6 years ago today...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

... I had just returned from the doctor's office and discovered, to my horror that a) I weighed 221 lbs and b) I had gained 5 lbs over the previous year even though I had started exercising that year.

It was a sad and defeating moment of my life compounded tenfold by my insistence to my doctor that my metabolism was clearly broken; that I didn't deserve to be so overweight when I ate so well and was so active!! It rang hollow to my ears even as I said it and I can still see my fit, healthy physician looking at me with bemused sympathy.

On my way home, I vowed to change. I was quickly approaching my 44th birthday and was already feeling the time bomb of ill health ticking in my ear. There had been so many excuses, so much left behind, so many doors closing that I couldn't stand another minute of my life the way it was. I decided, at that minute, to get healthy. To start that minute. And, I did.

It's been a long journey of recovery from obesity. It has not always been pretty. It has not always been smooth but, every day since that fateful day I have woken up in the morning and decided to take care of myself.

So - today I celebrate accomplishments and take a bow. Here are some of the things I've learned and some of the things I've accomplished:

1) My DH and I met hiking in the mountains. We both assumed at 22 that we would always be able to hike in the mountains. Moving to Calgary when we were 44 should have been a dream come true but neither of us was able to haul a backpack up over a mountain trail. Since starting this journey, I have logged more than 1000km in the back country. I feel like I'm 22 again while I'm doing it, too!

From this I've learned that dreams can be realized.

2) I used to envy runners - with the kind of sneering disrespect that masked (I thought) my jealousy of their ability. My very first run as a newly becoming healthy person was about 300m(330 yds for my American friends) - all screeching lungs, huffing and puffing, broken knee knocking horror. But, like all things on this journey, I kept moving forward and built confidence over time. On Sunday, I ran 23km (14.3 m) in snow at -10C (14F) without stopping.

Doing this teaches me resilience and endurance.

3) Today is the only day I have. I can't guarantee that I will make it home tonight. I can't go back to yesterday and change a single thing. Today, this minute, is it. Living intentionally in the moment - choosing my actions consciously, focussing on what I'm feeling, thinking, eating, planning - these things are what I can control right now. I spent many years lamenting last night's dinner excess and planning to start exercising tomorrow - I know both of those are wastes of valuable time. I can eat well right now. I can get off the couch right now to go for a walk.

4) I have asthma - severe enough to use 2 puffers and an oral medication daily. I have Hashimoto's hypothyroidism and have taken thyroid replacement hormones everyday for 14 years. I have a painful Morton's neuroma in my left foot and osteoarthritis in my right hip. I'm menopausal. I also wear bifocals and prefer jean skirts to jeans. They are all pretty meaningless at the end of the day. I used the litany of medical complaints as a way to explain to myself why I couldn't be thin and fit. Guess what? Excuses are simply too easy to come by. And, while they've slowed me down at times, not a single one of them has stopped me from being thin and fit. Not one.

5) I am NOT the only one who has ever made a nasty remark about someone I was too afraid to admire. Who has ever reached for a bag of Oreos and the TV remote after a bad day. Who has ever looked down at the size of her lap and cried. Who has ever purchased a pair of size 16 pants when a size 18 was needed. Who has ever compared herself to someone bigger and though "thank God". Who has ever though KFC was healthy because it was chicken. I needed people to share this journey with me. I have my darling DH who lost 70 lbs while I was shedding 85. AND, I have people here on SPARKPEOPLE who motivate and inspire and teach and comfort and challenge and respect and admonish and tease... I need people more than I ever knew.

6) I lost 85 lbs even though, when I started, I decided I would be happy with improved mental, physical and spiritual fitness even if I didn't lose any weight. Being mentally and spiritually whole is a greater blessing to me than the closet full of size 2 clothes. I think my serenity creates the weight loss - not the other way around. Recovery is a head game - I'm glad I had the courage to play it.

Be it. Do it. Love yourself.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Your method to fitness really inspires me! Thank you for sharing!
    3786 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5759463
    Thank you so much for posting this blog. You have given me inspiration. You've come a long way baby!
    3786 days ago
    What an awesome and inspiring post. 'Recovery is a head game'. what a great concept that I am going to remember going forward. Thanks so much for the inspiration!
    3788 days ago
    Happy Anniversary and Happy Re-birth day. I am struggling right now because I am making priorities around the B&B. It is happening but I have not been looking after myself as well as I can. I say can, not should. I recognize that these changes ultimately will improve my health. I have guests for the fitness B&B next weekend. However as I read your blog I could feel niggles. Am I making excuses? Am I really living in today??? I know that when I coast I can only go downhill and I feel like I am coasting. No significant consistant exercise. Food is good but even as I say that there was a bowl of icecream yesterday. Hmmm. Did I really have all my veggies in today? OK, tomorrow will be here in a few minutes and I need to get a good night sleep and then look at this again. The "gym" will be set up this weekend and maybe I have to make it happen tomorrow no matter what. You are awesome. There is a 5 K in Richmond next weekend. I can't imagine doing it... but why not? Slow but steady and I have my ice shoes if it is slippery... kay, night for now. Justyna
    3796 days ago
    "Today is the only day I have. I can't guarantee that I will make it home tonight. I can't go back to yesterday and change a single thing. Today, this minute, is it. Living intentionally in the moment - choosing my actions consciously, focussing on what I'm feeling, thinking, eating, planning - these things are what I can control right now.": these are words to LIVE by and you're clearly doing just that.

    What an inspiring and memorable blog! Congratulations on your accomplishments, and against significant odds which you set out so matter-of-factly. No self pity, no excuses, just getting on with it and enjoying the results!!
    3799 days ago
    I agree with someone else that responded. I love that you can do all this and you put your mind to this when you do have these health issues. I am at physio since Oct for bad back and also have something going on with the bottom of my foot that my orthotics so far havent helped. Today was a very down day as I had a headache (thankful not often do I get them), my physio went well then went in for my apt with phsyiotherapist and boy that hurt, I limping and tired. but I have done some work around the house and got some stuff done for dad. Reading this makes me more optimistic again ( I have been doing well just was a sore painful day ) and allows me to believe once again that I too will be healthy, fit and weigh a better wt for my age and body.
    hugs and keep on doing it all! and never know perhaps when yo come east again we could meet.
    3799 days ago
    Thank you so much, and also congratulations. Those words don't seem like enough after all you have accomplished, but I think you taste the fruits of your labor every day. It is so worth it, isn't it? Running, hiking, writing and inspiring... you bring so much joy to the world. emoticon

    I also allowed my illness to be an excuse for too long, and I got angry enough one day to get off the couch and change everything immediately. And it's working. I'm excited to learn that I'm doing it exactly as you did it. You're so amazing.
    3799 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/5/2010 5:16:09 PM
    Thank you for sharing your inspirational success story. I'm at the same weight right now that you were when you started and I hope to look just as good as your after photos! Congratulations on achieving your goals, and thanks again for sharing your insight into your journey.
    3800 days ago
  • no profile photo CD2560890
    Thank you for this blog. It is so helpful when ' more mature' women tell their story for me. I have often thought ' well I'm too old to do that' . Truth be told, I'm too big to do that! I have watched yoga classes and been sooo jealous. Not of the shape of those doing it but of the peace that I know wuld come from it. I have a book YOU ON A DIET, that offers a few easier poses and I want to start doing them, but I am afraid. Afraid of failing, looking foolish, getting hurt and being too big to even do those poses. I wish I could afford some lessons. I think I'll haul that book out and look again. Maybe if I just try...

    3800 days ago
    Bravo !
    I love, love, LOVE the line that reads its the serenity that creates the weight loss, not the other way around. Thats an amazing truth!
    Also thank you for not making me get out my "Metric System for Dummies" book emoticon
    3800 days ago
    Like others, this is exactly what I need today! Thank you very much for sharing. What an inspiration you are!
    3800 days ago
    I totally agree with Mary - it's exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you so much for sharing your story!
    3800 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1345136
    Your blog was so inspiring and exactly what I needed to read today. Thank you for sharing your journey and your insights. You're the perfect role model of how it should be done and a testament to the fact that it CAN be done. Continue to enjoy your new health and vitality throughout the coming years and thanks again for shining a bright light on my sometimes dark path. Mary
    3800 days ago
  • no profile photo CD5571632
    Wonderful! What a great story and blog! Congratulations on your success.
    3800 days ago
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