My last blog post was on May 6th (Pushing Past the Hard Comments www.sparkpeople.c
), and received wonderful supportive comments from many Sparkies. I want to thank those of you who read and commented on that post, because it didn't ease up after those 2 weeks.
It took 9 entire weeks, with new people commenting every week about my weight gain. From the concerned friend giving me the sympathetic squeeze and "looks like you've put on a few" to the shocked co-worker stopping me in the hall to say "oh! You've gotten bigger!" Or the friend who grabs my thigh and goes "Kate! I remember when I met you last year - boy we've both got some to lose!" (at least she included herself in the struggle) to the co-worker who goes "did you gain weight? Oh, maybe it's just your new hair cut..." to the grocer miming with his arms and saying in his broken English "you...ah, bigger."
It's the culture here, I know -- they don't see it as an insult, just a comment, like "hey, your hair is brown." Why yes, yes it is. Or even some who hold extra weight in higher esteem, for it means you are successful at providing for your family and you are not starving.
But that does not make it easier to hear. A crushing series, nine straight weeks in a row, from over nine different people.
There were so many days I wanted to just cry and give up; to revert back to my old eating disorder habits; to binge and never go outside again; to starve and become a gym-addict. But I kept reading over the comments you guys made on my last post, and I keep looking at the motivational quotes and posters people share here and on facebook. And I really - REALLY - tried to listen to and believe my husband when he says he thinks I am beautiful no matter what.
And so on week 10 of my workout program and HEALTHY eating habits, I finally went my first week without having anyone comment about my weight. Maybe it was a "lucky" week, or maybe the workout is finally starting to show the progress -- but I NEVER WOULD HAVE MADE IT to week 10 if it hadn't been for the encouragement from friends and Sparkies cheering me on.
And in the 10 weeks, though perhaps the fat hasn't melted away I as expected, there were many other things learned and seen:
1. I can actually do a real push up instead of girly ones! In fact, I can do almost 8 continuously, and given some rest time, I can do multiple set!
2. I can see definition in my arms, even when not intentionally flexing
3. My back hurts less than it used to as my core is getting stronger
4. I have managed to get off of coffee because of natural energy
5. Hiking up our hill yesterday, I was startled to see we'd made it to our normal turn-around point, and I wasn't out of breath or tired and wanted to keep going!
6. My arms aren't QUITE as floppy as they used to be (you know, that underarm wave that keeps flopping and waving even when you're done waving good-bye)
7. I may not be as slim as some of my coworkers, but at least I am strong enough to lift a fire extinguisher with one hand, and not have to waddle trying to hold it up between my legs because the arms can't lift it (that was a sight to see) I realized that I'd rather be strong with some extra fat than slim without the muscle to do life-saving acts, or even day to day acts. I like feeling more "durable" in life. I like not having to ask my husband to open jars all the time! Haha!
8. I have managed to motivate my husband who has started joining me on more walks and hikes and caving adventures, and he's giving up his junk food more and more often, too!
9. As one who counsels and coaches others in their steps towards a healthier life, I can now better grasp the pain and frustrations of working your butt off, and just not seeing the results you expect. I can better empathize, and will eventually be able to say "I was where you are, here's what I did, and here's where I am now -- we're going to get you through it too."
10. While it will still be a battle, I am working more and more on remembering: I AM MORE THAN A NUMBER ON THE SCALE. I am a wife, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a teacher, a writer, a dreamer, a hiker, an adventurer.
Thank you, Sparkies, for helping me persevere long enough to learn all of that. I can't wait to see what I keep learning as I keep persisting and keep moving forward in health and in life!