I look back on some of my early journal entries from this lifestyle make-over and wonder how in the hell I made it to today.
Why didn’t I just quit?
It was brutally hard at times.
I get the ‘How did you not give up?’ question perhaps more than any other single question.
I don’t have a good answer.
I mean, I had quit every other time I tried to lose weight and start exercising.
I am really succeeding for the first time.
Check out these journal entries…
1/10/2012: ‘I tried step aerobics class. I didn’t understand the routines and can’t physically keep up. Stood behind my ‘step’ and marched in place for 45 minutes. Drenched in sweat, red-faced and couldn’t breathe from working so hard. It was humiliating. I walked out to my car crying. I feel ashamed and embarrassed.’
The very next day…
1/11/2012: ‘Today is the first day of circuit weights. I’m 5 hours post-lifting and I am so sore I can’t lift my arms. I could only do about 1/5 of the workout. Maybe less. I can’t bend, my fat belly is yet AGAIN in the way. Everyone in there has been doing this for years and I’m intimidated to hell and back.’
HOW and why did I keep going?
Why didn’t I just go back to my old, comfortable, easy ways?
My journal posts those kind of sad, too-honest, desperate entries, then the following weeks I’m only documenting glucose readings, weight, noting that my appetite is through the roof.
There is curiously nothing else about the aerobics, weights classes, walking or learning to run.
When I do get asked how I kept going when things were tough, I usually answer with something basic, but true:
I wanted my life to be different.
I was tired of being sick and tired and I was ready to do the work.
Those sound like platitudes or motivational quotes. Those were really, truly how I FELT. Fiercely, totally, with my whole heart. I was NOT giving up this time no matter how hard it got.
I knew there was a different life that could be mine.
I had promised myself I would do what I had to do this time around to get healthy, get fit – create a whole new ‘lifestyle‘. This time around was NOT yet another a one-fix wonder, a silver bullet, a starvation plan. I – the chronically impatient – KNEW I had to be patient this time around because I was trying to exchange prescription drugs for food and exercise.
I HAD to invest the time and effort to build something I could keep and do for the rest of my life.
When I think about it, even before I committed to trying to change my lifestyle — I was often hungry, sore and defeated because I was fat, sick and totally out of shape. I mean, I was taking 3 shots a day, handfuls of prescription meds and I was carrying anywhere from 100-220 pounds of extra weight most of my adult life. That takes a substantial amount of WORK.
So really the whole ‘hungry, tired and sore’ thing hadn’t changed. It was no longer a valid excuse for me to be using.
I think my brain and my heart recognized the equation of wanting to fight for healthy and that needing to find a long-term, permanent solution was the only way to make this work.
The little fire in my soul that was SCREAMING ‘things can be so, so, so different for you if you would just work at it!’ was what I was choosing to listen to this time around… I could finally hear it loud and clear.
The biggest of the mysteries for me that remains in this whole adventure is why that little voice — smothered for so, so long — was finally what I was choosing to listen to, what I was focused on…
My journals intrigue me.
They confirm that I’m crappy at journaling. They’re frustratingly incomplete.
By my 2013 journal they’re full of race bibs, happy benchmarks and lots of running related notes.
I’m not sure when that switch occurred.
Personal details about that critical interlude are just simply missing from my journals entirely.
I wish I would have taken better notes or written more descriptions so that I could tell people ‘THIS is what I felt, how I did it, why I kept going…’ But I don’t have any of that information collected. And do not remember most of those details. Perhaps I blocked them out because things were that hard OR more likely — they felt profound enough at the time I figured I would never forget and I didn’t bother to write them down…
I’ll be writing stuff down a little more carefully from now on. 🙂
I would hazard a pretty good guess that the reason I kept going was that my motivation – the reason driving all the changes – was so, so different than any other time in my life.
This lifestyle change was not a reaction to someone’s opinion of what I should weigh/eat/do.
This was entirely about finding health and life.
This had nothing to with a number on the scale or a size of dress. And EVERYTHING to do with getting free from Type 2 Diabetes before it was too late.
This time I was carefully and systematically searching for the things I would needed to make this a lasting lifestyle.