Wednesday, March 13, 2013
About 6 months ago, I had just returned home from the hospital after my first major surgery. Although my recovery went well, I wasn't able to exercise or life anything more than 5 pounds for about 8 weeks. Just when I would have been able to start working out again, I learned that I would need a second surgery due to an unexpected cancer risk. Needless to say, I was worried, depressed, and frustrated. I could have attempted to lose weight between my surgeries, but I didn't. I wanted to wait until I was really and truly out of the woods.
I had the second surgery on Christmas eve. At the time, I was really sad to be spending Christmas in the hospital. Looking back, I realize that it may have been my greatest gift. Facing my own mortality so intimately was certainly scary, but it also woke something up in me.
Having these two surgeries removed my last genuine physical obstacle that kept me from losing weight- excruciatingly painful and debilitating periods. They would begin whenever I would approach my current weight, and knock me out. Regaining the weight I'd lost was an adaptive strategy for me, so that I could avoid that agony. It worked, but it certainly wasn't healthy.
Now that I don't have to worry about that anymore, I feel completely ready to commit myself to this process- however long it takes. The way I see it, I'm (hopefully) going to be alive for many more years. I can either spend those years making mostly healthy choices that will likely earn me even more longevity, or I can fritter whatever time I have left away with unhealthy choices, feeling lethargic and sitting on the sidelines of life. I don't want to waste any more time wondering where I might be if only I'd started this months ago.
For the past two months, I have rededicated myself to getting healthy. I have been tracking all my food to the best of my ability and eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies. I have been drinking tons of water and not much else (Kombucha or hot tea on occasion), and, most importantly for me, I have been exercising every single day.
Exercise, for me, has always been the key to weight loss. I began by walking. As I was still recovering from my second surgery, I wasn't able to go fast, but I could go far. And so I did. My two month average is currently at about 12 miles of walking per day.
About two weeks ago, I finally got medical clearance to start working out more intensely, to begin swimming, and to begin lifting weights. In order to celebrate, I joined a gym. I love it and have gone nearly every day. I've tried several new fitness classes, gone swimming, used the elliptical machine, restarted couch to 5k using the treadmill, and started strength training.
Since joining the gym, my weight loss has all but stalled. I've lost less than three pounds in the past 2 weeks. I know that's not terrible, but compared to the fact that I was losing an average of 3-3.5 pounds a week prior to joining the gym, I'm feeling frustrated. I suppose I could claim that it's because I'm gaining muscle, but I'm apprehensive about making that sort of claim. The only two changes I've made are working out much more intensely at the gym, and trying to eat a lot more protein.
All this said, I'm not giving up. I'll just keep plugging away and working hard. Eventually the changes will come. I do have goals I'd love to hit, but I'm not on any hard and fast timeline. I have the rest of my life to do this, and this is something I'll be working on for the rest of my life, regardless of whether or not I achieve my goals.