This is me. Two years ago to the day.
That was the day a broken toilet seat changed my life. You see, I broke it. By doing what you’re supposed to do: Sit on it. And then I cried myself to sleep. Sad. Embarrassed. Disgusted. Full of hate. And with no one to blame but myself.
The next day, I decided that I could either keep crying, hoping the weight would disappear with the tears down my cheeks. Or I could take action and do something about it. So that’s what I did. At first, I kept it a secret. I didn’t want anyone to know I was actively trying to lose weight. Because what if I failed? Or, on the flip side, what if I succeeded? I was scared and nervous. But I knew that if I didn’t do something, I’d kill myself — either through health issues related to my obesity or the depression I could feel myself sinking into.
And here I am, two years later, far and away a different person than I was two years ago. Not just in the way I look. No, it’s much more than that, much deeper than that. I am happy. I am confident. I am proud of who I am. And I am loving life — as much as I am living it.
I’m still sitting at about 100 pounds lost. I’ve been maintaining that loss for about six months. Sure, I have about 15 or 20 more pounds to go. But I’m not in a rush. I continue to work toward my ultimate goal weight. But, I also am simultaneously working toward completing my first marathon. And I want to do right by my body. I don’t want to deprive her of anything she may need while I ask her to do amazing feats. Besides, since I’ve never been below this weight before, I’m not sure what, exactly, my goal weight is yet. I don’t know what’s right for me. So I’m taking time to learn how different things feel and see how different things work. I’m taking it slow and easy. I will lose this weight the right way. And I will not push my body more than she should be pushed.
Most importantly, I’m going to enjoy this journey. And I’m going to continue to work every day at listening to my body, fueling my body and taking care of myself. I look forward to continuing my quest to be better, stronger, happier and healthier.
I asked people to send me some questions. And I got a few, so if you’d like to read my answers/opinions, please keep reading. If you don’t keep reading, that’s OK — I know it’s a really long post.
How do you stay motivated? I’m frustrated with how long it takes to lose weight.
For me, the motivation comes in the challenge and the excitement of learning something new. You see, I find such joy in learning new things, reading new things, hearing new things, sharing new things. That’s what this whole “journey” has been about for me: Learning, experimenting, doing. At every turn in the road, I’ve gotten to learn new things. First it was about foods and portion control. Then it was about running. Then it was about pushing my body to new limits. Then it was about strength training. Now it’s about learning how to put them all together in a life that serves my goals and respects my body.
Ultimately, it’s about really listening to yourself and knowing yourself. Each of us is motivated by different things. Some people are motivated by watching their pants size go down. Some people are motivated by watching their race distances go up while their times go down. Some people are motivated by compliments that make them feel good about themselves. What works for me won’t necessarily work for you. But, let me say that there is one thing about motivation that is universal: You must find a way to motivate yourself. You must do this for yourself. If you think an outside motivation is going to see you through this, you are mistaken. No matter how much your partner/parents/sister/friend/boss wants you to lose weight, it won’t matter unless you want it. You have to do this for you; you have to be responsible to yourself and for yourself.
Find something that you know works for you. If you need to buy yourself a pair of “goal jeans,” then do it. If you need to put $1 in a jar for every pound you lose, then do it. If you need to ask a friend to join you on the journey, then do it. But make sure this is for you, about you, by you. Love yourself enough to find your source of motivation — no matter how deeply it may be buried.
And, as far as this taking a long time? Yeah. It does. And it can be frustrating — especially if you focus on what’s not happening rather than what is happening. You probably won’t see a loss every week. Heck, there might be weeks on end that you don’t see a loss. But what got me through those weeks was knowing that I was getting better. Every single day. I could see it in the way my clothes fit and the way I felt. I could see it in the mirror when I saw a proud, confident woman staring back at me. She still has jiggly skin and stretch marks and some extra weight she wants to lose. But every day she is doing what she knows will get her where she wants to be.
The things that are really worthwhile in life are the things that we have to work for. I’ve never regretted one drop of sweat or one achy muscle — even if they didn’t bring about a drop in the scale. Hard work, dedication and commitment always, always, always pay off. Sometimes it takes a while. But while you’re working at getting there, you get to learn all sorts of wonderful things about yourself. And it’s a beautiful thing.
Have you ever had anyone react negatively to your weight loss?
Oh boy, have I. I’ve talked about it before, but it’s true: I have lost people since I took control of my life. It’s funny how when you start standing up for yourself, the people who used to walk all over you find a new stepping stone.
I lost the man I loved for three years, the man I was supposed to marry because I changed the game: I want something different in a partner now than I did before. And I’m no longer afraid to make those wants known. Loving someone simply because they loved me wasn’t enough any more. I want a partner, someone to share my new-found love of running and sports and adventure and the outdoors.
I’ve had friends disappear from my life because they no longer knew me. And it’s true. When you turn your life 180 degrees, you will change. Yes, I am still the same person I was before. But I’m better. I know I wasn’t a complete person before. I was quiet in social settings; I gave more than I should have; I wouldn’t make decisions for fear of making someone angry; I put everyone’s needs before my own. Ultimately, I did whatever I could to make sure I was liked. I don’t do that anymore. I mean, I’m still a kind, honest and giving person. I do as much for people as I can. But more than trying to make sure other people like me, I want to know that I like me first. And some people don’t like that very much.
What’s next for me — besides running a marathon?
Well, in health and fitness terms, I’m not certain. A friend asked me this the other day, and I didn’t have a solid answer. I want to travel abroad and do some amazing races: Paris, Costa Rica, Germany, Australia, South Africa … the list is endless. I want to travel and do fun, active things all over the world. Rock climbing, maybe? I just went kayaking for the first time last weekend, and I’d love to do some more of that. I’m very seriously considering going back to school for something nutrition-related as a second job/career. But I don’t know. I’m also considering taking some cooking classes. I love making up dishes on the fly, but I’d love to know a few expert cooking tips as well.
And in general life terms? The first — and most important — goal of mine over the next few years is to spend as much time as I can with my family. I don’t want to lose myself so much in training and life that I forget the people who are most important to me, the people who stand beside me no matter what.
Secondly, I would like to put myself out there more. I’m slowly making new friends — friends who are interested in the same things I am. And, while being single can be wonderful, I would like to not be that way forever. But I need to put myself out there. The last time “destiny” delivered a relationship to my doorstep, I became a doormat. So I need to stop waiting for something to happen and do my fair share to make my own happiness.
And, finally, I will wake up every day, happy and thankful to have another day to explore this life. I will continue to take chances (skydiving, anyone?) and try new things (maybe some whitewater rafting?). I welcome the challenges I’m presented with each day. I welcome the opportunities to be better, to do better. And I will embrace the ones I love. Because every second we have is a gift — and gifts should never be wasted.
Why am I so awesome?
I know this wasn’t a serious question. Still, I just wanted to say thank you. I feel awesome. More awesome than I’ve ever felt. But, really, I am no more — and no less — awesome than anyone else. I truly believe every single person has it in them to take control of their lives and treat themselves right. Love yourself, value yourself. The rest will come.