity.

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