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Member Stories

Keep Hiking

At face value my story is a fitness story, but dig a little deeper, and you'll find that the concept of weight-loss only scratches the surface. The physical weight that I lost is just a byproduct of all of the mental weight that I have shed. It's symbolic; I feel lighter, in a way that I didn't know was possible, and being ACTIVE, getting OUTSIDE, making CONNECTIONS, and MOVING have been invaluable in this process.

I used to get so frustrated, sad, and lonely that the only way out seemed to be ending my life. It's not that I wanted to be dead, but I wanted those feelings to stop, and I wanted them to stop desperately. I spent a lot of time feeling alone, unheard, and unseen. While I was entrenched in those feelings, it didn't seem like there was any other way out. I couldn't imagine a solution that would keep me in this world. But, as with so many journeys, I look back and see my path in a completely different light...

When hiking in new territory, you may not know what is ahead of you. You feel like giving up, but you put one foot in front of the other until you crest a hill, or summit a mountain, and are faced with the most beautiful view you've ever seen. That's how I now view challenges and struggles.

When I was on that lonely and dark trail, I could not see the beautiful view over the hill. I didn't believe it was there for me...

...and I almost stopped hiking.

But, the person who is waiting at the top of the hill knows that view is there for everyone who wants to see it, and you may only have a short way to go before reaching an incredible payoff.

Today, I'm at the top of the hill and so thankful I didn't give up on myself. My relationships with others are better; I love my career; and most of all, my relationship with myself is healthy. I picture my former self on that lonely trail and my current self at the top telling her she can make it.

If you are on a dark trail, I want to encourage you to keep hiking: One foot in front of the other, until you can fully appreciate the view. If you knew that you only had a quarter-mile to go, you could keep going. So, what's the difference between knowing and not knowing? Confidence. Be confident in knowing that there is indeed a peak to the mountain, and the view is more than you could ask for.

— Cathy Nelson


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