Today’s morning post is brought to you by a reader named Beth.  Enjoy!

 

When Caitlin changed the name of her blog from See Bride Run to Healthy Tipping Point,  I didn’t give much thought to the meaning behind the terminology. Like so many bloggers and blog readers, I, too had once had a healthy tipping point – something that made me change my life for the better, lose weight, and commit to a healthier lifestyle. Or so I thought.

 

After college, I lost about 20 pounds and shifted my eating habits toward a balanced diet. But let me be honest: my fitness journey has always been motivated by vanity. Sure, I love the feeling of accomplishment that comes from finishing a long run, and I take pride in creating beautiful, healthy meals from seasonal ingredients. But really…I exercise and eat well because I want to look good. For the last nine years, I’ve been working toward smaller hips, buffer arms, a flatter tummy and a tighter butt. I want to go down a size, accentuate my assets and make the world think I’m at least two years away from turning 30 (when, in fact, I just hit that milestone in December. Don’t tell anyone.). I appreciate the good health that comes from all of this hard work. But throughout my 20s, if you were to ask me why I take such good care of myself, my first response would likely be, "Because I’d be fat if I didn’t!"

half

It wasn’t until recently that I reassessed my priorities and shifted my thinking about health and fitness. Sadly, this comes as a result of a friend’s pain and suffering. An otherwise healthy 31-year-old, my friend visited her doctor complaining of shortness of breath and swelling in her leg. She was diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension, and in the span of a month, went from living her life to being scheduled for an emergency heart and double lung transplant. She survived the surgery, recovered at home, and amazed us all by returning to work six months later.

 

However, the excitement was short lived: An infection forced her back into the hospital last month, and as her body fought to ward off the germs, it also turned against her new organs, catapulting her into rejection. She’s now back to square one, sitting in the hospital and waiting to be re-listed for yet another set of organs. Even the smallest tasks feel like a marathon, as she can barely take the few steps to the bathroom without feeling short of breath. Medications have dried out her mouth making it difficult to swallow solid food, and her muscles are weak from weeks of inactivity.

 

Visiting her in the hospital has brought forth a range of emotions – fear, of course, along with sadness and anxiety over her pending operation and arduous recovery process. But after working through these feelings, I also found myself reflecting on how her experience has changed my perspective on my own health and fitness. Being fit and healthy is not a given….it’s a gift. I am blessed to have the ability to run, climb stairs, lift weights, and hell – even get out of bed in the morning. Instead of running one more mile to burn 100 extra calories, I should run one more mile because my heart and lungs allow me to do so, because my body is privileged and powerful enough to do so.

canyon

I suppose you could say this is my way of closing the door on fat talk. I still care about how I look, but I’m choosing now to focus on the full scope of my fitness accomplishments and how they contribute to a pretty amazing life. My body may have a few wrinkles, dimples, rolls and folds, but it’s also carried me through three half marathons, countless hikes, and treks across some of the most amazing cities in the world. It’s something to appreciate and to be thankful for every day.

{ 41 comments }

 

  • greenbean June 4, 2009, 4:13 am

    pretty powerful stuff right there. great post! i wish your friend the best with her recovery.

  • Sam June 4, 2009, 4:14 am

    Great post :). Like you, my journey to 'health' has pretty much always been based on how I look. And if I'm being honest, it still is. Sure, I ;ike to eat well and exercise for health reasons, but at the end of the day my main focus is losing weight. It's sad really, and I wish my reasons weren't so vain, especially since I'm not technically overweight. I'm glad you've managed to gain sight of what's important, it's just a shame it took such an unfortunate event. In the meantime, i'm hoping my reasons for eating the way I do will slowly shift from being about looks to actually being about health.

    Sorry if that message is a bit of a ramble – I have definite food issues i'm trying to work through at the moment!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point June 4, 2009, 4:18 am

    sam – don't worry about rambling šŸ™‚ that's how we figure ourselves out.

  • Jenny June 4, 2009, 4:35 am

    This is an absolutely beautiful post! I just copied it into a word document so I can read it over and over again to remind myself how fortunate I am to have my health to maintain. All the best to your friend, Beth.

  • Sam June 4, 2009, 4:47 am

    Thanks Caitlin :). People like you are such an inspiration, and i'm trying so hard to have as healthy an attitude towards food. I guess I'm just not quite there yet…

  • Kath June 4, 2009, 4:49 am

    Thanks for the great post Beth. Sorry to hear about your friend šŸ™

  • Andrea June 4, 2009, 4:51 am

    Really wonderful post. I wish your friend nothing but the best. I love your outlook on health, fitness, and body image. I currently go to UNCG and was so surprised to see your sweatshirt! Go Spartans šŸ™‚

  • Neely June 4, 2009, 4:58 am

    Amazing post. Thanks for this. Perspective is something that often seems to be lacking in some food/fitness blogs sometimes, and we all need to be thankful for God's gifts instead of trying to acheive body "perfection" in our own minds.

    Yesterday after work I met with a friend I haven't talked to in a long time instead of going to the gym. While I can't do that everyday, I am going to make it a priority to at least do it more often.

  • Oh She Glows June 4, 2009, 5:00 am

    Such a great journey!
    I love this quote: "But throughout my 20s, if you were to ask me why I take such good care of myself, my first response would likely be, "Because I'd be fat if I didn't!"

    I relate to that so much- that pretty much describes a good 10 years of my life!

  • Stacey June 4, 2009, 5:02 am

    That almost brought me to tears

    My teacher has a neighbor that is a healthy weight, does marathons and exercises daily, that just had a heart attack out of nowhere. That is scary to me!

    I can totally relate with this reader because when I started getting healthy in high school it was to look good, but I could care less now!
    Looks are not what is going to prevent disease or carry you through life, your health is.

    I view my body as my temple. It takes care of me, so I will take care of it and pray that it keeps me going that extra mile every day šŸ™‚

  • healthyfitmama June 4, 2009, 5:04 am

    Wow – what a great post! I love your positive outlook. I too started my weight loss journey mostly out of vanity. Once I lost weight though, I realized how much better I felt. I never realized how "unwell" I felt before. Now my focus is more on my healthy.

  • Amelia (AC/DC: Highways to Health) June 4, 2009, 5:06 am

    Great post! This is such a powerful way to look at it. Our bodies and health truly are gifts.

    Best wishes to your friend on her difficult journey!

  • Sarah (Running To Slow Things Down) June 4, 2009, 5:09 am

    Wonderful post! Thank you so much for sharing!

  • itsawrapteacher June 4, 2009, 5:09 am

    It's so great to hear you've embraced your body for all its strengths and weaknesses!

  • Robyn June 4, 2009, 5:13 am

    This is exactly what I needed to read this morning! After checking my work emails, I was feeling kind of down (work never stops, does it!)…and then I read something like this and it has put things into much-needed perspective. I am going to sip my green tea, take a few deep breaths, and feel appreciative for what I have.

    I hope your friend's recovery comes swiftly and healthfully. thank you for sharing this story!

  • Amanda June 4, 2009, 5:14 am

    This was a great post! Thank you Caitlin and Beth! I know that I still struggle in trying to keep my focus on health and not looks. I wish your friend the best in recovery!

  • Red Head, Yellow Dog June 4, 2009, 5:34 am

    wow really powerful post. Thank you for sharing this.

  • seesaraheat June 4, 2009, 5:46 am

    What an amazing and powerful story. It really puts things in perspective. My prayers are with Beth's friend. Great post!

  • chandra June 4, 2009, 5:50 am

    Great post.. very eye-opening story. Beth, I hope your friend pulls through everything! Thanks for the inspiration!

  • Brandi June 4, 2009, 6:03 am

    What an amazing post!

    I can relate to alot of things in this post, right now, actually.

    Thanks for sharing Beth!

  • inmytummy June 4, 2009, 6:07 am

    This is a great post. I have a hard time reminding myself that being healthy is more than just a vanity thing. Hearing stories like this help me remember that it's about so much more. Thank you.

  • prinny June 4, 2009, 6:10 am

    Awesome post, thanks for sharing.

    I just had a similar conversation with a friend last night – we should be thankfull for being healthy and not take it for granted, but it's really hard sometimes!

  • Tammy (Defining Wellness) June 4, 2009, 6:10 am

    Beautifully written and so well said! Keep spreading your message — let's get EVERY woman, and man for that matter, thinking this way.

  • Turtle June 4, 2009, 6:21 am

    BRAVO! Excellent post, Beth.

  • Dori June 4, 2009, 6:24 am

    Amazing post — I have chills.

    Beth, even if your original motivation was vanity (and let's face it, that is what powers so many of us) at least you were doing something wonderful for your body. Now that your focus has shifted, you will likely see better results because you're not worrying about the short term results and instead you're looking for the big picture. Great work!

  • Kelly June 4, 2009, 6:31 am

    Thank you for this post, I need to be reminded every once in awhile what healthy really is..

  • Susan June 4, 2009, 6:34 am

    Love this post!! I try really hard to make sure the decisions I'm making are for my health and not for vanity. But sometimes it's hard to tell! I definitely look at my body differently when I'm training for a goal, rather than just going to the gym because I feel like I have to.

    Too bad it took your friend getting sick to realize this šŸ™ I hope she gets through it okay!

  • Holly June 4, 2009, 6:39 am

    I loved this post! Such a great reminder that we shouldn't take for granted the little things….even walking from your car to a store without any pain – some people don't have that. And I am right there with you…for so long it was about vanity, but the older I get, the more I realize the BIGGER picture.

    I am so sorry to hear about your friend. She is very lucky to have you in her life!

  • RissyKay June 4, 2009, 6:58 am

    Great post! It was the perfect thing for me to read this morning. Thank you and I wish your friend the best of luck!

  • Jessica June 4, 2009, 7:05 am

    I got both goose bumps and tears in my eyes reading this post. Not only was it very well written but the message is amazing. This is the type of post I am going to want to go back and read over and over again to continuously remind me what is important. Thanks Beth for your inspiration and I wish your friend well.
    Jessica

  • Anonymous June 4, 2009, 7:07 am

    Amazing post! Everyone should be working towards this attitude!

  • Anonymous June 4, 2009, 7:39 am

    what an amazing and moving post!
    thanks guys for shedding a new light on my day šŸ™‚

    erin@glutenfreewithapurpose

  • Amy June 4, 2009, 7:40 am

    What a wonderful and powerful post…i have been trying to change my thinking about health and fitness as well-you hit the nail on the head!!

  • Monica June 4, 2009, 7:50 am

    This is a GREAT post! Very inspiring, and it definitely makes me feel fortunate that I can even go work out. I'll be the first to admit that at first my goal in starting to move it more was that I wanted to "get skinnier" but as time has worn on, I just love the feeling of being healthy and being able to go for a run outside and enjoy it.

  • Matt June 4, 2009, 8:21 am

    WOW! Awesome post! That really hit home to me. To me, running is about fitness, health, and accomplishment. Who cares if you can have a few extra cookies along the way?

  • Katherine June 4, 2009, 8:22 am

    Wonderful guest post, thank you Beth! Please know that your friend is in my thoughts and prayers and your words have had an impact on me – today I'll exercise because I can, not because I want to lose weight. Hopefully I can keep this in mind EVERY day!

  • Michelle June 4, 2009, 8:44 am

    AWESOME guest post! Beth, that was so inspiring!! You're beautiful!!!

  • Elizabeth June 4, 2009, 9:27 am

    Well put!

  • NYgirl@heart June 4, 2009, 10:40 am

    Amen sister. That was a great post. I loved your honesty about vanity. We all need a reminder sometimes at how fortunate we are.
    I wish nothing but the best for your friend.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

  • Beth June 4, 2009, 10:47 am

    Thanks, all, for your kind words…and to Caitlin for letting me post!

  • Jenn Eats Nutritiously Now June 4, 2009, 1:49 pm

    That was a great post. Very insightful!

Healthy Tipping Point