What we're about
My husband and I are both struggling with health issues. At one time, I used to be an athlete as a biker, swimmer and horseback rider. And I was 120 pounds. I currently need to lose 120 plus pounds and never thought I would be here. Though I developed the fibromyalgia at the age of 18, and I am 44 now so I have had it for a long time, I find that movement really helps me even if it hurts at the same time. In the long run, it helps my well being both mentally, emotionally and physically. I have done over 100 summits, 500 to 600 hikes and walks, and did a lot of those when I was still under 200 pounds. My husband has done 600 summits and many more hundred hikes and walks than me. Greg is incredible and my inspiration. He also developed a thyroid condition about 3 years ago and he went from 190 pds at 6 feet tall to 275 pounds and most of his hiking "friends" left him. So he wanted to see if I would start a hiking group first to motivate myself and change my life. So I did. And it has been life changing...YOU ALL have changed my life.
However, after a lack of respect for me as a group leader among some people who have come to my meetups, and even after I have gone out of my way to tell them that I am slow and going to be slow... I feel the need to change the title and to reiterate that this group is to be founded on the premise of basic respect and understanding. Also, I need to emphasize that the whole point of this group is to communicate openly and to NOT GO AHEAD of one another and stick together.
• FOR THOSE WHO do not understand what FIBROMYALGIA is, I will make it simple...the way I see it: It is a condition where a person has debilitating fatigue combined with painful, chronic muscular pain in various parts of their body and there is no rhyme or reason to it as far is what parts of the body flare up over others and this is just part of the illogical aspect that make it difficult to have the condition. I have never used it as an excuse; though there is a general perception in society that if you have this condition, then you are lazy and that you must be using it as an excuse and that is horrible for those who have it, like myself.
The key vision I have for this group, after having it for seven months is to emphasize is: THIS GROUP IS FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE:
• A desire to make their lives better and change their lives while being around people who also respect and understand their limitations because they are going through the same thing. And people who love nature and want to appreciate nature in the process!!
• IN my original title, I had called it "Summit Big Bears Hiking and Walking Group", but no matter how many times I have had a huddle before our hikes and before the meetups through e-mails to tell people how slow I was going to be, there has been a general lack of understanding on my group and what it is about.
• People who are already positive in their attitude or outlook in life, are "glass half empty" kind of people or people who are wanting to be more positive and see being more fit and getting outside while in a COMPLETELY NON JUDGMENTAL environment as a way to do that.
• Health issues that slow them down, ( I have fibromyalgia, but someone else might have arthritis or something else that they feel holds them back) but they want to still be active and get outside and enjoy life. Or, someone who is heavy and wants to lose weight or someone who just love the Northwest or great outdoors and wants to be active and part of a social group.
• People who will (And all caps are for emphasizing, not yelling!!): STICK TOGETHER NO MATTER WHAT AND RESPECT THE SLOWEST PERSON BY ACCOMODATING THEIR SPEED TO THAT PERSON SINCE THE WHOLE POINT IS TO BE SLOW AND ENJOY NATURE!! THIS IS NOT A HIKING GROUP FOR ULTIMATE FITNESS!! IT IS A GROUP TO GET IN SHAPE AND BE ACTIVE, BUT NOT RUSHING WHILE DOING SO!!! IF AT ANY TIME YOU GO AHEAD WITHOUT COMMUNICATING THAT TO THE GROUP, THEN YOU WILL BE ASKED NOT TO RETURN. Also, if you WANT A GROUP THAT IS NOT SLOW, THEN THIS GROUP IS NOT FOR YOU!
HOWEVER, IF YOU WANT A GROUP WITH AN ABSOLUTELY AWESOME AND KIND LEADER (who is great with people b/c she loves people and is a writer, she is also an activist for 28 years for Native American tribes and has a lot of experience with people and the outdoors) who struggles with fibromyalgia and wants to make her life better but is going to be REALLY SLOW in the process, then this group IS FOR YOU. :) And that is a great thing!!!
Requirements: (SEE BELOW THIS BEAUTIFUL PICTURE)
• RESPECT for all others: All races, expression of self and that includes acceptance of gay and transgender people. Anyone who does not respect others will not be tolerated and will not be allowed.
I want to emphasize ahead of my original mission statement below that this group is for ANYONE who wants to be a part of an amazing, supportive and positive group of people. BUT THE KEY IS...WE DO NOT GO FAST...WE ARE SLOW AND STEADY and the idea behind that...going with my original vision...is to have a group of people who either need to lose weight or have health issues (I have fibro) or for whatever reason want to go slower. I wanted to have a positive group that enjoyed nature and the Northwest without putting pressure on everyone to go fast. My goal is to lose at least 80 pds this year. We wait for each other...and if we go ahead, we wait for the others, and we communicate that we are going ahead...
My vision of this group is for people who are heavy, struggling with severe weight issues and are more than 50 pounds overweight OR FOR PEOPLE who want a slower pace, be in a supportive, nurturing, positive (at all times) setting and and are looking to actively lose weight, become more fit and change their lives, but want to enjoy the beauty of Seattle and the areas around Seattle. The idea of this group is to encourage others to just MOVE but be around easier, natural settings to do so, while having fun and meeting great new people.
I support open, healthy and positive communication and always staying on the same page and staying safe by being in constant communication on our hikes.