Thursday, June 27, 2013
This isn't the first time in the past ten years that I've tried to lose weight, but it may be the time that works.
Until I suffered a series of accidents and injuries (surgeries, assault, auto accidents) about fifteen years ago, I had always been very physically active. If not in perfect physical condition, I had at least always been in very good shape. I hiked and played softball, did ballet and bellydancing, rode horses, tried to play tennis and volleyball.
I liked being active. For one thing, it helped to balance me, helped me to keep my stress and insomnia somewhat manageable. When the first incident, a surgery, sidelined me for a while, it didn't seem terribly awful. I'd had sports injuries and minor surgeries before, and knew what it was to work back up to good condition. But then I developed a Neuropathic Pain Syndrome as a result of surgery. It affected my upper left quadrant. That limited what I could do physically, but didn't stop me.
Just about the time I adjusted to that, I had a hiking accident. A few months later, an elderly gentleman fell asleep while driving, ran a stoplight, and plowed into my car. Since he was doing about 60 mph at the time, I didn't not escape without injuries.
And before I could heal from all of that, I became the victim of a violent crime.
I spent a good, long time feeling sorry for myself. I also discovered the comfort of eating vast amounts of food that contained lots and lots of empty calories and tasty fats. By the time my doctor finally, gently, discussed with me that it might just be a little better for me, considering that I had a heart condition and all, if I were to improve my physical condition just the tiniest bit, I had managed to more than double my usual weight. That was a real shocker.
I tried, I did, for a while. But everything hurt, everything was different. There were limits and restrictions on everything. All of the things that I had ever done for fitness, including Yoga, well, I couldn't quite do them like I used to. I lost the will to try.
Since then, there have been four or five other serious attempts, but something has always sidetracked them. A couple of hospitalizations, a family death, things like that. And then I would think about starting again and, frankly, would just not have the power to force myself to do it.
But a few months ago, I started thinking, seriously. I am in my early 40s now. The last time I was in really, really good physical shape, I was in my late 20s. I got out photo albums and saw how happy, how alive, I looked back then. I wanted to be that way again.
I also took my time about beginning, this go 'round. Before, I've jumped up (metaphorically) and raced headlong into a haphazard fitness program. I've tried to do everything at once, make big changes, right then and there. Looking back through my journals, looking in the mirror, looking at the lack of photos for the past ten years, understanding clicked in my brain at last: I needed an approach that would work.
In mid-May, I was finally ready to begin my journey back to myself.
This time, I truly believe my plan will work; I will reach my destination, meet my goals, and forge ahead into a future full of real possibilities. Why do I feel so confident? Because, this time, I'm being realistic. I'm baby-stepping things. I took the time to really research myself, to learn my habits and the limits of what I'm comfortable with, and what I am not comfortable with. And most important of all, this time, the changes are for me, because I want to be stronger, healthier, and to regain self-confidence--not because I'm concerned about looking a certain way or being a certain way for others.
It's slow going, but it's real progress. I started out by doing a very small amount of walking as my exercise. Seven minutes a day, that was what I did at first. I also did not set specific dates for increasing my physical exercise levels, either. But before I knew it, I was naturally doing more; just over a month later, I'm walking between 25 and 40 minutes nearly every day.
I decided not to immediately change my diet, other than increasing my water intake. I have made a point of really listening to my body about what fuels it needs. I find that by allowing myself to have what I need, I eat less of what I don't.
I also didn't set cement-fixed goals for pounds-per-week lost. I've forced myself not to weigh-in every day. I don't want the number the scale's dial to become a fixation. I weigh myself once or twice a week. So far, this approach has worked for me pretty well.
By letting things fall into place more naturally, I've found a method that works for me. I've lost 25 pounds, to date. I've increased my fitness level, my stamina, and my endurance. My self-esteem is better; I feel better. I'm eating less junk. I actually look forward to my daily walks--and my chubby dog is happier, too; she's lost about ten pounds, herself.
It's working this time--I'm on the right track.