The week leading up to the retreat I spent trying to stay alive. I had been struck by the cold from hell and it took all the energy I had to just tell my lungs that they could hold enough air. I was coughing, and wheezing, and all around had lost all energy. When the initial notice of the retreat had come, I had intentionally signed up for the weigh-in/measurements to be done the hour prior to the retreat starting. Initially my thought had been, what need is there to go one day, then go another, when I can do it all in one shot. However, the morning of, I was immediately regretting this decision…I wasn’t sure how the measurements and such would go, but one thing I did know was that I wasn’t sure I had the lung capacity to workout for the day at this all day retreat. And I didn’t want the others be afraid that I was infecting them.
So, when I woke up and told Dave I wasn’t sure what I was going to do – he told me to go prepared and make the decision when I got there. So that’s what I did. I was one of the first to arrive for the initial measurements and after the weigh-in/measure/picture moment, and the instructors telling me that I would be fine and could modify anytime I felt I needed, I decided to stick around. But, since the weigh-in portion of the morning only took 10 minutes I ended up with an hour to kill. So, I did what every fat kid does before going on the diet they hope will be a lifestyle change does…I went to Burger King and stuffed my face with a tasty breakfast sandwich and cinnabons. Yep, I started things off juuuuust right.
I’m the picture of health, right? Would it help if I told you that that was the last time I had fast food? Aside from the occasional Dunkin Donuts coffee, and two breakfast Wake Up Wraps with no cheese in the past 9 weeks, I Brittney Lemieux, have not had fast food since that morning.
Dave and I had already decided that on the day after the retreat we would be going Paleo. Now, before you start to comment how silly the Paleo diet is, or how bad it is for us, believe that we’ve heard it all. And if it’s not your bag, that’s fine – don’t eat that way. It’s working for us. We’ve learned to modify in some areas and stick to it in others. One thing I can state for fact, the no dairy part of this lifestyle has really made me feel a TON better. I have found now that if I eat dairy, I really feel awful. I do however, still allow myself a grilled english muffin every Sunday morning at our favorite local breakfast place (Cackleberries – if you are a local…TRY THIS PLACE OUT! Seriously, you won’t be disappointed!).
After I gorged myself on fast food breakfast, I swung over to the Shaws near by to pick up a healthy lunch to have during the retreat. I couldn’t let people see the real me, after all. I would have much rather run down the street to Burger King again for lunch, and helped myself to a Whopper with Cheese Combo, and a large Dr. Pepper. But what kind of dedication does that show on the first day of a Wellness Retreat. At shaws I tracked down an apple, and some almonds and two giant bottles of water and called it a day. As I made my way back to the studio for the start of the retreat, I scarfed down the rest of my tater tot hashbrowns and prayed I would make it through the day.
As the day began, we were told several times that this journey we were embarking on was more than the physical aspect. I shrugged that off. I said to myself “yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m in this to lose weight…I can’t see how this will impact my emotional self.” The retreat day was amazing though. We had moments for introspection, and LOTS of working out. But the best part of the day was getting to meet some of the amazing women I would be doing this challenge with. Some of these challengers were newbies like me, and some were veterans. But we all brought to the circle an energy and dedication of hope, and change. I will never forget one of my fellow challengers who was standing in front of me through all of our work-outs had a tattoo on her right shoulder. Her shoulder was telling me “Stay Positive” and I hung onto that when every fiber of my being wanted to stop.
I pushed through the pain that day. Miraculously I made it through the whole day without coughing, even once! I promised myself I would push myself harder than I ever had before and that I would stay open minded through the day. And I succeeded. I took away from that day a confidence that I COULD do this. I could CHOSE to be healthy, and committed. I called Dave on my drive home, and told him how refreshed I felt. That I was ready to take on the world. And I couldn’t wait to see where this was going to lead. I had perma smile, and couldn’t help it. I didn’t even care that I had a long way to go. For the first time in my life – I actually felt like I could do this!!! I could change.