A Personal Health & Fitness Journey – The Warning That Sparked It All

A Personal Health & Fitness Journey – The Warning That Sparked It All

My health and fitness journey began how many do. Picture a woman heading into the doctors office and getting a warning from my life-long physician about how my weight is on the verge of becoming a problem. Not only did I get right on top of the weight loss, I made sure that I loved myself and the process along the way, or so I thought.

Just a few pounds over a clinical statement of a healthy weight for my height and age, I could have just aimed to lose just seven pounds. But I couldn’t, the warning wasn’t just that I was a few pounds overweight, the warning was that I was a lifetime away from the person who I wanted to be at that age. Did I have a great life? Absolutely! Something was still missing though. What was missing was the woman who I said that I would be. I remember vividly in my teens proclaiming that in my 20’s, I would go for runs in downtown Chicago, have a job I loved, and be really happy and spiritual.

Where the Health & Fitness Journey Began

That’s where the work began. The first I thing I did was put a clear vision at the center of my life. I went from taking a fitness class at a local university to running a lap around the indoor track before class started. I researched and started a Couch-2-5k program that I thought would get me in to running, and then I scrapped it all. Please do not be fooled, I was no quitter, but I knew that this was conventional, and not true to the woman who I was. Reminding me of another trait taught to me by my parents–authenticity. So I started running a mile, jumping rope in my living room, and lifting 8 & 12 lb weights on a wooden trunk doing modifications of the moves that I remembered from track practice in high school.

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health journey work out photo

Nine months, a gym membership, running club, and 27 lbs later, I was feeling more like the lady I had envisioned a decade ago. I ate clean, I looked amazing, got in to career fields that I loved, and had a great spiritual life. However, when I looked up to celebrate, I lost a lot of the “good life” along the way. My goals were selfish and completely shallow, I’d pushed people away to avoid distraction, had an unhealthy obsession with my clean diet and, though my body and opportunities looked the way that I wanted them to, I was just a hair shy of joyful.

At this point, I was leading group fitness classes, teaching spin, and in a training program to coach at one of Chicago’s premier fitness facilities. One day while walking home from teaching and preparing for my big audition at the new studio, a pain shot through the arch of my foot. Within a few weeks the pain was in my hip. I was angry, frustrated, and hurting.

A year had passed of me living with an injury before I realized what was missing. I would gain 18 lbs back before I realized that I needed happiness and character traits added to that vision. I needed beautiful friendships with my partner, with girl friends, with my family, and my co-workers. I needed literature, music, and travel. I needed meditation, prayer, and self-care. Being healthy isn’t just your diet and exercise– it’s about your mental health, emotional health and really listening to your body.

Fast Forward to Now

just go for it melissa health and fitness journey

My hip is strong, my workouts are almost back to 100%, and I have them as a supplement to aid me in living a life that I love. Today I coach an amazing team of women in a bootcamp series in Lincoln Park, I am starting a business with more projects on the horizon! Today, I am just above my newest goal weight (losing 8 of the 18 pounds gained after my injury), and I am doing it with grace and peace.

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Now I get to share this journey with the world. I get to tell great stories and news on joyful living. I get to fuel a community with what they need most and the tools to discover exactly what it is for each of them to live an authentic life in community and as leaders in the mind, home, and workplace. I hope my experiences help you to grow, crush goals and elevate your life.

Everybody’s health and fitness journey is different.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned from your journey?

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Cover Image: Trekking Rinjani

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Melissa Thompson

Melissa Thompson

Full-Time Educator at Lululemon Athletica
Melissa is a valued contributor to the Matchup Fitness Blog. Her mission is to create powerful leaders and activate the dreamers. She's from the city of Chicago and has a deep passion for health & wellness.
Melissa Thompson