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!)


  1. Perfect timing! I have just recently decided to take the "down escalator" myself. Eleven days in. It has been a lifelong battle for me too. It is only in God's strength that we can do this and for His glory.

  2. Way to go Cath! You got this! Hang on for the ride, my friend, it's gonna be a good one! :)