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“One Big Bowl of Discomfort Please!”
This morning on a run I was reminded of a “Jenni” that existed in the not so distant past.  That Jenni was battling her body.  She was uncomfortable in her own skin.  She hated shopping for clothes and hated the way the fabric clung to her in all the wrong places.  Not only did she not like what was going on with her body—she didn’t like the way she felt about food.  The past Jenni LOVED food…but felt guilty when she ate too much or too little…and hated that she ate when she was stressed, angry, or bored.   
Jenni of the not so distant past was living in the safety and security of her comfort zone. Her comfort zone was a fantasy that kept her from growing and changing.   She hoped doing as little work as possible would gain tremendous personal transformation.  (Isn’t that our human nature?  We seek pleasure and avoid pain?!)   In an attempt to avoid pain and stay comfortable, Jenni of the not so distant past lived in her comfort zone.  She believed if she lifted heavy she would bulk up.  Therefore she decided never to touch a dumbell heavier than 8lbs.  That was comfortable.  She decided running hurt her knees and made her face flush bright pink.  Therefore she never ran more than a mile or two, never ran uphill, she ran only when the weather was a perfect 65 degrees, and she never ran while on her period.  That was comfortable.  She believed that if she did anything out of the ordinary in the gym she might stand out and be viewed as strange.  Therefore she “ran” on the elliptical or read a book on the bike.  Again that was comfortable.   Unfortunately, the not so distant past Jenni clung tightly to her beliefs but found that “when you do what you’ve always done, you get what you’ve always gotten.”  Therefore the Jenni of the distant past was constantly battling the discomfort of her body and the mind games she played with food.
Fast forward to this morning’s run.  I have been healing from an injury and haven’t gotten to run in a while.  On the run I was mentally battling every hill, every straight away, and every internal voice that was screaming: QUIT!  (Or at least walk!)  I was listening to my breathing and how strained it seemed to be.  I was listening to my knees that were very angry with each steep incline.  I was drenched in sweat.  The sun’s heat was uncomfortable.  I was attuned to my abdomen that felt heavy and bloated because I am in fact on my period.  (Sorry if that is TMI.)  I was listening to my body screaming at me and telling me there was NO need to go on.  I was listening to my nauseous stomach and thinking why would one run to the point of feeling sick?  
The Jenni of the not so distant past would have quit.  She probably wouldn’t have even laced up her tennis shoes.  She would have quit at the first thought of a side cramp coming on.  God forbid that she feel the least bit uncomfortable!
However the Jenni of the current present has a new “comfort zone”.  She decided to resign herself to the process and accept being uncomfortable.  She was willing to let go of her former beliefs regarding exercise recognizing that it simply wasn’t working.  She was tired of being uncomfortable in her own skin and was ready for true transformation.  Not just physically but mentally as well.  She was ready to get rid of the excuses.  She was ready to stop being a slave to her taste buds.  She was ready to have food simply be “fuel”.  She was ready for truth to prevail.  The truth that she was stronger than she even knew.  That she has an internal strength that was connected to body, mind, and spirit.  That nothing tasted better than being strong and feeling lean. 
Jenni of the present is willing to get comfortable in discomfort.  She understands that “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”  Slowly one push up at a time, she builds her confidence.  She endures a love/hate relationship with burpees.  Climbing each hill, lifting each heavy weight she finds an inner strength.  She resigns herself to the fact that the process is a journey.  She views this journey as more than physical.  One that builds mental, emotional and spiritual character.    
I am so thankful for the type of run I experienced this morning.   It does not let me forget the Jenni of the not so distant past.  It is a reminder of my humanity and my natural reflex to seek pleasure and avoid pain.  It is a reminder that just yesteryear I was hurdling mental obstacle after mental obstacle to just get to the gym, never mind own one!  It is a reminder of the feelings of most of the women that step in my studio –  discouraged, uncomfortable, yet ready for a change, but with no real direction on how to get to the next place.  I am a living, breathing, “running” reminder that it CAN be done and it is worth every uncomfortable hill that we tackle.  Submitting to the process is worth it.   More importantly, YOU are worth it!  

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