motivation for fitness

 

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My family is full of runners. My dad ran numerous marathons. My brother and sister and I ran cross country and track in high school. My sister was a rock-star runner and even still holds a state record at our old high school.

Exercise and outdoor activities have always been a part of my life. I can remember going on long bike rides as a family while my dad would run. I remember hiking together on vacations, taking swim lessons, tennis lessons, going for family runs every Thanksgiving, and having weights and fitness equipment in our garage.

I never intended to be a runner. In high school I actually tried to be a softball player to be something different than my siblings, but my coach finally pulled me aside and told me I was a terrible softball player and that I belonged on the track. I am so thankful for his blunt honesty!

Finally, I gave in and decided to run.

I was “okay” at running. Not bad, but most certainly was not the fastest.

But the teammates…oh, how I loved the teammates. And I loved the coaches. And I loved the workouts every afternoon, and how we got popsicles from the team parents after practice. I loved the deliriously funny conversations we girls would have while running mile after mile together. I loved the way we’d practically collapse after the workouts were finished and we’d chit chat while we stretched. I love how we would laugh at how bad our blisters were, and vote on whose shoes were the dirtiest, and make fun of the person who had the bright, new, clean, unbroken in, running shoes. I loved the camaraderie of cheering one another on and Saturdays filled with races. I actually hated the competing part…I would get so nervous I would literally throw up before every race…but aside from that, I’ll treasure forever the memories of being on a team.

When it came time to pick a college, I chose to pass up a full ride scholarship running at a smaller school because I wanted to go to a bigger university at a place that felt like home. My parents both went to the University of Oklahoma. My sister, a year older than me, was already there. I could have walked-on to the team at OU…instead, I joined a sorority. 🙂

I worked at a couple of gyms throughout college, and I would casually run here and there, but relationships, and classes, and the fun of the college years overshadowed what fitness goals I had…errrrr…I should say what fitness goals I didn’t have. It honestly just wasn’t much of a priority to me then.

Fast forward 5 years…shortly after I was married, I decided to run a marathon. It was on my “bucket list,” so I gave it a shot. I trained for 3 months and pushed through a bum knee and some hip trouble…but I did it! All 26.2 miles of it! My brother ran with me too. And it was right at mile #20 when I decided that I no longer enjoyed running. At all. In my mind, and out loud to my brother for the last 6 miles, I swore that after I finished that race I would never run again!

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Soon after the marathon my husband and I began trying to get pregnant, which eventually led to working with a fertility clinic. Limiting exercise was one thing the doctors requested of me, and I was far more concerned about having a baby than I was about fitness goals.

Fast forward again…I endured a combined total of 3 years of fertility treatments, followed by 6 pregnancies, including a miscarriage, and five live births in 6 1/2 years time…

Kate birth

To say my body has been “through it” is an understatement. After the birth of our fifth child, I remember thinking that I have this amazing family, yet I look and feel horrible.

I knew I needed a plan. I knew I needed to do something serious.

Now, let me pause the story here….

I know that there are people who would wish for me to now tell about the “how.” “How did I lose the baby weight?” “How” do I do what I do. “How” do I make time for the gym, “how” do I do my workouts, “how” do I eat, or “how” do I keep going when the needs at home are so demanding. If I’m honest that is THE one question I am most frequently (for sure daily and sometimes dozens of times in a day depending on what errands I have to run) asked. “How do you do it all?”

Meg Wallace: Why I Work Out

And hang on!!! I promise, I’ll get there, and I’ll be as practical and simple in explaining it all as I can in the near future!!!

I need to first address the “why” before the “how.”
It’s important.

WHY?

Why do I do what I do? What is my motivation?

Do I simply want a hot bikini body? Do I want others to notice me? Do I want to stand on a stage for a contest? Do I want to win an award? Do I want to be able to fit into my pre-children clothes? Do I not want to have to stand in front of a mirror for inordinate amounts of time trying on every bit of my wardrobe over and over again because nothing fits right anymore? Do I simply want to look and feel better? Do I think that others will like me more if I just looked better? Do I feel that I would be accepted or wanted or loved more if I had a different shape?

My fitness goals have sometimes had some hidden reasons that took me awhile to admit, sort through, and throw away. I once dated someone in college that broke up with me numerous times because of what I looked like. He clearly wanted a “trophy wife,” and I just didn’t fit his standard. He once ended our relationship because he had the fear that I might one day have kids and not be “in shape” anymore.

And here I was…I’d had a lot of kids. I was not in shape anymore.

(Thankfully, I did not marry him!)

At the time my ex-boyfriend’s comments marked me and left wounds in my heart. What he said was hurtful and the fact that our relationship changed so dramatically because of his negative opinion of my appearance was painful.

The temptation was to become frozen with discouragement or overactive and attempt perfection.

Either response is wrong, though. Either way would be unhealthy, and will most certainly lead down some very self-centered, self-focused, and self-deluded paths. I’ve had to learn to openly talk about these things and intentionally, consistently reset my thinking with truth.

If my identity is wrapped up in what I look like, if I am striving toward fitness so that I can show off to others, or if I have fears about not being accepted because I’m not at my best, then it is time to stop looking in my mirror and start looking to Jesus.

I no longer have a team or friends cheering me on. There is no coach, there is no one checking on me to make sure I went to practice, there’s no one at the gym waiting for me to sign in, and there is certainly no team mom buying me popsicles after I workout every day!

So, where does my motivation come from?! How do I stay consistent? How do I create fitness goals that do not define me? How can I remain steadfast in my determination?

And WHY? WHY do I do it all?

Fitness is a matter of stewardship.

Stewardship: [stoo-erd-ship, styoo-] noun
-the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth 
caring for and preserving
I’ve been given the gift of a body, one that the Bible refers to as a tent that will one day fold up, yet, in the meantime I am to care for it, preserve it, and tend to it, just like someone would care for, preserve, and tend to a garden.

I believe I have been entrusted to use not only my body, but whatever gifts, talents and strengths that I may possess to care for myself, my home, as well as the people who reside in it. The role of a wife and mom is not to be taken lightly and I truly believe marriage, motherhood and fitness, go hand in hand. If I could be so bold…I do not understand how I could possibly separate them.

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“How do you find time to get your workouts in?” is the wrong question.

My reply is always the same, “how could I not?”

I make time because it is worth my time.

The time I spend at the gym is an investment in something far more important. Yes, I will happily admit, it is my one single hour each day that is all to myself (well, so long as I don’t get a call from the childcare room asking me to come help with one or more of my kids…which happens uhhhhlot!). At the gym, I can listen to whatever music I desire (in mom world that is a BIG deal!), I can go at whatever pace I want (with no one tugging on my leg or asking for goldfish), or I can even listen to a sermon or maybe a webinar (two birds with one stone, right?).

The gym is my kind of safe-haven, short-release, small-retreat, getaway each day.

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But…what I value, even more than it being some “me” time, is that exercise and strength training are crucial for me to do what I do every day as a wife and mom, to do it WELL, to do it to the absolute best of my ability.

When I am strong and healthy, I am far more alert, far more disciplined in how I spend my time, much more focused, have significantly increased energy (without any added caffeine), and I have more strength and endurance to be able to handle the pace and stress of my day to day obligations.

Fitness is a whole lot less about what I look like and a whole lot more about what I can offer others.

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At times, I confess, I begin to notice my thinking or my mindset beginning to shift back toward the reasons listed above. I will notice that I become frustrated when I can’t make my workouts happen or I get bothered at how much time and effort my family requires of me. I will begin to over critique myself or over manage the things I eat. Those are HUGE red flags that my heart is not right and that I need to not delay in resetting once more. It is at that point that I must choose to admit it, speak openly about it, repent of it, and come back to “home base.”

If I boil it down very simply…I am responsible for myself and for my family. I must steward well what I’ve been given. I make fitness and health a priority, refusing to “let it slide,” because it is my job to care well for those who depend on me.

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If you are conscious about health, fitness and exercise, have you considered the reasons as to why you do what you do?
If you are not concerned about health, fitness, and exercise, have you considered the reasons as to why you’ve chosen not to?

Comment below, I’d love to hear your stories.

 

"Did You PLAN To Have All Of Those Kids?" Our Story…Part 1

Wallace Family; Fall photo shoot; canyon; five kids

When I met my husband Matt, I had about 3 semesters left to finish my college degree. Although I was living back in Albuquerque at the time, I knew in order to finish my degree most quickly it would mean me going back to Oklahoma to finish off where I had started. I knew as our relationship progressed that the long distance thing was not ideal and, knowing I wanted to be engaged sooner than later, I did NOT want to take any more time than I absolutely had to!

So, for my last semester at the University of Oklahoma I received special permission from the Dean to take my remaining 30 credit hours in one semester to finish in December. I had NO life outside of school for those few months as I lived, breathed and literally dreamt of classes, papers, exams, studying, and homework. I finished all of it and even ended up making the Dean’s Honor Roll that semester!

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Matt had proposed during that crazy semester, in November, just before finals, which of course meant I was totally packed up and driving back to see him the moment I finished my last exam!

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As soon as the holidays were over, I jumped straight into planning our wedding.

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We picked a date in April, which meant a lot of rushing and hurrying to get everything done in time.

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By the time the wedding was over I was having some health issues in my stomach. Come to find out I was developing some ulcers from stress and needed to slow my life down in order to not make things worse.

At that time my husband was a youth pastor, and I worked part time at a spa/salon. We spent quite a bit of our time around the high school and middle school kids from the church and I was in no hurry whatsoever to have a baby. I definitely wanted kids “some day,” but would often joke that I had waited my whole life to get married and I had NO desire to share him with anyone, including a child.

That mindset lasted a couple of years. We enjoyed traveling together, having friends over, playing Frisbee and taking walks in the park, and indulging in quiet naps on Sunday afternoons.

matt and me-pre-kids

One day, as I was driving on the highway, I happened to see a billboard with a picture of some hands holding a baby. Almost instantaneously my hearts desire changed and I began thinking and dreaming of starting a family. In the weeks that followed it was all I could think about and my thoughts became not just a far off “someday” dream, but a very immediate longing.

The conversations between Matt and me about having a baby began shortly thereafter, but it took quite some time for us to be on the “same page.” After a number of months, he finally came around. We stopped all methods of prevention and thought that within a few short weeks we would be announcing the grand news of new life on its way. I could hardly contain my excitement about it all! I was so hopeful and so (surprisingly) ready.

One month turned into two, then three, four and so on…..after about six months we began charting and trying to learn ways to not just avoid preventing, but to actually “try” to have a baby.

Another year passed, and still no baby. We began to talk to my OB about what might be wrong. She then sent us to a midwife, then she referred us to a fertility specialist who then referred us to a clinic. Ironically, the clinic that we ended up going to ended up being the exact same company that had put the photo with the baby up on that billboard, which is weird how that came back full circle.

We went in for the first consultation and were accepted with the clinic right away. The testing began that next week. I started taking Clomid (a pill commonly used as a way to overproduce eggs in the woman’s body to increase the chances of conception), but my body responded to it like someone going through menopause. The night sweats and hot flashes, nausea, and headaches were a drain, but we kept pressing on. After another year of multiple fertility treatments, and a ridiculous amount of further testing for Matt and I both, we were finally told the devastating news that we would, and I quote, “most likely never have any children” of our own. We were given less than a 3% chance after all of Matt’s tests…and when mine came back it dropped that percentage to less than 0%.

That phone call came one evening just before we were to have some friends over for dinner. Minutes after I hung up the phone our friends walked in the front door. I couldn’t in any way contain my despair. I cried the “not pretty” cry as they hugged us, prayed over us, and tried to comfort.

I was absolutely heartbroken.

Meg Wallace; hiking; one glass slipper; time to reflect; ocean and mountains; Catalina Island

It seemed as if everything around me went dark after that call. The regret of ever having joked about not wanting kids haunted me. The doubt that crept in that it was somehow my fault consumed my thoughts. I felt angry, but I didn’t know who to be angry at. Mostly, I was overwhelmingly, uncontrollably sad.

After a few days of confusion, not sleeping at all, and a whole lot of weeping, my friend came over to see me one morning. I had to apologize over and over because as she and I were talking I needed to excuse myself and continue leaving the room. I wasn’t leaving to cry, rather, because I had a terrible bloody nose! In passing, as I was again apologizing for walking out of the room, I had mentioned that I’d had a number of bloody noses that past week and didn’t know what was wrong with me. They came out of nowhere and were consistent, so it seemed rather odd. I had chalked it up to the heartbreak I was going through, but my friend mentioned that she had just recently read an article that said sometimes bloody noses can be a very early sign of pregnancy.

Wait. What?

In my mind, I can remember thinking “please don’t tell me that, there’s no way, not for me,” and I politely blew it off…but the comment stuck with me. The next few days were the same. More bloody noses. I couldn’t shake what my friend had told me that morning. I happened to have a home pregnancy test and decided to take it. Up until this moment I had never had any test come back positive…every test I had ever taken was a definite, for sure, no-guessing-needed negative. But this time there was a very slight, almost non-existent, tiny, ever so faint, could hardly make it out, thought I was crazy, pink line. I quickly called my friend and she came over as fast as she could get there.

She looked at the test and literally had to move it under the brightest light we could find in order to see the line I thought I had seen. It was so faint that both of us thought we might just be imagining it.

Rather than get my hopes up I called my doctor and requested a blood test. He obliged, but more out of sympathy than actual hope. I believe he understood my desire to need to know. So, I went to the lab, had my blood drawn and tried to put it out of my mind. They said by that evening they would call with the results.

We were supposed to be leaving town that afternoon though. Because of the devastating news about never being able to have own our children, Matt had booked us a weekend getaway in the mountains at a cabin that had no phone access whatsoever. And yet we were now supposed to be waiting on this phone call! We decided to stall, and to stay in town and plan to leave after the phone call.

Evening came. No call.

We ordered pizza. No call.

We rented a movie. No call.

The movie ended. Still NO call.

Now, close to midnight, I gave up hope and started to get ready for bed. I was frustrated because it was too late to leave for the cabin, so I left the room to go brush my teeth.

As I shut the water off, I heard Matt talking to someone. I stopped all movement as quickly as I could to eavesdrop in on his conversation. Seconds later he was walking in to the room and motioned that it was finally the doctor!

But, all he said on his end was “uh huh.” “Uh huh.” “Uh huh.” He had a blank stare as he looked at the floor. No emotion. No response. Just a simple “uh huh” and then paused for her to talk more. I watched every move he made as I tried to read from his face any single bit of information he might have been hearing.

The call ended. By this time I was sitting on the bed, now looking at the floor, with that same old familiar knot in my throat and the same hot, sad tears bubbling up. Before he spoke even one word I said, “I know. You don’t have to tell me. I know the answer is a no…”

Yet, he didn’t respond. He just stood there. He reached for my hands and just waited for me to look up. When I finally did, he just kept staring at me. No smile, not one expression. Just staring at me.

Finally he spoke. “Meg…you’re pregnant.”

But, I didn’t hear him rightly. I looked down, trying hard to not cry. I had heard him so many times tell me that I was not pregnant. I knew the drill.

Yet, ever so gently he lifted my chin to look up at him once more and he repeated it again.

“Meg, you’re pregnant!”

This time I saw a slight smile breakout and his eyes start to glisten. And I replayed the words slowly in my mind.

“Meg……….you’re………..”

I stared at him for what felt like an eternity trying to figure out if this was the worst joke ever or if he really, truly was telling me the truth.

He didn’t crack. He didn’t take it back. He knelt down and hugged me and said it again and again, each time with a little bit more excitement, “Meg, YOU’RE PREGNANT!”

It finally started to sink in a bit and I was in shock! I went from ‘sad crying’ to smiling to all out laughter to ‘happy crying’ in a matter of a minute! I cannot explain the joy in those moments that followed! It’s incomparable!!! We hugged each other, laughed and danced and then just kept repeating it to make sure our brains were getting it.

We finally calmed down a bit and I asked him about every detail of the conversation with the doctor.

She was the on-call doc that night, not my normal doc, and she didn’t quite have the same excitement that my normal doctor would have shared had he been the one giving the news. Her tone was dry, almost felt like she was bothered, and although the news of me being pregnant was wonderful she said that my hormone levels were extremely low. She told my husband that I would most likely not be pregnant for very much longer and anticipated a miscarriage shortly thereafter.

Well, that could have put quite the damper on our little party….

Yet, in that moment we chose to celebrate. For that moment we rejoiced! We called every family member and close friend we could (at 3 am.) and woke them all up to share in the good news! I told them all that the risk was high, but said, “today I’m pregnant and today I’ll celebrate. Should that change I’ll grieve then, but for now it’s time to rejoice!”

The next day we ended up still going on our trip and I slept most of the time at the cabin. It was the sweetest time away together with no interruptions and some of the deepest sleep I’d had in my entire life…I’m assuming partly because my soul was so at peace, and mostly because I was PREGNANT!!!

As we came back into town we began sharing the news with everyone else we knew. It was incredibly exciting to get to watch others around us be just as thrilled as we were!

Our fertility doctor called a few days later and he said that he saw the results come in from the pregnancy test. Based on our previous tests he said that he had no idea how “it” happened but that he was very happy for us! He also felt compelled to tell us that he agreed I had a very high likelihood of miscarriage. He also said that he still agreed with the original diagnosis and that WHEN we miscarry his advice to move toward adoption still stood.

pregnant tummy

I listened, but didn’t want to let go until it was officially time to. The days went on. One week turned into two and then three…and I stayed pregnant! The  pregnancy itself was awful, filled with quite a bit of sickness, multiple hospital visits, difficult to find heart beat scares, and many medications.


in hospital

But she continued to grow regardless! Yes, I said she!!!! When we found out “it” was a SHE I about lost my mind with excitement.

The delivery was far from ideal…just terrible…more on that another time…but in June of 2006 we delivered our miracle baby princess.

As I held her tiny body, and looked at her sweet, swollen face only minutes after delivery, I knew that every second of pain that it took to get to that point was all worth it.

I wouldn’t wish infertility struggles on my worst enemy, but I can also say with full confidence that I wouldn’t trade those challenging days for the world. The joy that came from such pain is indescribable and inexpressible. When God chooses to bring life from death, to birth beauty out of ashes, to shock everyone by bringing life to a barren womb…there is a soberness, a sweetness and a joy that absolutely cannot be matched.

Meet my princess…my miracle…my sweet Kate.

Kate Vacation 102

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The Princess and her Lollipop

Wallace Family; princess ; tulle dress

Making Old Things New…

 

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Last year, we had an extremely tough year. Some very unexpected turns in events, most of which were completely out of our control, left us with little sleep, a lot of stress and some very emotional days. This new “hobby” of mine began one day when my heart was heavy and my house felt dark. So, I picked up a can of paint and went to work on my kitchen table. Then, I painted the coffee table, then a dresser and so on and so on…now, the majority of the furniture in my home has been painted! I’ve only got a few pieces left to go.
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Furniture restoration has become a pastime, a stress relief, a version of art, and a little bit of a side business. I love to work with chalk paint for the cottage, rustic, soft, worn down look. And distressing is my favorite. Most of the time I purchase pieces that are very inexpensive from places like Goodwill or off of Craigslist. I love to take something that one person thinks is trash and turn it into something another person would consider a treasure.

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I am typically so excited to get started on new pieces that I’m absolutely terrible at remembering to take the “before” photo! I’ll try to do better with that! This hutch used to be a very light oak with a ton of kid stickers and scratches on it. One of the drawers was broken and the light didn’t work. I’ve since sold this hutch, but I love how it turned out.

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 It’s a very, very faint turquoise color with black and dark gray accents. I added the wood backsplash (do you call it that on furniture), for a rustic, custom made look. This piece was listed for only a few days before someone came and bought it. They said it was “perfect” for their dining room. I say mission accomplished. I’ll post tutorials for a “how-to” soon!

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