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Third, I set my goals. I set concrete short, medium and long-term goals based on my interests. Some I knew were attainable, like doing cardio four days each week. Some were a stretch, like climbing Mt. Fuji someday—something that would take a lot of hard work to reach. I needed to have something on the horizon to aim at, a target. It was important for it to be realistic enough that I could focus on it instead of my overall weight loss goal. If I had begun by focusing on losing the whole 70 pounds, I would have become overwhelmed and possibly given up.
Fourth, I put a concrete plan in motion to help me succeed. I wrote out my plan on my SparkPage to keep myself accountable. This included making my Nutrition and Fitness Trackers public so others could see what I was tracking. I devoted myself to following my plan, even on the days when I wanted to quit. I determined there were only two choices: to quit or continue. And quitting wasn't an option.
Along the way, a funny thing happened. I found me! Each honest step I took loosened the control food had over me. Once I began to see the fruits of my labor, I realized that I could have done it all along. I had been making excuses and giving away my freedom to choose a better life. Through overcoming the old me, I realized that my personality had been stifled. I wasn't energetic enough to be on the outside the person I was on the inside. Now, I have a zeal that was lost for years. I am alive! I've even tackled new physical challenges and along the way come to think of myself as an athlete. In August, I climbed to the top of Mt. Fuji. And in November, my whole family decided to run the Marine Corps-sponsored Toys for Tots 5K on Yokosuka Naval Base. I'll never forget what happened between my son and me that day.
The horn blew and we started at a good clip, with my young son jogging easily and setting a good pace. It wasn't long before he was ready to slow down a little, and not long after that, he was ready to quit altogether. He had brought a lime green bandanna to wear around his neck but had taken it off. As he was about to give up, I took the bandanna from him and grasped one end tightly. Handing him the other end, I said, "Come on, I won't let go. We can do it together every step of the way." I wanted so desperately for him to overcome all that held him back and simply persevere to the end.