On January 21, 2008, I began my healthy lifestyle journey (read the post from that day here). I was tired of hating my body and feeling fat and miserable and frustrated, so with the help of my husband, I decided to make a change. I joined SparkPeople, and I woke up that morning and went to the gym to exercise. I wasn’t sure what the future held, but I knew I had to do something about my lifestyle, so every day I woke up, worked out, and counted calories. My goal was to lose 100 pounds in a year, and I was full of determination and resolve.
If you had told me then that I would mark two years of losing weight and still wouldn’t be at my goal weight, I more than likely would have been devastated. I remember early in my journey plotting out my weight loss, planning to celebrate 100 pounds lost within a year. Then when several months had passed and I looked at my progress and realized I probably wouldn’t lose 100 pounds in a year, I really wrestled with myself. Did I want to keep doing this? Why not just stop where I was? Losing weight was HARD, and I longed to be through trying to do it. But I knew that I would be selling myself short if I gave up, and I had given up on myself too many times before. This time had to be different. I’d had my share of the lose 20 pounds, regain 25 pounds cycle; I’d outgrown clothes because of weight gain almost every year since middle school. The only way to end the cycle was to create a new one, a healthy one.
I kept going to the gym, kept counting calories, kept trying. I saw gains on the scale, I had injuries, I got bored, I found new forms of exercise, I ran a 5k. And somewhere in the midst of it all, I found out that making healthy choices feels good. It feels good to exercise. It feels good to choose the right foods. It feels good to get on the scale and see a loss. It feels good to buy smaller clothes in the store. It feels good to feel my husband’s arms wrapped tightly around my body in a way they couldn’t before. It feels good to know that I am doing my best to take care of and respect the body God has blessed me with. Why wouldn’t I try to chase after those feelings every day?
Whenever I am tempted to quit, I remember those feelings, and I remember how bad it felt to be fat. I didn’t like the way I looked, so I hid myself in unflattering clothes. I didn’t like to go shopping with friends because I knew I’d be in a different section of the store than they would. I didn’t like to wear shorts in the summertime because of my legs, and I didn’t wear sleeveless shirts because of my arms, so I wore capris and long pants and shirts with sleeves and was often hot (and let’s not even talk about bathing suits!). I got winded going up the stairs or walking more than a half a mile or so, so I avoided exerting myself if I could. I gorged on food in secret, letting it consume me from the inside out. And yet I would tell myself that tomorrow I would change. Then tomorrow would come and I’d put it off until the next week, only to see the weeks turn into years, with nothing to show but my expanding waistline.
I am not sure exactly what changed this last time I decided to lose weight, but I think it has a lot to do with commitment. I committed myself to living a healthier lifestyle, I made a plan I could follow, and I determined to stick with it even when I didn’t feel like it. By the grace of God, the commitment stuck.
Here’s a picture of me in December of 2007, less than a month before I decided to lose weight:
Here’s a picture taken two weeks ago:
Now I am 18 pounds away from my goal weight, and I am looking forward to reaching it this year. However, I know that when I do reach my goal, my work has only begun, for the lifestyle I’ve created these past two years isn’t just temporary; I have to make it work for the rest of my life. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to think about the fact that my weight will always be something I have to be very aware of, but I know that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength, and I know that I will look back on this whole experience and know it was all worth it.