Monday, October 10, 2011

If only public speaking were an exercise

Some of you have probably wondered, where have I been for the past two weeks?  Had I given up and moved on?  Was I on vacation?  No, to both of those questions.  Nope, I am not a quitter; not even when the task is not easy or totally successful. Nope, I have definitely not been on vacation.  For the past few weeks I've been out of touch because of my Toastmasters responsibilities. Over the past two weeks, I have given 3 speeches and have participated in 7 speech contests where I've listened to over 20 speeches.  As the Area Governor of 5 (soon to be 6) Toastmaster clubs I get to encourage the wonderful and talented 150+ members of these clubs while also persevering towards my own goal -- Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) by August 1, 2012.

Now, I know there are a few of you who have just dropped your cereal spoon!  You are shouting at your computer screen, "What in the world does public speaking or Toastmasters have to do with weight loss?"  These two areas have one thing in common, ME.  For over 25 years I allowed my fear of public speaking to dictate my career choices, my participation in extracurricular activities and my overall confidence.  For almost that same amount of time, I have allowed my weight to control the same.  Four years ago, I rediscovered Toastmasters International, trusted and actively participated in the program and now I don't allow fear to prevent me from speaking.  Too bad, public speaking doesn't exert a lot of energy or melt fat.

A week ago I was talking with a Weight Watchers counselor about my inability to get out of my current weight loss rut.  I told her that I was probably going to quit Weight Watchers because I was extremely swamped by work, my child, and my Toastmaster responsibilities.  As she listened to me, she waited patiently when I explained that after I became immersed in the Toastmaster program I eventually overcame my fear of public speaking.  She then said, "Give me 5 weeks and you will get out of your rut."  Well, today is the 1st day of those five weeks.  I'm off to a good start, because on Saturday she told me that I lost three pounds this past week.  Its amazing what you can do, when you surround yourself with positive people and are really focused on your goal.  It doesn't matter what type of positive support you use --Toastmasters International, Weight Watchers, your friends, your church, your family, a gym, or even this blog :)!  Find someone or something who can provide positive support and get started today.  You'll be glad that you did.

If you would like to hear five very funny speeches, you are personally invited to the Area 31 Humorous Speech and Evaluation Contest on Thursday at 6pm.

Take care and stay around positive people.  Small changes can and will make a difference.

Nancy Johnson


Anonymous said...

I have never felt that losing weight simply for the sake of losing weight was a sustainable approach. It has to be for a real reason, something concrete. You obviously have a passion for this toastmasters thing. The same type of passion needs to be developed/found for something that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Couple that with your support network and you will have your ticket punched to putting obesity in your rearview mirror.

But, you also need to prioritize a healthy life right up there with the other things you have made time for. It can't every play second fiddle.

Jim Pierson said...

If you have kids, there's also a junior version to Toastmasters called Gavel Club. Ours were reluctant to go since they came by their introversion honestly, but we made them stick with it. I won't say that they ever became overly excited about doing it. But they got to the point where they could organize their thoughts and give a speech without freaking out, which was the point all along. It helped them overcome "the number one fear" and boosted their confidence a bit. Now that they are in college and high school, I think it has helped them with their writing skills as well.

As for the rest of life's challenges, I try to remember the words of Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss), who said, "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."