The People I Find: Confidence

This week’s The People I Find is about one of my favorite people. Her name is Mekenzi and she is the life of the party. I had the opportunity to work with this girl last summer, and my life has not been the same since. Little did I know that she felt like this, because I looked up to her for her confidence. Kenzi is so caring, loving, and outgoing. There was never a dull moment with this woman and that one short summer we became great friends. Her story is one of inspiration and I LOVE it. I am so sick of seeing “It works” wraps, and diet pills… They may work, but they will never make you truly happy. Thank you Kenzi for taking the time to write this!

Mekenzi and Her Unknown Story

kenzi headshotSomeone once said “what feels like the end is often the beginning” this is my story of when I hit what felt like the end of my road but I later realized was the beginning of a life-changing experience that taught me how truly strong we are.

Diets, weight-loss pills, surgery, exercise, wraps, detoxes, these are a few of the many common things we seem to hear about in the health world these days in order to shed a few extra pounds and to look our best. The media is constantly spitting at us like leader-of-the-pack llamas who are trying to show others who is in charge or how things are or should be ran. However, from my observation it’s become an obsession and many people have been doing it in such a degrading way that it has often made me question if “I’m enough” or the right fit in this chaotic world we live in.

 

I cannot pinpoint a specific time in my life when or why it happened but all I know is I went from being extremely confident in who I was to internally forgetting who I was, and externally focusing on becoming some stereotypical girl the media told me that I needed to be. And you’d think that it would have caused me to turn to diet pills, wraps, etc. But it did the opposite. I hit a wall. It was a wall that I felt completely splattered on. With my feelings and emotions spread everywhere across the brick as if someone hit with me with a fly swatter. I stopped caring about my body. I would wear baggy clothes to hide my weight the best I could. And as much as I denied it, I began to eat my feelings. I stopped exercising and started moping about things that weren’t going my way in life. I lost sight of what mattered most and slipped into a mini-depression. I hated going out with friends and loathed dating. I felt as if I would get an automatic friend zone because I wasn’t the happy Kenzi that everyone knew. And I definitely wasn’t taking care of the happy Kenzi that everyone knew either.

The Realization
One day I woke up and it was as if I had been shocked by an electric fence with the strength to knock me to the ground. It hit me that things weren’t going to change unless I changed. I could no longer sit there and expect for all these things to happen for me in my life. Rather, I needed to use my resources and make things happen. And that’s where I started. I began in my kitchen and tossed out all of the “junk” food that made me feel awful inside and out. Then I brushed off my dusty tennis shoes and literally jogged around the block and came back and fell onto the grass thinking one of my lungs could be coughed up at any given moment. I walked up the stairs to my apartment (still out of breath) and drank a huge glass of water. Maybe even two. I ate a banana that night and felt so liberated. I wrote in my journal that night about how I executed the day with finesse, even though it was so small and slightly ridiculous. But it sparked something. It sparked the concept of small and simple things. And then great things began to happen for me.

I didn’t follow any diet or certain exercise routine. I didn’t exercise religiously every day or go off of carbs and sugar. But I did increase my water intake, eliminate some junk food, reduced my portion sizes, and was active every other day. Sometimes it would be the elliptical, walking on an incline on the treadmill, doing my own yoga, walking outside on our property, running 1.5+ miles, doing strength training, using my resistance bands, honestly I did what I want when I felt like it but I made sure I gave my body the time it needed to stress manage and to be active. And by choosing what I wanted to do, and the healthy things I wanted to eat, I found simple joy in the small changes. And before I knew it, after about a month, I saw my body transform.

I never was obsessive about the scale because I think it’s more important how you look and feel rather the number you read, but I began to see pounds shed. And between the time of November and January I lost 20+ pounds. When I stepped on the scale in January, I cried. I couldn’t believe that all those small changes that didn’t seem to be producing huge results truly did bring forth big results. It just took a lot of persistence and patience. And it was so worth it. I dropped two pant sizes and couldn’t believe how different I looked. And I learned to love myself again, regardless of my size. Because for me, it’s not about that. It’s about loving yourself for who you are and what you can become. And especially loving and taking pride in yourself for those small changes you make. It is such an important step in the process of having a happier and healthier life.

kenzi

Take pride in the small accomplishments each day, because those small things are going to end up producing big results. It is difficult to completely change your daily routine. Between eating, sleeping, and exercising, it isn’t easy to adopt a whole new lifestyle. Luckily, it doesn’t have to be an overnight change. I’ve always said “Rome wasn’t built in one day” I can guarantee that they built that empire then fell, and they probably had to reroute and try again. But eventually, Rome became history. And is now one of the most visited sites in the world. And it’s beautiful, even with some of it still being in ruins. Isn’t that an awesome concept though?! After so many years of hard work, sweat, tears, and I’m sure bloodshed, this immaculate place was built and it was because of people who stuck with it and didn’t quit or throw in the towel when the going got tough.

That is exactly how it is with exercise… If you are not congratulating yourself for your little accomplishments (Yes, even if it’s not eating an extra scoop of ice cream or drinking an extra 4 oz. of water) then you are going to find yourself very unhappy and not seeing any results. So start small. Even if you just start by eating an extra serving of fruit each day, or choose to walk to the grocery store rather than drive. And be patient with yourself and at the end of each day write down something you did well at that day in taking better care of your body. And if you incorporate exercise and healthy eating, along with a bounty of water, within 4 weeks you’ll begin to see your body transform. It may be subtle but it will be there. You will feel more confident and happy and you will begin to see your amazing potential. By 8 weeks friends and family will begin to notice your changes. And at about 12 weeks others will see the changes you’ve made and could be inspired to do the same thing!

Quit focusing on the “should be” and start taking control of the “could be”
What I mean by this is that we often get so sidetracked by who or what the world tells us to be that it consumes our time, our energy, our money, and all of our efforts. We can become easily frustrated because we haven’t yet reached the point of where we “should be” in our lives. And can I just add this isn’t just in regards to weight loss?! For me this includes dating, school, a mission, careers, the list goes on and on. I recently turned 23 and so many people keep telling me where or what I “should be” doing and how I “should be” married. For a long time I believed them and became so discouraged because I wasn’t at those phases yet (hence the weight gain) I was so hard on myself that I convinced myself that there was seriously wrong with me. One day it took my sweet mother consistently reminding me that I needed to quit worrying about the “should be’s” and take control of the “could be’s” it changed my mind and it changed my world.

kenzi bdayNow I am 23, wild and free (in a classy way of course!) living the way I want and feel the Lord wants me to live. I am figuring out what I love in life and pursuing that as a career path. I am taking control of what my body wants and needs and understanding that good things take time and that there is a time and season for everything. I recently underwent major surgery six weeks ago which has meant extremely strange eating patterns and little to no exercise. It has been tough, and I probably have gained a few extra pounds. But do you want to know a secret?! I’m not one bit worried about it. Because again, I am giving my body accurate time to heal. And when it’s ready, you better believe that Errtime by Nelly is going to be cued on my iPhone and I am going to do work till I’m a hot sweaty mess. And I’m fine with being patient. Because I have learned that it is the key to weight loss and health. Don’t forget to keep being patient with yourself, whether it’s health, school, dating, work, self-improvement, etc. This isn’t a competition to see who the world’s hottest bachelor/bachelorette is. That is so ABC TV. This is a time to become our best selves. And that doesn’t include fitting a specific mold that the media tells you to be. That includes the mold that God created you to be and it is far more powerful and beautiful than any plastic surgeon, diet pill, or wrap could turn you into. You have a divine potential and purpose but only YOU can fulfill it. Take control of what you can, live life to the fullest and enjoy the ride. Learn from the bad and the tough and use your recovery to drive you through when it hits again.

I have conquered my own-worst enemy, the toughest critic, and the me-monster and have re-discovered the beautiful and driven woman that I am who is endowed with power, light, and love and is capable of doing anything that I set my mind to. I love the woman I have become because I have fought so hard to become her. The journey is not over, for it has just begun but I am loving the ride even with the detours, pit-stops, and unexpected challenges. Because that is how life goes, and if we don’t choose to enjoy it now-in the moment, we will be waiting till we’ve reached our destination to realize how beautiful it truly is. And trust me, you don’t want to miss out on all that good stuff. Believe in yourself and believe that you can always change for the better. The power lies within you. What are you going to do today to be a better you?!

(C)LV-B2014

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