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Friday, September 21, 2012

I've had quite an amazing morning, friends! As a lot of you know, I've been working pretty hard to get rid of this weight. I'd been at a plateau for maybe a month or so and I was getting really frustrated with the fact that the number on the scale wasn't going down. It wasn't so much the number...as it was the fact that I've been working SO hard and I felt like I had nothing to show for it.

Of course, that's ridiculous because a) I have lost inches b) my entire body is firming and toning and changing shape (thank you, swimming!) and c) I just feel wonderful physically in general as a result of the program I've been working.

Still...I was having lunch with a very close friend yesterday and she looked into my eyes and said, "Leah, why are you sad?" You know..it caught me off guard. I was tempted to give my usual go-to answer, which is...blame the hubby. Am I right? But, I realized that this was not it. Things have been going quite well in the marriage department. God knows things aren't perfect (because we are not perfect people), but I am generally happy.

So, without my go-to answer, I simply could not understand WHY I appeared sad and, ultimately, felt sad. As I verbally processed in the car, I hit on the core issue when I started suddenly sobbing...totally unexpected. The thing is...I'm so frustrated because I see all the positives above, but I still feel so limited and I feel like the lack of change on the scale is really holding me back.

Friend says to me, "Leah, what do you want from all of this?" I said, "To lose weight. To do Ironman. BUT...not just that." I couldn't pinpoint WHAT I wanted. She said, "You need to figure out what you want. Because it always starts as simple weight loss...but ends up being something else. You have to figure out what your 'something else' is."

The tears began when I said, "I want more. I want to do things for others, to inspire and to help in real ways...but I feel like I'm not allowed to do it YET...because I'm still so heavy. I don't know what this will look like...a book, speaking, getting certified as a personal trainer? Who knows? What I do know is that there is a voice inside saying, 'How dare you think you can do that? You CAN'T.'"

With that background, you must understand the thrill that went through my heart when I stepped on that scale this morning to find I had lost 2 lbs. Here's where it gets real, folks. I weigh 219. And while this would be shameful for most to admit, I am so proud. Because I am out of the 220s! I suddenly realized how very close I am to being back in the land of 100s and I almost cried. It is within reach. It is RIGHT THERE. And I WILL get there.

It's helpful for me to think in terms of overall, rather than the past month. If I do the math, I have been on this health journey earnestly since May 2012. That is only 4 months! I was 253 when I started. How dare I belittle a 35 lbs weight loss in 4 months?! Are you kidding me?

This morning, I went to the pool after a night of very little sleep. I was worried that this swim would be difficult since I'd only slept about 5 hours last night. I popped some Powerbar Cola Gels (my go-to energy source for an early morning workout when I don't feel like eating yet) and jumped in.

A history on my swimming:

I started swimming a mere 6 weeks ago. I had never swam freestyle in my life. I learned by watching 3 YouTube videos. And then I jumped in the pool and copied them. For a few weeks, I hit the lap lanes five days a week. I have had excessive trouble breathing. I have had to stop every 50 meters to catch my breath. Which means, I swim two lengths and stop...over and over and over. I have built a routine where I swim for 30 minutes and whatever distance I get in that time is my workout for that day.

Generally, I swim 750 meters, which is a nice even 30 lengths of the pool in 30 minutes. I shoot for this length because it is a tad longer than a sprint triathlon swim distance. And I am looking to perfect it by next Summer. The most I have ever done in 30 minutes is 800 meters (an extra two lengths) and that was only a couple of times.

Today, I did 34 lengths, or 850m in 30 minutes. Four lengths might not sound like a lot extra...but if you swim, you know that this is big. Especially since I've not been doing this for very long and I've had zero formal training. I worked hard in that pool today...and I only stopped to breathe 3 times for one minute each. That is a HUUUUUUGE victory for me!

When I got out of the pool (completely spent), I thought about every person that has inspired me, pushed me, or supported me. It was really a special moment because I literally couldn't wait to tell each of them how much their kindness, support and friendship has helped to bring me to this point. I honestly would have quit so long ago without my network of fellow friends, family and athletes. People who really "get" what I'm doing and why...and who have never stopped believing that I can do this. I'm so thankful. So incredibly thankful.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You go girl!
    1902 days ago
    You are amazing, Leah!! You DO inspire people everywhere...you never know who is watching to see what you are doing and who else might be inspired by you, in addition to SP readers. Keep doing what you are doing!! You are clearly on your way to an amazing victory!!
    1902 days ago
    1903 days ago
  • READE2MOVE2012
    Great. lways count your successes.
    1903 days ago
    Your are doing great don't ever put down your victories and its wonderful to want more because you will do it and your journey will be successful. Keep it moving and smile because you inspire others. You got me thinking about joining the Y and start swimming

    1903 days ago
    emoticon emoticon Very inspiring blog! You have come so far, not only in terms of weight loss but fitness and outlook as well! I'm just recently back at SP after a pretty lengthy absence where I gained most of the weight back that I had lost. So I'm starting over basically. The weight is not coming off as fast this time and I was feeling really discouraged that I've only lost 5 lbs. in 4 weeks. Sparkguy's message in Spark Coach today was just what I needed to hear! He said..."Pretend for a minute that gravity doesn't exist...everything is weightless. You don't know how much you weigh because gravity hasn't been invented. How would you define your state of health if weight didn't exist?" He went on to list many of the intangible non-scale victories that can be our measures instead of letting the scale define our success. I realized that even though I haven't lost much weight yet, I have still made progress and my new mantra is "progress not perfection" and for now I'm going to pretend that gravity doesn't exist and be satisfied with the non-scale victories! We can do it! Thanks for being an inspiration! emoticon
    1903 days ago

    Comment edited on: 9/24/2012 5:01:15 PM
    Just because you are not where you want to be, don't feel like you are not an inspiration. I check in with you regularly to see what is up. I take part of each of your successes and setbacks. You are doing it and that 35 lbs down is proof! Hang in there!
    1903 days ago
    This is awesome! Just what I needed right now as I have had my first weight gain since starting with SP! Thanks & keep up the good work!
    1903 days ago
  • DIETER27
    What a great post. You have inspired me on many levels. You have made me reexamine my own weightloss journey and know like you that I too can do It!
    1903 days ago
    I just blogged about this today-how it sucks that people don't want to hear your message just because you haven't hit your goal weight yet. Just keep pushing and being consistent-the weight has to fall off sometime and in the meantime you are becoming a better athlete! Good job!
    1903 days ago
    You are so wonderfully authentic....what a treat your blogs are!
    1903 days ago
    Great post! you and I are in the same spot! and today, I also weighed in under 220 for the first time! SOOOO close to being in the 100's again! That is my next mini goal.
    Know that you are amazing and have come so far. We CAN do this!
    1903 days ago
  • FARIS71
    You already are doing your 'something else' by sharing your struggles and victories, by being open and communicating so wonderfully. Thank you - it DOES start out as weight loss, but there totally is something else underneath all that.
    1903 days ago
  • THEIS58
    Just great!
    1904 days ago
    whata great post!!! emoticon
    1904 days ago
    You did great. emoticon
    1904 days ago
    You are amazing - you need to remember that. I totally "get" you when you say being out of 220lbs *100kg* is great. Because it is. I totally "get" you when you say that you do what you can for 30 minutes. It will all come off. YOU ARE AMAZING
    1904 days ago
    Congrats! Keep doing what you are doing-you are an inspiration!
    1904 days ago
    this is a phenomenal blog. you are inspiring on so many levels. What you have done in the last four months is nothing short of extraordinary. Please know that!
    Please know that you are already in your own way doing what those negative thoughts tell you you shouldn't dare to try. You inspire me with every blog post. You help me think about my own weight loss process and how I can make it better. Because of your love of running and the passionate way you describe it, my running shoes are back on my feet and I'm slowly training for a 5k.

    i'm only one person. I'm sure you have touched countless others. Don't forget that!

    thank you :)
    1904 days ago
    Wow! Your blog is just what I needed to read today. Thanks for your authenticity!
    1904 days ago
  • EWATTS83
    I am proud of your progress, keep up the good work. I know it seems hard right now but it will get easier. because working out will become addictive. Then you will want to workout all the time. You will have more energy and feel great inside and out. If you need anyone to talk too, for encouragement . I am here. emoticon
    1904 days ago
  • 1935MARY
    1904 days ago

    That is an amazing victory! Good for you. Dr. Birdie on Spark Coach who said that it is so important to find other ways than "the scale" to measure progress, so you don't feel defeated if it doesn't move. She suggested a number of them:

    Body measurements
    Clothes fitting looser
    How you feel during workouts... how well you perform and increase of energy
    Energy, attitude, outlook throughout the day
    Blood pressure, sugar level, cholesterol level, resting heart rate, better sleep
    Look better, more confidence, more compliments on your attitude and work ethic

    The third one really came through loud and clear in your swim, didn't it? Your blog was very encouraging. I'm really happy for you!

    Claude emoticon
    1904 days ago
    Leah, if anybody can do this, you're the one!
    Your enthusiasm is remarkable.
    Congratulations on what you have accomplished thus far!
    1904 days ago
    I read once that swimming is one of the most individualized sports. Not sure if that's so at the super competitive levels, works for me, though. Each time you're in the water, you're learning new skills: how to handle it when a bubble tickles the inside of your nose, how to keep focus when your ears fill and pop, how to engage your abs the entire length of the pool. 4 extra lengths is a big accomplishment. I was amazed when I did a sprint tri this summer how many people were catching their breath at the ends of the lane. One lenth, there was literally nowhere to touch, as it was body to body. You're no alone there. Nor are you alone in a plateua! Plateaus are enormously frustrating. Just like the sad, the frustration will ebb and flow, and as you keep on keeping on through all of it, you'll know yourself, your strengths, your abilities, your challenges better day by day.
    1904 days ago
    You go Girl! Keep up the good work! emoticon emoticon
    1904 days ago
    1904 days ago
    You really are an inspiration - and I thank you for your blogs. Very helpful.
    1904 days ago
    Keep it up! 35 pounds is a great beginning!
    1904 days ago
    you are awesome! emoticon
    1904 days ago
  • LINDA!
    You are a winner in my book! You just inspire me. emoticon
    1904 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    35 lbs is a wonderful accomplishment! Just focus on 1 lb at a time and try not to get discouraged. I have lost 12 lbs and already feel so much better and reading everyone's blogs just goes to prove that you can lose weight in a very healthy way and keep it off but you have to be committed and you have to be dedicated! Keep the faith! You can do it. emoticon
    1904 days ago
  • DSIMS8
    Thank you so much for writing this! Your words really inspire me to keep going. I cried when I read bout finding what you really want, because it has to be more than the weightI have to figure out what that is too. emoticon
    1904 days ago
    Thanks for investing the time and energy to share where you were, where you are and where you are going through your shared thoughts and words!

    You put the words to many of the trials and struggles and investments neccessary to make dramatic lifestyle and conditioning changes. Thanks much!

    1904 days ago
    The journey you walk now is what God will use to speak to others in the future. Rest in him.
    1904 days ago
    Thank you for that message today, I really needed it! emoticon
    1904 days ago
    Leah, You inspire each one of us readers every time you write. I ran across your blogs because one was voted most popular - then I subscribed because I want to hear what you have to say next. You inspire us, trust me.
    1904 days ago
  • OJ_2_OK
    I think that your blog and your page is proof that your self doubt is wrong. It doesn't matter what the scale says, you have touched many peoples lives. Your putting a tremendous effort in and are inspiring others along the way. Your journey is the important part, not the exact number on the scale.

    I hope I can live up to what you are doing because you are inspiring.
    1904 days ago
  • SKIPPIE123
    35 pounds is AMAZING! You're doing great. Very inspiring. emoticon
    1904 days ago
  • AJB121299
    great job
    1904 days ago
    Well done!
    1904 days ago
    congratulations! way to go.
    1904 days ago
  • NEWMOM20121
    What a great blog. Loved everything you had to say about helping others, I totally get that.

    When I jog/walk I think of you often. You are an inspiration to me. Great job being out of the 220's that is huge.
    1904 days ago
  • NEEDBU66
    I read this yesterday or the day before I can't remember and what your friend said about, Iit starts as a weightl loss and turns into something else" stuck with me all day.Its given me a lot to think about. A lot of people have written about how all this is now about them, how they are going to take care of themselves, and eat better and exercise more- very good things, but I wondered about at what point selfishness starts to take over. We are, after all, here for each other. Not that it was that that you were going for, it's just where my mind went. And if subconsciously that is what kind of gets us blue every once in a while. If that makes sense.
    1904 days ago
    you ARE helping people. you just helped me. right now--right this very minute. i am on a plateau right now and you just helped me deal with it.
    i am so proud of your success. keep going. all the best to you.
    1905 days ago
    You'v emoticon e done so well!
    1905 days ago
  • OPTIMIST1948
    I believe that when you hit a plateau, its because your body is "recalibrating" to reset itself to a new normal. Then you start to loose again because you are still operating at a deficit.

    Still, congrats on the swim progress! It is amazing. To quote an advertisement from the 80s "You've come a long way baby."
    1905 days ago
    You are doing so much already! You are a great inspiration. I know those plateaus are frustrating. You are doing great, and the success will continue.
    1905 days ago
  • CAROL494
    1905 days ago
  • SPEEDY143
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1905 days ago
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