I’ve had some people comment that I’ve made losing weight look easy. In the off chance you’re one of those folks, I’m here today to clear up any misconceptions. It’s not. And it doesn’t get any easier once the weight is off.
I suppose that I handled – or more accurately, didn’t handle – my weight the same way for many, many years. So it shouldn’t surprise me that my first reaction to a challenge is to revert to my old way of thinking.
Case in point: Today is one month from birthday # 46. Since mid-Spring, I’ve used that date as a goal to reach 100 lbs. lost. But a lot has happened since mid-Spring: a weeklong illness, a few vacations, my last official meeting with my nutrition counselor, the ups and downs of life in general. So, a month out from my 46th birthday, I’m beating myself up for 1) not having reached the “official” goal by the “official” date; 2) even worse – gasp – being up 8-10 lbs. from my lowest weight.
On the way in, I started thinking furiously about revising my goal for September 24, and wondering how much weight I could lose by then if I did perfect every day over the next month. Then I started thinking about revising that 100 lbs. lost goal, maybe for December 31, and started doing the math in my head. And then, that crazy all-or-nothing demon appeared, and I started thinking that maybe I would splurge a little this weekend and “get a fresh start” Monday.
SCCCCCCCREEEEEEECH! The thing that is different from the way I previously handled things? Now I can put on the brakes and come back to my senses.
I took a time out and considered the following:
- Two years ago, I weighed in at 232.5 lbs. and was wearing size 20-22 clothes. Today, I’m in the 140s, wearing size 10s, 10 petites at that.
- Two years ago, I considered a walk to the mailbox exercise. Today, I work out at least five days a week, usually for 45 minutes to an hour, an hour more on the days I weight train.
- Two years ago, any muscles I did have were lost under the blubber. Today, I am strong. I have definition in my arms, calves and quads. I’m even starting to show some definition in my abs.
- Two years ago, my meals came from microwave containers, paperboard boxes and drive-thru windows – and usually included a soda. Today, I cook with beans, quinoa and sometimes even vegetables! And for all intents and purposes, I’ve given up processed food, fast food and even those sodas!
- Two years ago, my cholesterol was over the recommended level and my blood pressure was borderline high. Today, the good numbers have increased; the bad ones, decreased. And oddly enough, I’m being treated for orthostatic hypotension, a form of low blood pressure.
Except for the number on the scale (and perhaps a dress or two a little tighter than they were in April), I am quite pleased with my progress. I am healthy. I look better — no, I look good – in my clothes. Nearly each week, I reach new personal bests with my training and workouts. Those problem areas are still problems, but they continue to shrink and tighten. I even beat back the “fat girl demons” in my head today. As my former nutritional counselor and now friend Traci says, “I got this.”
So instead of beating myself up today, I’m celebrating. Am I thrilled that my weight is up a little instead of down? No. Would I like to say that I have lost 100 lbs.? Yes, and hopefully sooner rather than later. But I know what really matters isn’t some day in the future or even what I was in the past. It’s today. Today, I will eat healthy and exercise; tomorrow will come soon enough. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it better than me: “Don’t waste your life in doubts and fears: spend yourself on the work before you, well assured that the right performance of this hour’s duties will be the best preparation for the hours or ages that follow it.”
Addendum: And then, as almost by magic, I find this link in my mailbox: Building Your Strength in the Present Moment. I love when stuff like that happens.