Not many of you know it but a lot of 2015 was really hard for me. After I completed a Spartan race that I had diligently trained for, I was left in a lurch with regards to a fitness ‘goal’. In late May, I hurt my left hip and was a mess for over a month. Literally – I couldn’t tie my shoes, had trouble getting in and out of the car, and we couldn’t figure it out treatment-wise. I hobbled around, continued to teach (verbally) and fell quickly into a pretty black hole with regard to my personality. Here’s the blogpost about my hip 😦
Old habits started to creep back in. Childhood coping mechanisms resurfaced. Poor food choices became a quick source of energy in the form of processed sugar. I started to “sneak” snacks and eat things that were horribly wrong for my body. Anxiety, depression, weight gain, and general lack of interest in exercise continued even after the worst of the hip problem had resolved itself. I would try to do a workout but everything felt wrong – lethargic, heavy, sad, uncomfortable. I felt horrible trying to show clients/classes workouts and I was huffing like the fat kid I had been in Kentucky. I’m grateful that no one ever mentioned my weight gain or that I was having trouble…. Here’s A really scary blogpost I did ANONYMOUSLY for Fit Bottomed Girls during my rough patch.
So basically from May til late December 2015 I was feeling pretty fraudulent… And I was getting fatter by the month. Unhealthier by the bite. More uncomfortable by the moment. 185 pounds ain’t so cute on my frame when it’s not muscle-y…
Early November 2015 found me sitting at the kitchen table at Dawn’s parents house (likely eating pie – DOH!!) and scrolling through Facebook. One of those “you might like this page” thingies popped up and caught my eye. Their most recent post on the page said they were looking for Squad Leaders. I clicked on it and proceeded to putz around on their page, looked up their website and spent the next 30-ish minutes researching what this intriguing organization stood for as a non-profit. Little did I know this was the pinhole of light that would eventually lead me out of 6 months of a long, dark tunnel…
Catch A Lift Fund’s (CAL’s) Mission:
“Helping wounded veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars start and maintain their healing process both mentally and physically, through physical fitness by providing them gym memberships throughout the United States.” Their Company Overview:
“CATCH A LIFT was founded in memory of Cpl. Chris Coffland who believed that physical fitness was the basis for a happy and healthy life. CAL pays for yearly gym memberships, across America, for wounded veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Should a veteran prefer to work out at home, CAL will pay for and deliver gym equipment to that veterans home.”
As I was gobbling up all the information I could from the CAL website and Facebook page (and more pumpkin pie), I began to realize that this whole Squad Leader thing they needed was something I was extremely interested in. Basically, they needed liaisons between the 2500+ Veterans who were participants and the people in charge of running the Fund. Over the course of a year and on a pre-planned regularly set schedule, the Squad Leader would be expected to call each Vet in their Squad. On each call, you’d ask a series of questions set up by the home office and report that information back in via confidential Google doc. You could also just chat about anything else that popped up over the course of the call. OMG! Talking, the military AND fitness??? I COULD TOTALLY DO THIS!
The more I read and looked at CAL’s history, the more excited I got. I hadn’t felt like this in who knows when! Like I had a purpose, an opportunity, a choice…and the pinhole of light started to expand.
After several (very quickly responded to) emails between myself and Katelyn Rockwell at CAL, I had been scheduled mid-December for a phone interview with Lynn Coffland, creator of the Fund and sister of the remarkable man in whose honor it was created. The morning of my phone interview, I was so nervous! I wanted to sound excited but not too much. I wanted to portray my strengths but not sound cocky. I wanted to explain my history but not be annoying. I wanted to “pass” inspection! Needless to say, I was accepted into the program and scheduled for a follow-up meeting in early January with Ryan Kaufman. He is in charge of all the Squad Leaders. I was assigned my Squad members, sent all the information I’d need to get started and Ryan emailed my Squad members to let them know I’d be contacting them soon to start checking in with each of them. BOOM!
Even before I was assigned my Squad in late January, something in me seriously shifted. I had a new purpose. I needed to pull my sh*t together and be an example again. I couldn’t be talking to these wounded Veterans about getting their workouts done when I was sitting on my duff eating Cheetos! Ugh…
My Mojo skyrocketed after I heard some of the stories from my Vets. Perspective slapped me upside the head and I fully dumped my ‘sneaky’ snack eating habits – I haven’t been to a 7-11 since Christmas. I jumped smartly and head-on back into workouts; approaching it with a mindset of doing workouts I honestly LIKED. I cold-turkeyed my sugar problem (not without some bad days). I read a couple of self-help books. I meditated. I prayed. I trusted my wife and my closest friends with my deepest & scariest secrets. I started to feel like I had control over my mind, my body and my life again. And that pinhole, that teeny tiny smallest piece of light, has grown into a gorgeous sun that’s eclipsed its way across my previous darkness….