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Hiking Everest and 450 Miles Across Spain Helps Kay Cherryholmes Find Her Way to Health

By Kay Cherryholmes

One day I googled myself and I was caught off guard by a blog link that had me tagged as one of his Top 10 Most Inspiring Athletes of 2010! I had met the guy while hiking and considered him a dear friend. At first I smiled; feeling like I had somehow been a positive in his eyes, then almost immediately it read that he met me while hiking in Nepal to base camp of Mt. Everest and that my BMI was that of a mack truck!

everest kay

Instantly real tears fell. Not tears of his writing, but tears of truth about my struggle to achieve fitness. Who was I kidding? Mostly myself it seems. I grew up a competitive gymnast. I was always on a scale and measured my success based on a number that ranged between 114 and 119.

Fast forward from age 14 to age 44 and I had been married, divorced, raised two children as a single mom, and was completely disconnected from the fitness I knew as a young adult. My mind, however, continued to crave challenges, even in a 230-pound body. For all the struggle that it took to walk up into the Himalayan mountains 80 pounds overweight,it never began to stop me. He wrote that it was my perseverance that got me on his Top 10 Athlete list.

I always describe myself from the shoulders up as a ‘Michael Phelps type‘ and from my shoulders down more of a ‘John Belushi type’. I am part extreme athlete, part party girl. Too much brie and wine and not enough cardio.

After more than a decade of athletic events where I have fought with the struggle of weight in competition I decided that my next adventure would be a 450-mile walk across Northern Spain; the Camino de Santiago. It is a spiritual pilgrimage that took me through the heart of many regions in Spain. Once again I would carry the extra weight on my body and an additional 30-pound backpack with all the necessary gear I would need in my 40 days of hiking.

camino santiago

I wanted to remove myself from all of the excuses at home that get between me and a stronger, more fit body. I left behind the wine, cheese, friends, family, dishes, laundry, job, dog, television and my comfy new couch. They’d all become specks of home reality in my rear view mirror as I landed on Spanish soil. I would be forced in to my own mind and body for hundreds of miles and countless days. I wanted answers and to be accountable to myself. I would have no other choice but to face the dragons in my head, that for decades have defined my mindset and impacted my choices.
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The Big Weight Loss Pay Off: Find What’s in it For You

Whenever you venture into a healthy lifestyle journey, it’s important to establish what will feel like you’re winning. Being really specific and clear on what you would like to do when you get healthy will inspire you along the way when you feel like giving up.

dreamer
Some questions to consider as you look ahead include:

How do you want to live your life?

What kind of new activities will you get involved in?

Will you present yourself differently? A new look perhaps?

Will you make a career change?

Spend more time with your family? Make a family of your own?

Picturing yourself in the life that you dream of is important and acknowledging all the steps you are taking to make it a reality is priceless.
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Finding Motivation is Easy; Maintaining Motivation is Worth It

It’s so important to constantly reevaluate why we are making the choices that we make. This week on Live Big With Ali Vincent, my mom and I find ourselves back where it all started and stood in line for the Biggest Loser. Although the experience didn’t quite go as planned, I did find new motivation in Arizona to continue on this journey of the rest of my life, being healthy.

People often ask me how to find motivation. If you are truly struggling with staying motivated I think it’s of value to step back and take a look at the definition of the word.

Motivation

1.     giving of reason to act

2.     Enthusiasm

3.     Reason

4.     forces determining behavior

When you look simply at the definition it might become clear why you are struggling to keep it in your day to day. When we first start out on new journeys we are really clear on why we decided to act.
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The 1,000-Mile Journey of Life Really Does Start with the First Step

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Chinese philosopher Laozi

When I was eliminated from the Biggest Loser, I started working out at home with a friend of mine who was a firefighter, JoEllen. The first night I met her at the gym she gave me a necklace that had this simple, yet powerful truth written on it. I continued to wear it and think about it throughout my journey.

running stairs
This saying runs through my mind every time I start a new adventure and question my abilities. However, it makes me wonder, how is this truth that was first voiced in BC time so relevant today? I feel like they must have been referring to the actual journey instead of the philosophical journey of life. Then I think there is NO way they could be referring to the physical journey because then it would not be relevant today.
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Be Willing to Face the Truth of Weight Loss: 5 Things That Make or Break Success

During my twenty five years in working with weight loss clients, I took note a few common practices among the success stories – that is, those who were able to reach their ideal weight and remain there for years. What I see, time and time again, are five common success indicators.

Bottom line – inspiration is pointless without direction. Channel your inspiration into accomplishing these five tasks.

woman

Be willing to ‘let go’ and learn ‘just the facts.’ Most of us have a tainted education and need some de-programming after years of media hype and distortion of the truth. Dumping all of this bad information is vital to your success. You have to be willing to replace old myths with new facts. If you can do this, and ignore 99% of what you see and hear, your odds of success go way up.
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