Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Making a Comeback

Don’t you just love a good comeback story?  You know, the kind of tale where a character has been really successful, but then life throws them an unexpected curveball and they go through some really hard places…or maybe they made some poor decisions that led them astray…but in the end they come back, stronger, wiser, and better than ever?  There’s so much emotion involved as the character moves through each season of their experience…The joy of the good times, followed by the agonies of the challenges, and finally, the relief and excitement when they make it through to the other side of their struggles.  I have laughed, cried, and cheered my way through many such books and movies.

Right now, however, I feel as though I’m living out my own comeback story…Having been overweight my entire life, I finally decided 4 years ago that it was time for a change.  I worked hard to change my eating habits and incorporate exercise into my life.  I’ll be honest with you, it’s not always easy to implement exercise and healthy eating when you’ve spent 39 years without giving much thought to your own personal fitness, but I did it, and I lost 169 pounds in about 18 months.  I was smaller than I had been since I was 13 years old.  I felt fantastic!  I had taken up running and biking.  I was no longer restricted or limited by my size in any way…then I got hit with my curveball, and it knocked me flat on my back.  During the following 2 years, I dealt with so many doctors and lived in so much pain, that as I stopped exercising and devoting time to good nutrition, I regained over half of the weight I had lost.  

By the time that I had recovered from my health issues, I went through a really depressed period of time where I thought I could never lose the weight again.  Oh, I wanted to.  Desperately.  But I had pretty much given up hope that I could actually do it though.  It all came to a head one Sunday afternoon in March as I started pulling all of my now way-too-small clothes out of the closet.  I was so mad at myself.  All that work for what?  To regain half of it?  To give up without reaching my goals? Or even worse, to keep on gaining and end up heavier than I was when I started???

I had to make a decision.  I could either spend the rest of my life miserable, hating myself because I wasn’t who I wanted to be, and feeling like a failure…or I could do something about it.

I have to say, making the choice to get back on track has set me free.  Free from the feeling of “I can’t”.  Free from feeling like I wasn’t worth something better.  And free from the overwhelming feeling of being out of control and unable to do what was right and make a change in my life.  

For the last three months now, I’ve been paying attention to proper nutrition, working out regularly, and staying accountable to a supervised program, and the weight is coming back off at a healthy rate, averaging about 2 pounds lost per week for the last 15 weeks, and I feel fantastic!

You see, no matter how far you have strayed from your goals, you can always make a comeback.  It doesn’t matter if circumstances beyond your control sidelined you for a while, or if you chose to stray from what you knew to be the right path.  Or like me, maybe you’ve experienced a blend of the two.  Today, however, you are not powerless.  You have the ability to choose to do what is best for your body.

Are you ready to make your comeback?  

Philippians 1:6 “…he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion…”
(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional, a representative of any formal weight loss program, or a certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Up and Down Escalators

When I was a child, one of my mother’s regular shopping destinations was a local department store.  My favorite part of being there was when she needed something from one of the upper levels, and we got to go up the escalator.  Riding up those moving stairs was exciting to my eight-year-old self.  I loved grabbing the rail and jumping on as it took us higher and higher.  There was only one problem, though…I loved going up, but I was terrified of coming back down!

Going up was easy.  I got to start the journey from the bottom, on familiar ground.  Just walk in and step right on with no fear of falling.  Seeing the steps rolling upwards was not the least bit intimidating to me, it was fun!  As long as I looked straight ahead, I could ride along comfortably with no thought of how far up I was really going. 

Coming back down was not so easy though, and I got no enjoyment from it whatsoever.  Going down meant that I had to face the reality of just how high I had gone.  The thought of pitching myself forward onto the quickly descending platform would paralyze me in fear.  The big, open stairwell loomed in front of me, making me dizzy if I dared take a peek at it. 

I saw others going down with no problem, but I was scared that I would get killed if I tried on my own. Usually my mother could prod me along, holding my hand and half dragging me with her, my face buried in her side.  One time in particular, however, I can remember my mother (with my baby sister and her recent purchases in her arms) told me to grab onto the rail myself and follow her back down.  She boarded with ease, but I simply could not get myself to move.  I could visualize myself tripping and tumbling down, being hurt and embarrassed, and thought perhaps staying in the 2nd floor linens department for the rest of my life was my fate, because there was no way I could do this.  Now at the bottom, my mother began pleading with me to “quit being silly” and come down, but I would not budge.  Rather, I burst into tears, convinced I could not possibly do it.  Eventually, a kind sales clerk heard the commotion and helped me get down to my waiting family.

I find that there are many similarities to this journey of losing weight and living a healthier lifestyle and my experiences with the escalator.  When you are gaining weight and not exercising, the ride up is often easy and fun…After all, fast food is convenient and inexpensive.  Sweet, savory, and rich indulgences taste great and are often shared in social settings with friends and family.  You don’t have to set aside time in your day for fitness or meal planning, and you rarely stop to think about how far you’ve gone from where you started.  Before you know it, you’ve reached “new heights” that actually become places of despair…favorite clothing no longer fits, your energy level is way down, you feel uncomfortable in your own skin, and you just don’t feel good about yourself like you once did.

No matter how much you know you need to do what it takes to get back down to where you belong, it can be scary.  It’s hard to face the reality of where you’re at.  From the high point, the goal looks so very far away, impossible to reach.  You begin to think that this is the place where you will spend the rest of your days and there’s nothing you can do about it.  I know, because I’ve lived it in more ways than one…

Today, however, I’m so thankful that I’m no longer standing at the top, shaking with fear, and refusing to move because I’m afraid I might not make it back down.  I took a deep breath and made the steps necessary to head back down to a healthy weight, and guess what?  It feels great!  While the journey to reach my weight loss and fitness goals may take a little longer than that childhood ride down the escalator, I’m so happy to be moving in the right direction!

(Just a reminder/disclosure…I am not a medical professional, a representative of any formal weight loss program or a certified trainer, so anything I write in this blog is not intended to be taken as advice, guidance, or recommendations.  It is simply a journal of my own personal experiences.  Thanks!)