52 Steps to Health – Step 10: Embrace the difficult

“I want to get healthy, but I don’t like vegetables.”

“I hear yoga is really good for you, but I’m not that flexible”

“I want to take Zumba at the gym, but I don’t want to look like an idiot in front of others.”

Every positive thing in life comes with something negative. As Seth Godin once wrote, “You don’t get to just do the good parts.

Of course. :)

Sometimes it seems like every time things in life start to feel ok (or even awesome) there is something else to push through or work towards or fight to overcome. What’s worse is the difficult always leaves this awful, uncomfortable, “dread” feeling that is sometimes difficult to shake. Some people (most?) avoid that feeling as much as they can.

There is another approach, however, that is better than avoidance, better than fighting, and better than waiting for something difficult to go away.


The Step:

Embrace the difficult.


  1. Chose something difficult that’s happening in your life (or something difficult you’d like to try)
  2. Chose a time and/or place THIS WEEK to get the thing done and commit to it: Put it on your calendar, make a mental note, ask a friend to go with you, etc.
  3. Decide how you’re going to EMBRACE the awful, uncomfortable, “dread” feeling:
  • If you’re going to your first ever Zumba class and dread looking like a complete fool, find a tutu or a pair of polka dot knee socks and embrace the dread!
  • If you’ve been avoiding your taxes because you dread how much money you owe, make a date with your significant other and battle it together. Set up some healthy snacks, some good music and reward yourselves when you’re finished.
  • If you hate vegetables (and/or hate to cook) plan a new meal with ingredients you’d like to try. Look up new recipes  buy yourself cool new tools for the kitchen, put on some music, invite friends over and make it an event.
  • Having a problem at work? Be proactive and talk to someone about it over a cup of coffee on you. Remember to stay professional when you explain the situation and ask for help.

This week I challenge you to EMBRACE THE DIFFICULT.

I’ll be embracing it by (finally) doing my taxes this week and giving myself some sort of awesome reward. Hmmmmm. What should it be?

P.S. If you’re just joining us, read all about 52 weeks, 52 steps here. You can get caught up on all the steps here  and If you’d like to your weekly step in your inbox sign up for a subscription to my blog!

Quick Update: February

First off, let me start with apologies…

I’ve been slacking on the steps! I want to get them going again, but I have a few reasons why I’ve been silent:


  1. I’m living my own advice and working hard on step #5 myself. As I mentioned in step #5, I signed up for the Seattle to Portland Bike Classic and I’ve been busy researching, finding a bike, and beginning my training in full force. I can’t tell you how much I love getting out there on my bike. Especially with friends. It’s amazingly fun, and I’m so glad I’ve decided to challenge myself in this way. (P.S. If you’d like to see the pics I post about this adventure, don’t forget to follow me on Tumblr!)
  2. I’m trying to find a new “job” and it’s been tricky. Ideally, I’d like a full-time “real job” in Social Media, but I’m having a hard time giving up my freelancer lifestyle. My dream job is to work as a community manager for a fitness/health/outdoors related company so I can combine my passions of social media and health. Wish me luck (and if you know a company who is looking for someone – ping me)!
  3. My biggest confession is that because of lots of work and home related stress I’ve been pretty depressed and have fallen off the wagon in terms of my diet. I hinted at this a bit in my January update and things are honestly still pretty bad. I’ve been great at getting out there and exercising (with the help of friends and hubs), but I’ve been eating whatever I like lately. I hate to admit it, but I’ve been gaining weight since the beginning of the year. I’m pretty embarrassed. Not because of the weight gain, but because I have a blog called “Epic Weight Loss Journey” and I’m gaining weight. How can I in good conscious give people “steps to health” if I’m taking steps backwards? I’ve been a bundle of stress and nerves lately, and for me that translates into emotional eating and letting the “hard stuff” slip. I feel really guilty, guys, and it’s time to confess that I need help, motivation, and the emotional energy needed to take care of myself. I’ve been wondering what my next “step to health” should be, and if I have the courage/will power to take it on even with all the scary stuff going on in my life right now.

So, there you have it. My excuses. ;) All those aside, I need to figure out a way to be stressed and STILL take the time and energy to feed myself the right stuff.

Any suggestions? How do you take care of yourself when it feels like your world is crumbling? How do you count calories or measure out food (or just pick the right foods) when you have too many things you have to worry about and work on? How do you squeeze joy out of an otherwise crappy day?


Quick Update: January

Hey guys, I realize it’s been awhile since I’ve updated you on what I’ve been doing and trying, so I thought I’d give you a quick one for the month of January!


How’s the weight loss progress?

Confession time: Things have slowed down. I’ve officially hit yet another plateau and have been playing ANOTHER plus and minus game with my weight and my measurements since November (stupid holidays). My plan is to continue my exercise routine (hopefully add a few things) and to get my diet back on track (I think this is my biggest problem).

Pounds lost so far: 74 (back up – eep).

What am I eating now?

My diet is out of whack so I’m seeking the help of an online coach for the month of February. I plan on asking her:

  • How many calories should I be eating?
  • What types of foods should I be eating?
  • Should I get some sort of fitness tracker like a body bugg or fitbit?
  • Should I eat the calories I burn while working out?

I should probably ask her more questions — What am I forgetting?

How am I exercising now?

On the good side of things, I’m still exercising regularly. I get to the gym or get out at least 5 days a week and have tried to add a walk everyday too. As I mentioned before, I’ve officially switched gyms and tonight I attended my very first kickboxing class. I was nervous, and a little excited, but it was super fun!

What am I working on?

I’ve also started a new personal project (I know, I know, I have a million of them) by volunteering on the board at my local dog park. As you know, I have a lab named Molly, and she absolutely loves the park. My husband and I decided that we wanted to do more with Molly (including therapy dog training and volunteering) and this is the first step in that direction.

A Request…

Lastly, I have a small request. I’m looking for weight loss success stories. Do you have one? Would you be willing to share your story and let me interview you? Contact me!

Also, how are you guys doing? What are you achieving lately? Share it with me in the comments!

It’s not fair.


work harder than everyone else.
eat salad when everyone else has pizza. Every single weekend.
were born with these genes.
have to stay vigilant in order to make changes.
don’t have time to exercise.
weren’t educated about health.
*r spouse sleeps in.
*r friends can eat what they like.
lose weight so much slower than everyone else.
gain weight too easily.
can’t gain weight.
have to watch what you eat.
have a job where you sit all day.
are so overweight exercise is especially difficult for you.
weren’t brought up in a healthy household.
have to try at health every single day.

You’re right, it’s not fair.

So, what are you going to do about it?

When it comes to health, there is no map.

Everyone one of us is an explorer working to build our own map.

Some won’t acknowledge their maps and are lost among the trees, while others are so into their maps they’ve created something very complex, drawn to scale with several keys, and a compass. Some have maps that are simple, written with the notion that it’s ok to get a little lost, still others sell maps and help others with answers.

Sometimes I get so bogged down in what the “right thing to do” is I forget this simple and elegant reality. I worry that I don’t have all the answers, that there are too many options and opinions and “right ways” to do this and sometimes when I find a path that works I kick myself for not having found it sooner.

But, I’m learning that each of us is a mapmaker on our very own journey and every map is as good as the next. There are lots of “right ways” to find health and that’s a good thing. It means you don’t have to worry. If you’re making the effort and trying your best- odds are you’re making a pretty kick ass map.