Yesterday marked a significant milestone for me in my fitness journey. I knew it was coming, but I wasn’t sure when and I certainly wasn’t expecting it when I got it. My scale displayed a number 50 pounds lower than it had 15 months ago.
Big. Freaking. Whoop.
You see, I’ve done this before. Twice. Once at age 20 and once more at 25. Any joker can lose weight. How am I going to avoid taking this journey again? Why is this different?
Round 3 of major weight loss began much in the same way as rounds 1 and 2 had. I found a Groupon for a 3 week boot camp in December 2012, got one for my mother and I, and started showing up at 6 in the morning 3x a week for various forms of torture in January 2013. I started for the same reasons I had wanted to lose weight before – I was feeling uncomfortable in my skin, my weight was medically unhealthy, I knew I could look better, bla bla bla. Did I really think I was going to succeed? Nope. And even if I did, I knew my history. It was just going to come back anyway. Why did I bother? I supposed that trying and failing would give me a better story than just continuing to neglect my body. So what the hell.
3 weeks end, Lady J is 11 pounds down. What next? As I wrote in my first blog post, I began training for my first 5k. Again, what the hell. 8 weeks go by, I slim down some more. Cool. But that finish line? Ooooooo, baby, that was the tops! I signed up for a 10k as soon as I got home and found a training plan. Called the extraordinarily encouraging and enthusiastic woman who runs the boot camp to start going back. Finished the 10k, dusted off my Murray from Christmas 1994 and trained for a duathlon. They got me.
And thank God that they did.
Previously, when I set goals to lose weight, I would think to myself, “Okay, I’m going to lose X amount of weight.” And then I would proceed to do it. That’s how I roll. But that’s all I did. I had never asked myself, “what now?” Or “what next?” Which is exactly why I found myself in the same position as I had before. Racing has distracted me from all the BS noise that’s heard in weight loss culture. “Get ready for spring break!” “Abs for the beach!” “Impress yo’ boo!” I’ve gone from dieting and exercising to eating to fuel my body for all the things I want it to do. It’s a much more holistic approach, at least for me. I know that if I eat crap, I will not only run like crap but teach like crap, Beethoven like crap, and love like crap. That’s not what I want. The weight loss, instead of being the end (that led back to the beginning anyway), is now the means to the end of living this new life.
As I realize this, I already am asking myself what will I do if I fail again. The teacher in me kicks in, calming myself with the fact that as long as there’s another day in the marking period, there’s another chance for success. I hope I have surrounded myself with people who will lovingly redirect my path should they see me acting a fool with a fork and slacking on my training. I understand now that life will happen and not all is going to go well all of the time. Dammit, life is too short not to enjoy all the good food out there. But it’s crazy long to live it unhealthily with regret, wondering what you could have done had you believed in yourself.