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Welcome to the inside of my brain. Here, I share experiences, tips, tricks and fun things I've learned during my weight loss journey. 

  • Gail Ballin

Life Lessons.

NOTE: This was written in December, 2015.

I live in North Carolina, which is one of the most beautiful places to live (in my opinion, of course). We have relatively mild seasons with very little snow. However, when it does snow, a mass panic ensues and literally, EVERYTHING shuts down. We can expect schools to cancel classes and stores to close. I work from home, so no matter what the weather is like outside, I continue to press forward in my day job, while my children, friends and neighbors get to indulge in restful snow days. I don't mind- especially this year. Keeping busy when cooped up in the house really helped me stay on track and it truly prevented any mindless eating that results from boredom or being a couch potato while binging on Netflix.

Raised in South Florida, I'm not accustomed to driving in the snow. A few years ago I ventured out after a snowstorm to get my hair done (huge priority, I know!). There was a slight dusting on the ground and I thought nothing of it. I was chatting with my mom on the phone while I was driving and was going a little above the speed limit. Next thing I know, I lose control of my truck, my cellphone flies out of my hand and I'm swerving and spinning like a top. My truck spun out and I was about 4 inches from hitting a tree. I'm quite sure that there was some divine intervention that saved me from that potential disaster because it could have been very ugly and I'm eternally grateful for that.

I caught my breath, got my bearings and heard my mom still on the phone shouting "Gail, are you ok? What's going on?" Her voice led me to find the phone which was nestled under the passenger seat. I told her I was alright and explained what occurred. Knowing that she was worried, I stayed on the line with her for a few minutes to assure her that everything was OK. I then took a deep breath, disconnected the line and drove slowly and cautiously to my appointment. I had heard of black ice, but never experienced it before. Since then, I rarely venture out when there is snow on the ground unless a very experienced driver is chauffeuring me. We all have our hang ups, right?

I was cooped up in the house for a few days, but when the snow melted, the kids and I ventured out to the gym. I was totally jacked because I had been doing videos in my living room during my self imposed imprisonment and I really wanted a challenging workout with real people! It felt amazing to be back at the gym. I couldn't believe how happy I was; even more astonishing was how excited I was about feeling HAPPY to be at the gym! My endorphin's were pumping and I was motivated, so I took a spin class (my absolute favorite thing to do these days), then did a 30 min 5k training and topped it off with some upper body weights.

As we were walking out of the gym, my 14 year old daughter said, "Mom, you look amazing. I'm so proud of you! You've come such a long way and you've gotten so fit!" Hearing her say that, made me feel like I was soaring on top of the world.

My son, who is 18, chimed in. "Yeah mom, you look great but I have to tell you that I didn't think you'd do it." I gave him a curious look at him and asked what he meant. He clarified by saying, "you've been overweight since I was a baby and you've always been on diets. They usually last a week or two and then you get bored and stop. You've never really been this determined or worked this hard. It makes me feel good to know that you're getting healthy and taking care of yourself. I can go off to college and not worry so much about you." Their words made me tear up and all I could do was hug both of them for being such great kids and for being so wonderfully supportive. He was right, I had been overweight most of their lives. There were a few times where I successfully lost weight, only to gain it back with a few extra pounds for good measure. It's as if my body said "ha! you thought you could starve me? Well, I'll show you," and I'd give into my emotional hunger and continue with poor food choices and a sedentary lifestyle. I smiled. I was working towards my weight loss goal for them just as much as I was for myself. I want to be healthy so I can be with them as long as I possibly can. Aging is hard enough, but aging when you start off unhealthy isn't the ideal situation. Our discussion transitioned into a lengthy conversation about how hard work and determination really does pays off. My hope is that my lifestyle change empowers them to have confidence in knowing that anything can be accomplished if you set your mind to it and work hard. It all starts in your mind. Get your mind in the right space and you're half way there. A good life lesson for all three of us. :)

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