Most of the people who are close to me know about what I'll share here, but I haven't yet talked about this in a public forum. Part of it is because this is one of those areas of my life that is and always has been a weak spot, but it's starting to get stronger. It's something I've always been a bit embarrassed and sensitive about, so I try to not bring it up. However, I've recently made some strides, and I think it's ok to celebrate.
I've struggled with my weight and been on some spectrum of the heavy side my whole life. There were a few points in college when, without really trying, I did shed some pounds, basically through being really busy. However, I still ate junk all the time, so when I became less active, the pounds came back on.
By the time this past summer rolled around, I realized I was at my heaviest. I like having energy. I like feeling active. I like being around kids, and I like being able to play with them. I don't like getting out of breath from going up a flight of stairs. I don't like dealing with anger or other emotions through eating. I have some athletic and active friends and I want to be able to play soccer or tennis with them. I've always imagined myself as an active person, but I realize that I wasn't doing in reality what I imagined in my head.
Every few months, throughout my entire life, I would say, "This is the week I'll start. This is the week that things will change, and this is the year that I will finally lose this unwanted weight." And of course, it hasn't ever really happened. This past May, I decided to adopt a dog from the humane society. Most of my reasons were the normal ones.... I've always liked dogs, it seemed like a fun idea, etc. However, in the back of my mind I also realized that, since I don't have a fenced-in back yard, this would force me to walk every day, whether I wanted to or not.
I started walking my sweet dog, but only for short distances, without losing any weight.
In all of my wisdom, I decided that the heat of a Kentucky July would be a great time to start running. Of course, I have never been a runner, nor do I enjoy running, but why not.... I began running once a day or every other day while Abner and I went out for a walk. I discovered that it wasn't so bad, and that I really liked feeling active and feeling like I had control over something.
I was running for about a month when I realized I hadn't lost any weight, and was super frustrated by that. In August, I began attending a regular excercise class. In September, I finally bit the bullet and decided to talk with my doctor about all of this. I was very tempted to try some easy things like trying all the quick weight loss products I saw at the pharmacy, but that felt a little like cheating to me. As I began to talk with my doctor, I realized that no amount of exercise in the world would help me if I was taking in soda, sweets and fast food every day. I have slowly begun to change my eating habits, and have seen some positive things. Most notably, I have lost 15 pounds so far (it may be closer to 20 at this point), and I'm just generally healthier.
More importantly, here are things I've learned so far....
-I feel so much better about myself when I'm not eating junk.
-I feel so much better about myself when I'm active.
-Both of the above statements have reminded me that I have lived several patterns of just allowing bad habits to control me. It's been incredibly freeing to take control of those things.
-Any physical transformation that one goes through is directly linked to spiritual issues, in many ways. That's another blog post for another day.
-Losing weight is not always easy, but not as difficult as I thought it would be. However, just like any change, I've realized the importance of being committed to it. You have to just bite the bullet and decide you're going to do it.
-Sometimes starting small leads to the most significant change.
I still have a long way to go, but it's a start...