On Jan. 19, 2008, I got the shock of my life.
I decided to weigh myself for the first time since the previous summer, and the number that greeted me was the highest I’d ever seen. I even weighed myself a couple of times, in the hopes that the scale was broken, but each time, the number stayed the same. While I had watched my weight shoot up and up over the past few years, I kept telling myself, “Well, at least I’m not X number. I’m doing okay.” But then I reached that benchmark I had set in my mind—surpassed it, even—and even then, I didn’t stop. I kept eating whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, and I exercised in fits but was never consistent with it for more than a few weeks at a time. I saw and felt my clothes getting tighter, but somehow I managed to tell myself lie after lie: “You’re not THAT big; there are plenty of people bigger than you.” “You don’t want to be miserable the rest of your life by depriving yourself of food.” “You only live once, and so you might as well enjoy it.” “You’ll lose the weight someday.” “And if you do lose weight, you’ll do what you’ve done before and gain it all back, plus some.”
But on that day in January, I was through with the lies. I looked in the mirror and was disgusted by what I saw. I couldn’t believe how badly I had treated my body, how blind I was to the subtle way I was destroying myself. I went downstairs and told Stephen how I was feeling. For me at that point, I was fed up, but I wasn’t necessarily considering doing anything about it (crazy, huh?). Stephen, however, asked me something that stopped me in my tracks: “If this is how you feel, then how will you change it? What are you going to do about it?” So I thought about it, and we talked about some ideas, and he said he would do whatever he could to help me. On Jan. 21, I did two things of supreme importance: 1) Stephen and I got up at 6 a.m. and went to the gym for our first workout. 2) I joined SparkPeople. The exercise was crucial because without it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to lose weight and build muscle at the same time. SparkPeople, although I didn’t know it at the time, became crucial because it set parameters for me—a calorie range to aim for, goals to set and achieve, cardio to complete and log on the site. That first day, I rode the stationary bike for 20 minutes, and those 20 minutes seemed endless, but I did it. And I felt good. Tired and sweaty, but good. I loved being able to enter my exercise and nutrition info into SparkPeople, and as I learned how the site worked, I got involved with some really awesome teams that still motivate and encourage and inspire me today.
The next day I did the same thing, and the day after that, and the day after that, until exercising became something I did—no excuses. Six months later, I love exercising. I never thought I would say I love exercise, but I honestly do. On days that I don’t exercise, I feel weird. (Just yesterday I was practically bouncing off the walls with energy because I hadn’t exercised, and so I did a DVD even though it was my day off.) I do a lot of different things so I don’t get bored: dance DVDs, Pilates, elliptical, treadmill, swimming, biking. I’ve made exercise a part of my life, and if I’ve done it for 6 months, there’s no reason I can’t keep on doing it for the rest of my life. There’s no excuse not to, and there’s no way I’m going to ever see that number on the scale again.
At this point, I’ve lost 31.8 pounds (can’t I call it 32??), which is about 12% of my original weight. I’ve lost numerous inches in several different places (7 inches in my waist and 6 in my hips since Feb., not to mention others). I’ve learned how to monitor my food intake, to make wise choices, and to inform myself about what goes into my mouth. I’ve learned not to let setbacks discourage me from trying. Most importantly, I’ve learned that with God’s help, I can do this and will continue to do this, that I might honor Him in this temple with which He’s entrusted me.
I truly feel that 90% of losing weight is just showing up each day, and I’m doing that. I’m showing up, and I’m trying, and I’m succeeding. I will reach my goal. I will be the person on the outside that I know I am already on the inside. I will continue making healthy choices, continuing strengthening my body, continue loving every minute of this journey. I will become who I always wanted to be.
And if I can do it, you can too.