Success is All About “Showing Up”

Whether it’s achieving significant weight loss or recovering one’s health, I believe that success is all about “showing up”.  As much as people would like to believe that eating certain foods or taking supplements will cause the “pounds to melt away” or for the symptoms of a health condition to “improve in just 6 weeks,” we know better.  Success requires making a commitment, consistency and “showing up” for yourself — if not every time, most times.

One of the first posts I made when I started my personal weight-loss and health-recovery story (March 5, 2017 – March 4, 2019) was a video of me walking around a track.  I was so overweight and out of shape that I could barely walk and talk at the same time. I was clearly out of breath!  So why on earth did I post it? Why didn’t I wait until I lost the 55 pounds and the foot off my waist and then post my success pictures? I believe that people relate to the struggle of watching someone doing it and that watching them succeed no matter how long it takes, gives them hope that they can, too! 

Here’s a clip from that video;

What I said in that video still rings true today, as I am continuing to work towards recovering from severe hypothyroidism;

“I want to encourage people that if they make a commitment to “do it” just do it! If you have to re-schedule other things to do it, just do it! It’s important. Exercise is a small component of this journey, but it is an important component. “

It’s about “showing up”.

By setting goals and by being intentional about following through, I went from looking like the photo on the left to being able to hike intermediate trails, and looking like the photo on the right. By “showing up” for myself in terms of my eating, I was able to put my extremely high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes into remission. But losing 55 pounds and a foot off my waist didn’t happen overnight. Even though I am a Dietitian and have helped many others achieve this in far less time, as my doctor told me a year ago, there indications that I probably had subclinical hypothyroidism for the past 10 years. In a sense, that I was able to accomplish the weight loss and for the most part maintain it, is evidence to the power of “showing up.”

Achieving and maintaining a healthy body weight has really about me making decisions on a consistent basis that move me towards that goal. 

It’s not about being “perfect,” but about being consistent.

It’s about “showing up” for myself when I plan my meals. It’s about prioritizing foods that will provide satiety (not feeling hungry), and ensuring that the foods I eat with them provide me with the nutrients I need, while supporting my ongoing metabolic health.

Setbacks are About “Showing Up”

Weight loss and health recovery rarely occur in a straight line. There are any number of setbacks that can, and do occur. It is what we do with setbacks that determines whether we regain all the weight we lost and then some, or becomes as sick or sicker than we used to be. 

It is still about “showing up”.

At my youngest son’s wedding last June, I was at my sickest but didn’t yet have a diagnosis.  I could barely walk or get up from a chair because of the edema in my legs, and my tongue was so swollen that it was difficult to talk. You can read more about that in this first post in this new series

What made it really hard for me was that I looked like I did when I was 55 pounds heavier, but I wasn’t. In short, I looked like a “failure.”

Recovery from Hypothyroidism is About “Showing Up”

I wrote a few posts about my recovery from hypothyroidism under “A Dietitian’s Journey (Part II)” but there were a lot of “silent” periods in between those posts, and since the last one where I simply had to “show up.”

I needed to continue to take my thyroid meds and have my thyroid hormones checked every few months. I needed to continue to work with my doctor to get my medication adjusted to a level that enabled me to feel well, and to accomplish what I needed to.  I am very thankful to have an incredibly knowledgeable and supportive doctor, but the bottom line is that I need to consistently “show up.”

I needed to prepare my meds each evening for the following days dosages I take them in — and it didn’t matter if I was tired.

I had to continue to “show up” for myself when it came to making decisions as to which foods I will eat and those I choose not to because I have Hashimoto’s disease, which is an autoimmune condition.

I needed to continue to “show up” for myself to get tested for nutrients of importance in hypothyroidism and to supplement accordingly.  Except for vitamin D3 and K2, and later magnesium, I never took supplements — choosing instead to get them by eating a range of real, whole foods.  Being diagnosed with an autoimmune condition necessitated me changing my mind on this and consistently “showing up” for myself by consistently taking the supplements that I needed to.

Every day with hypothyroidism is about “showing up.”

Restoring Health is About “Showing Up”

A few weeks ago, after my new thyroid medications took effect and it became possible to think about regaining my mobility and muscle mass, the question was “how.” 

My son who had been my “hiking buddy” recently married and moved out of province, and I was very aware that I wasn’t ready to re-join the ladies hiking group that I am a member of without regaining my strength.  I needed a plan.

Someone in the local Facebook group posted about a program available and I knew that was exactly what I needed.  It was close and would give me access to the weight-training facilities that I needed to rebuild my muscles, and the classes would provide me with some fun and aerobic exercise at the same time. They even had several pools where I could to rekindle my love of swimming, after I replaced my size 16 bathing suit. 

In order to “show up” I had to first get what I needed.

By the end last weekend, I had a 3-month renewable membership to the fitness center, a one year parking pass, a new gym bag, and a bathing suit in my size. While I wondered if I would even remember how to swim as it had been at least 30 years since I last did, I was going to be focusing on doing what I needed to do to rebuild my muscle mass, and that was to “eat sufficient protein at each of my meals” and to “lift, push and pull heavy things often“.  

I planned to go to the gym for the first time this past Wednesday, but make sure there was nothing slowing me down to “showing up”, my gym bag was already packed, and by the front door. 

My gym socks and training shoes were pulled out, and my sweat band was draped on top of them.

My driver’s license, debit card and health card were already in a small wallet attached to my keys and was laying on top of my gym bag.

My water bottle was ready to go, and I had the coins needed for the lockers.

I had no excuses.

As I grabbed my bag and water bottle, I was “ready” to “show up” for myself. I needed to, because there was no one there to coax or encourage me. I had to be there for “me” and I was.

During my first workout, I learned how to use one of the types resistance machines and did three reps of ten with a 45 second rest in between each set on most of them — or as much as I could. I focused on having good form and didn’t try to do more than my body was able to do.  This was the first workout, and I was already successful because I “showed up”. Everything else I did was moving me towards my goal of getting in good enough shape to hike again.

Yesterday, I woke up quite sore — especially my pecs. These are not muscles I use much, if at all. I had thought I might go swimming, but I was so sore I wasn’t sure that was such a good idea since it had been way too long since I last did it. I stretched my muscles and rested and prepared my gym bag to go on Friday.

When I awoke today, everything was prepared. The only thing I grabbed was a mask because of the smoke warning outside, and headed to the gym.

I had already determined I would do what I could, given I am new at it and still somewhat sore from Wednesday, and had a good workout. I was surprised that I could increase weight or reps on some machines but definitely did less on the pec press.  That’s okay. I “showed up.”

Final Thoughts…

Whether it is losing significant weight, restoring one’s metabolic health, or rebuilding one’s physical strength after an illness, the first thing that is necessary is to make a commitment to “do it”.

Then, put the pieces in place that are required to be successful. If that is weight loss or health recovery, have a plan of how you are going to do it and who will oversee your progress. If it’s rebuilding your strength after an illness, find something that you want to do, that’s realistic for you to consistently do, and then get whatever is needed to get started.

Then, as I said in the video above, once you’ve made the commitment to “do it,” just do it.

If you are consistent in “showing up” for yourself on a regular basis, you will be successful in achieving your goals. 

To your good health,


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