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
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!)