Monday, February 6, 2012

What is there to Lose and What is there to Gain?

Blog it is!  I have been debating this blog with myself for the last month or so.  I recently began a journey that was intended to help me lose weight, however, this journey has had many unexpected twists.  2011 was a very trying year.  I  believe that around this time this year, I was suffering from a pretty serious case of depression.  I have had a few times in my life where, in retrospect, I should have sought a therapist.  It's hard to admit.  I am a very closed person emotionally, and I pride myself on being strong.  Truth is, I put on a front, yet am very weak and vulnerable. 

At some point, my middle sister invited me to join her in Texas for a month during my summer break (I am a teacher).  I hesitantly agreed to three weeks.   It was nice to get away from my real life and for my kids to get to know their cousins.  Foolishly, I told her that I would join her when she went to work.  She used to teach fitness classes at the YMCA.  She informed me she no longer taught classes, but that I could join her when she worked out.  She held me to it.  Reluctantly, I tagged along, and she worked me out!  When I came back home, it was over.  I was not going to work out alone, without someone nagging me.

I continued my quest for weight loss simply by watching my diet, until one glorious October day.  Very early in the morning, I rubbed my eyes as I stared at the scale in awe.  A number i had not seen in six years stared back at me expectantly, it was as if it were screaming to me "What are you going to do about it?"  I was so excited, that I immediately put on my tennis shoes, merely a fashion accessory until that moment, and told my husband I was going for a run/walk.  Since then, my workouts and I have been evolving.  I started with a goal of 2 miles in 30 minutes.  It was hard.  Eventually I did it.  I couldn't even run a block without stopping, and then I couldn't do it again for the rest of the walk.

Eventually, I decided I needed a bigger challenge and began walking around a local park...nearly a 5K.  The thing about this park is that there is no way to cut across it.  The track I walked surrounds a golf course that is fenced in.  Once I was half way around, I had to complete the 3 miles.  I started at 48min.  My fastest time became 42 minutes.  I rewarded my hard work with real running shoes from a local running shop where "real" runners by their gear. I was evaluated by the employee and given several options for my stride/arch.  Unfortunately, real running shoes are not the cutest things in the world.  This time, function would have to prevail over fashion. 

I loved getting out, and I felt amazing each time I beat my best time, even if only by a fraction of a minute.  On the other hand, it was a little scary how dark it was by the time I was able to make it to the park after my husband came home.  Apparently my oldest sister shared the same feeling and expressed to my mom over the Thanksgiving break that it worried her that I ran alone at night. When my mom shared this with me, I responded by explaining that I felt like my entire life I looked for excuses not to move and the excuses are always abundant.  I was determined not to allow myself excuses.  I preach self discipline, commitment and responsibility in my classroom.  Why was I not holding myself to those same standards?

Then, a sudden turning point occurred in November.  I experienced excruciating cramping and pain in my calves after the first real cold weather run.  I wasn't so sure I could do this again.  I could scarcely walk and when I squatted down in search of relief, I was unable to get back up without holding on to something.  I was in tears and hyperventilating from the pain.  This could have ruined my motivation.  .

To me, the risks were worth it.  I felt healthier and the runs were becoming easier/quicker.  Best of all, the dark heavy clouds that had been hanging over my head since January had finally lifted.  The metaphorical rain had dissipated and I walked on sunshine.  The only thing holding me back now was the weather.  Fast forward to December.

December is always hectic.  It flew at me like a bat out of hell.  I didn't run much.  I was afraid this was the end of my new life.  Until December 25th.  I opened a gift from my sister, expecting the usual Lane Bryant gift card, because let's face it, I'm working out, but I'm still "plus sized" or big boned, call it what you want, I will call it "thick".  This is what a meter reader once told my cousin about me.  I sounded much less ugly than fat.  Since then, it is my favorite term to describe myself.  Instead, I opened what may be the most loving gift (please no offense to the other gift givers, I loved all of them, but this was just such a milestone for me) I have received from her, a membership to LA Fitness.  I must say it made me nervous.  I was afraid to disappoint her.  I feared she would regret it. 

Enter Yoga, Zumba,  and Spinning classes.  One of my biggest phobias has always been to work out in front of others.  I have LOVED the elliptical and feared the treadmill.  I have tried the stationary bike, not my favorite, and lifted some weight other than my own rear end.  I have not lost much more weight.  To date, I lost 10% of my starting weight (heaviest ever).  I have lost enough to weigh what I did after my son, but before my daughter. 

The blog is called Something to Lose, and a lot to Gain.  So what have I gained?  I have gained a confidence in myself that I have not had in 6 years.  Not necessarily in physical appearance, but in the ability to reach goals that I set for myself.  Mental clarity that was very clouded a year ago now allows  me to see the positive.  I'm amazed at how many people have said that I am always happy or that I have made their day or that they really needed a little time with me to cheer them up.  The funny thing is that I am not trying to cheer anyone up or going out of my way to make their day.  I am simply allowing what I feel inside to show outside.  I am not tooting my own horn so to speak, but this blog is supposed to help me be brutally honest and perfectly clear with myself and with anyone who chooses to read it.  I have been told that I seem to be in much better place.  I find myself smiling a lot more.  The gym is the therapist now, the treadmill my boot camp sergeant.  The elliptical is my psychologist, and the weight machines my Prozac.  With that, I have gained myself back, the person I enjoy being.  I no longer wonder who I am.  I will never be you or her or him. I am a work in progress.  I always have been, and I always will be.  I am happy to know that I can always strive to be a better me.  I am not comparing myself to anyone but the me I used to be.   

3 comments:

  1. So proud of you mum!! You got this girl...whoop whoop!!(: Love you

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  2. Yay!!! Good for you!! That is so awesome and what a great idea to start a blog documenting your journey. I started running last year too, the best thing ever! Maybe we should run a marathon together four our 15 year class reunion?? Good goal to have :-) Miss you!

    Heather

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  3. Thank you for your support, sorry it has taken so long for a new post

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