Last summer everyone followed along as I joined the Mamavation community and finally worked on changing my sedentary, unhealthy lifestyle. My kids were both headed to elementary school, my work schedule was becoming a bit more focused, and I simply was ready to make the changes necessary to improve my physical health. I kept better track of what I was eating, I checked in with friends online, and I exercised regularly.
From June to November I lost just over thirty pounds, and I felt fantastic. I was down three sizes and my energy level was up. I even ran a 5K without passing out, and honestly, I felt transformed. I really believed that this was it, this was the time that was going to stick, and I had become this new, healthy version of me, the Amy who runs races and hikes mountains and eats things like quinoa on purpose, not because it is served next to a steak at a fancy restaurant.
And then something happened. A lot of things happened, really. There were the holidays that began with my birthday in the beginning of November and apparently haven’t ended. It turns out that the entire month of December is a great time to eat Christmas cookies, and January is a lovely month for chai tea lattes and apple fritters. I haven’t found the specific date on the calendar that recommended those meal choices, but I know I had that for lunch at least once. Yes, that’s right. I had an apple fritter for lunch (actually more than once).
I also started going to a counselor in November in the spirit of getting healthy from head to toe, inside and out, but it turns out that when you’re working on issues like the occasional anxiety attack or liking to control situations (serious back seat driver here, my friends), you suddenly focus less on things like which green vegetable should be paired with your lean meat. In fact, after some sessions it seems like the best thing to do is go grab a bagel and a bag of cool ranch goodness because that is comfort food and you deserve it after a clinical hour of hard work.
On top of all of that there was the issue with the doctor telling me not to run anymore or I would need surgery sooner rather than later to put myself back together again having used gravity and high impact to shake myself apart from the inside out. Yes, I continued to walk regularly, but I did not pick up the low impact exercises I vowed to try like swimming and pilates.
And oh, the summer, you evil fiend. There are hot dogs at cook outs and ice cream cones on warm nights when the whole family can stay up late and icy cold, bubbly, sugary fountain sodas that just scream fun in the sun. It is harder to exercise outside and easier to indulge inside.
But here is the bottom line. After years of being a stay-at-home mom whose main form of exercise was getting up to get another board book off the shelf for the little one sitting with me on the floor, eating right and exercising for a couple of months did not create a permanent change. I had not, in fact, been transformed. I was simply taking deliberate actions that were transforming my physical body.
So now what?
So now I realize that this is a lifetime struggle instead of just saying that it is or typing that it is or wishing, quite frankly, that it were not.
This will always be a struggle for me. This will ALWAYS be a struggle for me. Every single day forever and for always.
And I realize how good it feels to right now at this moment be down 25 pounds from what I weighed just over a year ago instead of being sad that I’m not down thirty. And I realize that regardless of how good it feels, it feels even better to not carry that extra weight that is slowly slipping back onto my body.
So I am getting back on the proverbial horse. I started paying better attention again to what I am eating and what I am doing (or not doing, as it were), and already I have dropped 2.5 pounds from that pesky 7. I’d like to lose the next 4.5 and then I’d like to keep going. Even at down thirty I did not feel that I had reached my goal. I’ve started running again, deciding that overall health was more important than the health of just one part of me and that I’d rather fall apart pushing myself than sitting and waiting for rust to set in.
But I am also trying to be realistic, not demanding that I be perfect, and not feeling like I’ve failed because I’ve slipped. That sort of pressure is the type of negative self-talk that will send me right back to the bagel place (always a struggle…).
And yes, I realize that all of this is going to be hard. But that’s okay. I’ve decided it’s time to be done with easy.