So after years of dabbling and doubting and hoping and hemming and hawwing, I decided that this year had to be it. The year I lost the weight. The year I threw the same enthusiasm I throw into life, work, friendship into me, my wellness, and my health.
And now I’m two weeks into this. Two short weeks into a journey that I know I have to take. A journey which scares me, but which I know I can’t avoid or shy away from. To linger where I am is untenable, so strapping on my boots and marching forward is the only way to go.
So I’m measuring, and counting calories, and eating right. Pounding the pavement for that extra mile or so. Saying ‘no, thank you,’ to cake, to pizza, to ice cream, to wine, to whatever – making it an occasional joy, rather than a comfort blanket, a haven at the end of the day. Waking at five to tip myself out of bed and through the darkness, into my sports kit and onto the cross-trainer. Even when I’m tired or achey or fed up.
Because I have to.
Because I want to.
Because I need to.
This is the season of resolutions, of changes, of hopes, and I wish well to everyone getting healthier – from the big (giving up smoking, training from a marathon) to the seemingly small (more water, more fruit, less wine). It’s tough and tricky and tedious for all of us. I’m reminded of a quote I jotted down once, glanced scrawled on a student union bathroom stall.
“Bad habits are like a comfortable bed. Easy to get into, hard to get out of.”
Ain’t that the truth.
I’ve set myself an arbitrary target of 101 pounds to lose, and while I would be thrilled to reach it (I’d be another person, I imagine – I’ve never been an adult that small), the target’s not the thing. It’s the lose, the toning, the changing that’s important. Choosing the hard path because I deserve to be happy and healthy, and because I never, ever want to sit in front of a doctor and hear the awful news that I have inflicted something upon myself because of bad habits. I’ve hurt myself before with unhealthy choices, way back in my wayward youth, but it seems to me now that this eating, drinking, hiding holds much of the same patterns. Sadness, isolation, feeling unworthy…and a way to escape this which makes matters worse.
I don’t really care if it’s 40 lbs, 60 lbs, 80 lbs or 100 lbs. The numbers will have to be big because the numbers are big. This isn’t a ‘drop ten pounds before the holiday’ kind of situation (oh, that it was….) – this is a grapple with obesity, a challenge to save myself, if I can be so verbose and high-falutin’.
It’s terrifying at times, this challenge. I’m scared of what will happen as I shed the weight. Will I know how to be? How will my body react? Some of the darkest times of my grown up life occurred when I was a size 14…will I panic if and when I reach that point?
It’s boring at other times. To have salad, salad, salad. To work out even when your muscles feel tense and strained. To decline, to avoid, to abstain. But if boring works, then boring it shall be. Here I should point out that I am being kind to myself, never fear (my addictive personality leans too easily to mania otherwise) – six days of strictness and one of sensible enjoyment, because frankly a life without the occasional glass of red or slice of cheddar is not one I’m willing to stick with. But it’s still tedious to feel left out, particularly when food and drink has been such a crutch.
It’s exciting at times too. When walking that bit further feels good. When you realise you can’t eat what used to be a portion. When you remember to count all the little victories, and to extend a gentle kindness to yourself.
Two weeks in, fifty weeks to go. In which to change my lifestyle, and with it my life.
Progress so far? 9 pounds lost, bags more energy, slightly twingey hamstring and over an inch off the hips.
Good news, despite the deep and meaningful post. Another update before long, I have no doubt! Thank you for reading, and the best of luck if you’re having a healthy January too!