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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 are making progress!!
    1977 days ago
    1977 days ago
    Keep on
    1977 days ago
    I am glad we are SP friends & look forward to your blogs - thanks for sharing yourself with us. emoticon
    1977 days ago
  • MOM-MOM8
    emoticon emoticon You hard work really is paying off in many ways. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1977 days ago
    You inspire me with your words and attitude every day!! I am thankful for YOU! emoticon
    1977 days ago
    "I want more. I want to do things for others, to inspire and to help in real ways..."

    Honey, you ARE doing this!! You motivate me and inspire me!
    1977 days ago
    Great blog! I think many of us have these same thoughts and meltdowns over time and you were able to put down in words how we have all felt. That is a huge gift. Also, emoticon on your swim. emoticon emoticon
    1977 days ago
    emoticon WOW... you are something else woman! Even though you have these "little" meltdowns.... YOU RECOVER AND HAVE HUGE SUCCESSES!!
    You are spectacular and strong and a "fighter" for what you want to accomplish....
    Keep up the great work in progress.... That's what "WE DO" !!
    SPARK emoticon
    1977 days ago
    Great blog!

    You are an inspiration!
    1977 days ago
    Have I told you lately how much I love your blogs? I feel like you invade my head and steal some of my innermost thoughts.

    Thank you so much for sharing. Have a wonderful day!
    1977 days ago
    As always, thanks for the inspiring words. I know I also forget all the good things that are going on in my body when I'm not seeing the scale move. Thanks for reminding me.
    1977 days ago
    Your blog is what inspires me to keep going! I wait for it to come in daily and I cherish the couple of minutes I get to read it. Don't ever think or a second you don't help or inspire others. I would've quit numerous times if it weren't for you. It doesn't take formal training to be a good person and help others succeed. It just takes you being you! I'm thankful for you and elated that you are seeing success!! emoticon
    1977 days ago
    CONGRATULATIONS on seeing the scale move!! It always feels good :) I'm glad you're working on not letting it determine whether you're successful or not. I am amazed at all of the progress and changes you have made. It's so inspiring to see/read.

    God is changing you and your heart. He will always be there to help you along. I would encourage you to keep working towards your goal of helping others, because with God, of course you can! Rebuke that little voice in your head and listen to God's Truth.
    1977 days ago
  • JENNNY135
    Excellent job!!! Now take a deep breath and look back at all you've achieved, learned and how you've improved your overall life. It's great to see that you want more, that takes time and everyday you don't give in to those negative thoughts is a day closer to your goals. I think we all doubt ourselves, so just take this time to remember your successes. List them and post them where you can remind yourself what you've done.

    Remember that inner Warrior you are.

    1977 days ago
    emoticon on the weight loss. on the swim. on the incredible perspective. You are really something!
    1977 days ago
    Congratulations on the weight loss. So good to see that scale finally moved down for you. Your swimming is amazing. You are doing well with that keep it up. You are an inspiration to us all.
    1977 days ago
  • LYNSEY723
    Amazing post! I am so happy you have seen the light again! 35 pounds in 4 months is AMAZING! Sticking with it and continuing to grow is HUGE!! You are doing remarkable and I hope you never lose sight of your hard work and what you have gained from it! emoticon
    1977 days ago
    emoticon on the scale moving again!

    FYI? You already DO help and inspire others in very real ways. There's no "YET" to it.
    1977 days ago
  • DR8561
    You already inspire me and I expect you will only continue to do better on this amazing path you've chosen. When you do tackle that first triathlon, you have a whole host of Spark buddies who will cheer you on. You are blessed and a blessing!
    1977 days ago
  • SLPORTER1978
    You inspire your Spark friends everyday!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1977 days ago
    Goal weight would be great, it is the end game at some level but it's not the ONLY game!
    You and I started at the same weight, right now I'm gaining weight, my body is failing on some cellular level that we haven't quite figured out. That said, I hope I inspire folks? Not so much about the loss but to get out there and try something regardless of whether or not your thighs still spark when you run! I slogged through a cold, wet and slightly miserable 10K in November 2009 at 243 pounds. I wasn't even close to being in last place. A kindly 60+ woman fell in step with me and got me through the final half with running tips. I try to pay it forward as I'm running past a woman who's huffing and puffing whether she's 300 pounds or 150 pounds. I throw out, "we've got this" or ""seems like the toughest mile but your 2nd wind is coming" or when I was finishing the Mermaid duathalon and a heavyset runner was just starting out I said, "you're almost there, this is the final push" she replied, "I'm not a runner." I laughed and said, "now you are!" She found me at the race's end to thank me for the words of encouragement. You can aim for an Ironman but you might find just as much joy in a Sprint? Life gives you a lot of chances to make a difference. Great job on your loss!

    1977 days ago
    You're doing great! Keep it up! emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1977 days ago
    Leah, I understand so much of what you have expressed here. You have already made so many of the mental changes that are essential to losing AND keeping the weight off, but it's a slow process of getting from where you started to where you know you are headed. I started in January 2010 at 252 pounds, and it took me just over 2 years to lose over 100 pounds to get down to my goal range. There were lots of frustrating weeks when the scale did not cooperate even though I was doing all the "right" things, and what helped me was looking not at just the week or the month but the whole journey--how could I complain when overall I was losing at a reasonable rate? Congratulations on breaking through that plateau and on the great progress with your swimming; keep focusing on the things you have control over and you will reach all your goals.
    1977 days ago
    It is a long road, you have taken a detour or two. You will probably take more.
    You are already a success story. You are already motivating others with your non-stop spirit. You aren't perfect. Every day won't be a good one. Some workouts will suck, while others will be there to carry you through the rough ones.
    When you know what you are capable of, you will then begin to enjoy the journey and not shed tears over it.
    emoticon you!

    "There is magic in long-distance friendships. They let you relate to other human beings in a way that goes beyond being physically together and is often more profound." ~Diana Cortes

    1977 days ago
    Well done, Leah. Improving your swimming AND losing weight in the same week! Excellent.
    1977 days ago
  • AMBER281
    You don't have to be at your goal to inspire.
    You inspire people each and everyday just the way you are...myself included. You are strong, friendly, smart and dedicated to not just your goals but to your family and your friends. I know you can do anything you set your mind too.
    Weight is a strange and frustrating thing. I was talking to one of my other SP friends the other day who has also plateaued for a while and she said that she started focusing on things she could control instead of things she couldn't (like how the weight will come off).
    I hope you have a wonderful day !!
    1977 days ago
  • DIETER27
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1977 days ago
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