I stepped on the scale today, and when I saw what it read, I covered my eyes and cried. I did it. I have lost 100 pounds. ONE HUNDRED POUNDS. I've wanted this for so long, and have worked so hard, and I finally got here. The last couple of months have been frustrating in the "I just want to be there already" sort of way. And now I'm here and I can't completely believe it because it's been a really long time since I started this.
Nine years ago I started this journey. Growing up I was always overweight - but didn't give it much thought - other than, "well, this is just the way I am." I grew tired of it. I didn't want to live my life like that anymore. Even though I didn't want to live like that, I did nothing to change it. Exercising or eating right never even crossed my mind. I never even tried. On December 31st, 1999 I thought again that I didn't want to live my life like this, and decided I WILL NOT live my life like this. And so began my journey.
Shortly before my decision, my car broke down on my way home from work one night. I had to walk home 3 miles in the cold. I never thought I could do it. I remember thinking, "Three miles? That's a long ways for a fat girl!" I made it home, and was surprised how well it went. Once I made my decision to make a change, I knew I could get in shape by at least walking...thanks to my car breaking down. So, I did. Every day I would walk three miles in the freezing cold...soon moving to 4 miles a day. Homedog would join me on occasion, and it became our bonding time. When I felt like I was in a little better shape, we started doing Tae-Bo together. And, guess what? I started losing weight. I remember maybe 4 months into it I was reaching down to get something and my hand brushed across the back of my leg and I felt a bump. I immediately thought to myself, "Holy CRAP! What is that??" I then realized it was muscle. That was the first time I ever remember feeling strong and proud of what I had been doing. In those first 6 months, I quickly dropped 40 pounds. I felt amazing.
Over the next couple of years I kept on my continual quest to lose weight. I tried Slim Fast, Atkins, the Oprah Diet, cereal diets, Weight Watchers...and on and on. These things would work for about 3 months and I'd be feeling really great and then I would just somehow lose all momentum. I'd gain all my weight back and stop working out. I kept going in these circles. I wasn't getting anywhere. This lasted for the better part of 5 years. Weight Watchers was really good for me. It taught me to be aware of what I was putting in my body, and know that I can still enjoy food without being so rigid about it. Eventually I got tired of it, and didn't want to pay for it anymore. I stopped WW at the beginning of 2007. Instead I decided I'd just be more conscious of my food intake and start being more consistent with my working out. This was also the year where I decided to do one running race per month. This really kept me on track. For the past two years, I have been consistent. No more 3 month circles. No more losing a bunch and gaining it all back. I really began to realize that it's a process. A long, difficult, often times sucky one. I'm not going to meet my goal over night. Just as important, I learned to not beat myself up if I had one bad day of eating. In the past, that one bad day would have completely sidelined me. Nope, not this time, I decided. I just had to keep moving forward. And that's what I've done now for the past 2 years. Who knew the secret to success would have been eating right and exercising? ;)
This past year has been one of the best years of my life. I have continued to be vigilant about what I eat. I have picked harder, and longer races each month to push me and help me stay on track. I bought a bike, and it was one of the best investments I have ever made. I have seen myself really change inside and out. I am driven by my goals and seeing my goals through makes me happy. I nearly cried every time I saw a number on the scale that I had never seen before. It reinforced that I am actually doing this. It is working, and I am making progress. Sometimes I also nearly cried when I had a bad week... or weeks. I was frustrated and angry, but I knew I couldn't give up. 3 steps forward, 5 back it seemed at times. I'll be honest. I thought I'd never get to this point. I had bad days and would sit on the couch self loathing, and would make myself shut up, get up, and go work out. There were also bad days where I sat on the couch self loathing and stayed there feeling sorry for myself. Those days just happen. But I don't let them happen as much anymore. They don't benefit me in any way shape or form. Somehow I just need to force myself to keep moving forward.
Yes, it was a physical transformation, but it was also just as big an emotional transformation. I value myself now. I see my self worth. I am confident, and strong, and happy with myself and all I have accomplished. It is hard. Every day it is hard. Each day is full of a bunch of small decisions that can make or break me. Do I hate getting up early in the morning to work out? Yes. Do I hate having to scrutinize every menu before I get to a restaurant to decide what to eat? Yes. Do I hate having to order: no fries, no sauce, no cheese, no fun? Yes. Do I hate knowing that this will be a battle my whole life? Yes. Do I hate that I have to be constantly aware of how many calories I am putting in my body? Yes. Do I hate being sore and tired and sick of going to the gym 6 days a week? Yes. Are all of these sacrifices worth it? A thousand times, yes. I would not trade any of these things to go back to the person I used to be. It feels better to LOVE feeling strong. LOVE going into a store and finding clothes that actually fit and look good. LOVE knowing I am capable of starting and finishing whatever I decide to do. LOVE knowing I finished in the top 10% of the 2008 Danskin. LOVE riding my bike and beating all those boys on the bike trail. LOVE the fact that I have done 4 triathlons, 24 running races, and have finished 3 half-marathons. LOVE that my average running pace has dropped from 12:30/mi. to 9:20/mi. LOVE remembering when I saw my collar bone for the first time. LOVE that I have gone down 14 sizes. LOVE Homedog acting surprised when she noticed I no longer had sausage fingers. LOVE the times I catch myself in the gym mirror and am surprised because whoa, that is ME...not some other girl who is in shape. LOVE myself.
Often times during a particularly difficult race when I just couldn't imagine going on, I would think to myself, "the old me never could have done this." Then I realized that's not entirely true. The old me just never tried to do this. The old me just never put forth the effort. The old me is still part of the new me. The old me helps the new me realize what I am capable of. It helps me challenge myself. Prove myself.
Beyond the compliments of "you look great" the compliment that means more than anything to me is..."you inspire me". That drives me, and I thank everyone who has ever said that to me. You have inspired ME to keep going, to keep up the hard (hard!) work, and to keep moving forward.