... 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.