I was not expecting it to be an easy road. I have traveled this journey before – the path of blood, sweat, and tears to shed fat from my overburdened body. I know all too well that it is anything BUT a glamorous feat to embark upon. In fact, a lifetime of overweight/weight-loss/weight-gain, had me geared up for thoughts of failure.
“This is just who I am“, is the underlying deceptive voice that accompanies and eventually sabotages all attempts at permanent weight-loss. You see, the concept,“who I am” is shrouded and clouded in filters that mask true potential.
Yet, on my 53rd Birthday (06/06/16) I chose to begin AGAIN by giving myself a challenge – to bike for at least 53 minutes a day for 53 days!
Am I crazy? Yes … in the sense that I have a CRAZY IRON WILL!
I had lost 21 lbs from November, 2015 to mid-March, 2016, by following my personally designed tool that I use in my coaching practice – a process I call “7 Pillars for Unleashing Creative Personal Power.” I hit a plateau in my weight-loss after four months of consistent dropping pounds, and I remained at my new weight for the next few weeks without budging either way. I trusted that the momentum would kick in again soon.
Life handed me a different kind of kick instead.
On April 6 I received the message that none of us are ever prepared for. Mom had passed away. She lived to a grand age of 93, but this was my mother. I always knew I would never be ready to lose the one who brought me into this world. I thought I was handling my grief well until I noticed I had gained four pounds over the next few weeks. Not only had I lost my mom, I felt loss in every other sense – loss of motivation, loss of interest in life, loss of self-care, and loss of the will to be strong at all. Somehow nothing made sense or even mattered. It was as if I had died too.
I wrote in my journal around the end of May, “Dear Mom, if you can see me now, if you can hear me, and if there is some way you can help … the sky is falling, and I feel like I am at the end …” I couldn’t write any further. I sobbed instead – uncontrollably, as if the tears needed their space to flow without interruption.
Mom had a practice of praying about everything. Prayer was her rock of life and her firm foundation, her hope, her strength, and her solution. Miracles that followed her prayers were Mom’s testimony to a power that was beyond her human understanding. I learned well from her. I too practiced all forms of prayer, including meditation, and discovered healing power there. Mom trusted prayer with fervent faith, and she told me, “Whenever I’m worried about someone,” (usually one of us eight kids) “I pray and pray for them, and then I feel a warm white light around them, and I know then that they will be OK.” Her belief never failed her.
So here I was, on one hand feeling extreme loss, but on the other grasping a bigger assurance … that Mom was now more unlimited than she could ever be in physical form – and more powerful too. I felt her strength. I felt her faith. I felt that warm light, and I knew that somehow I would find (once and for all) a way out of this blah – this nothingness – this deep sadness and loss of will for living. I would somehow find a solution to – a release of – the weight that I had carried around all my life. I would lean on Mom’s newfound hereafter strength and limitless power.
June 6 came, and I turned 53. The stark realization that I am getting well into my fifties served as a catalyst for continued weight-loss. But the situation was obvious. I would have to do something different – something big to jump-start the process. Either way, I was getting back up on the horse, girded with brawn, brains, heart, fire, and firm resolve, and I would ride off to conquer this thing for good! But how?
- EXERCISE! I would add exercise to my “7 Pillars” regime (after all, Pillar #2 is “NURTURE”, and it includes caring for ALL aspects of who we are … which means our physical well-being too). Could I trust myself to be consistent with exercise?! The resounding rumble of confidence I felt within is indescribable. “YES!” I firmly asserted, “I will do this!”
I chose the ONE exercise I have always loved but had become too heavy to ever think about it over the past ten years – BICYCLING. I would rekindle the spirit that had me participating in bike-a-thons back in the 1990’s. I could do this! It would take effort, guts, and even PAIN … but I could do it!
2. GIVE UP SUGAR! Yes. I would give it up – completely – until whatever point I can truly trust myself to have small portions without being triggered into a binge. I would seek the advice of my doctor and I would visit her bi-weekly to keep myself accountable to my health goals.
I accepted these two challenges knowing full-well the mine traps (and mind traps) and pitfalls I was headed for.
Losing weight involves moods, cravings, denial, temptation, rebellion, self-doubt, old patterns that have become strongholds, and at times a feeling of sheer hopelessness (after all, why should it work “permanently” THIS time?)
But here’s the truth about making permanent changes in life that are necessary, if not crucial, for a chance at well-being, vitality, and longevity: Life gets less and less “easy” when we DON’T start the ball rolling for positive change. It is just how it is, and we can get mad at it, succumb to defeat, or choose to accept the job of doing something about it. There is no middle ground that offers any real peace of mind if we are not actively engaged in creating our own realities. There just isn’t.
And that’s the point that I was (and am) at. I also give credit to faith, prayer, and going within to re-claim inner (spiritual) peace and calm. This has always been the substance of winning for me in anything I have ever had to confront. It is not as much a gift as it is a practice – a learned truth from a mother who verbalized and demonstrated it first.
I can now accept what is not easy to do. I have learned firsthand about failure, emotional bruises, trying again, renewing strength – and the circle back around. I have learned that to NOT accept the journey to start again is to accept a life of pain (physical, emotional, spiritual, and mental). Carrying around all that extra weight is not just an occasional discomfort; it is a constant TRAP – a reminder that I am stuck, that I am not in balance, not healthy, and not being true to the natural state of well-being that my body was designed to experience. It is as much a mind trap as it is a physical dis-ease.
When you are packing around 60 – 100 lbs of extra body fat, the heaviness and stuck-ness is felt with each footstep, each stair climb, each clothing-shopping trip, each physical task that causes fatigue, profuse sweating, and nearly having the wind knocked out of you completely. It is, for me, the body pain – inflammation so incapacitating that at times I couldn’t get up off the couch without excruciating pain, the times I could hardly walk and couldn’t bend to tie a shoe or put on my jeans without sharp pain in my lower back. I’m telling you the truth. The flare-ups of debilitating pain that I would go through sporadically, for no apparent reason were a result of WEIGHT.
So, how is it going for me? Today as I write this it is Day 28, and I have been biking consistently, and yes, I have been sugar-free! I have cut out carbohydrates about 90% … and I feel amazing! In June I lost 9.5 lbs, and I am rarely (if ever) hungry. I eat lots of veggies and protein, and I drink a lot of water.
Is it easy? Yes and no. It was NOT easy to start, but it is getting easier! But I will be completely honest …
Biking daily, although it has gotten far easier than when I started this 53-day challenge, takes DAILY discipline, daily motivation, daily pushing myself. Each day I am haunted, if only in some small way, by old ghosts of a lifetime of dieting, exercising, and then tossing it all aside. I am reminded with scare-tactics from deep in my psyche that this is a battle I can’t win.
So as I post daily pictures on Facebook (Self-Inspiration – My Weight Loss Journey) of me starting yet another bike ride, sporting a big smile or a “thumbs-up” gesture, I also thought it necessary to convey the full picture.
THIS IS NOT EASY. It is a path I choose as the lesser of two evils because I know that in the end THIS path is not an evil at all! It just feels that way at times.
So, if there is ONE inspiration I want you to get from my message today it is this: I KNOW YOUR PAIN. I am here for you to cheer you on in YOUR weight-loss. I know you can do it. I know you can because “I” am doing it … one day at a time (and sometimes one hour at a time).
Don’t quit. It really is kinda pointless. If you do, you will only start again … and again … and again … and again, and you will continue in that circle until one day (perhaps at a very old age) you will make the decision you wish you had made NOW … TODAY … while you have more time to enjoy your accomplishment. Save yourself years of misery and indecisiveness. Just do it – for your health, well-being, freedom, peace of mind, joy, agility, and longevity.
First, I opened my closet to choose something to wear today, and before getting dressed two things happened:
- I decided to stuff into a garbage bag any clothing that is now loose-to-baggy on me, to pass it on to a Goodwill center. I have been wearing these clothes, proud that it was overly loose, as it was a reminder that I am losing weight. But this morning I said, “Enough! This is now TOO BIG for me, and I will never wear it again!” Part of me screamed, “Wait! What if you gain weight back again?” I paused to ponder how ridiculous that subtle old pattern of thinking has kept me overweight. I released it – I filled a bag with eight tops and two pairs of jeans.
- I opened a bag that I had previously stuffed for Goodwill. OH MY GOD! There were beautiful shirts that I barely ever wore – all of which were a size, or two, or three too small … but now some of them actually fit me well! Thankfully they are not the more time-trendy kind that are now out of style – basic shirts that I love with pockets, zippers, etc. – great casual styles that never really go “out of style.” One by one I pulled out treasures – summer skirts, t-shirts, blouses, jeans, shorts … AND I HAD PACKED THEM AWAY FOR GOODWILL??
I recalled packing that bag and what my state of mind was: “I simply cannot lose weight.” I had tried too many times. I had lost weight and even kept it off for a whole year, but then I gained weight again … more than I lost!
I can’t blame you if you wonder. This is the voice I confront and overcome on a daily basis now.
The difference this time is that “I” have already changed on the inside. The manifestation of weight-loss is a natural next step. When the inner “weight” dissolves, outer weight no longer has a comfortable place to reside.
I have changed
– I have never done this before – not with the experience behind me that I now have. This is all BRAND NEW!
– I have never before been this age and have never before (in all previous “diets”) experienced the extreme physical pain that I have felt over the past 8 – 10 years.
– I have never in my entire life gone this long being THAT heavy.
– I have never known personal empowerment to the degree that I do now (the last time I seriously attempted weight-loss I thought I NEEDED a relationship in order to be complete; I was not an experienced Life Coach; I had not come to terms with my own “story” that kept me overweight and literally dying from an eating disorder; I felt fragile on the inside – more vulnerable to opinions of others; I didn’t know my own true strength; I didn’t “own” my own right to have a voice or to care about ME … I somehow didn’t matter; I now know I do.)
So I happily pick up the baton now and daily push forward. I am determined from the inside out. The journey is for my well-being and not to seek attention, approval, praise, or anything from anyone besides myself. It is not superficial, time-bound, or wrapped in mere visions of a slim ME. It is about a healthy me, and the choice is solely MINE … for the very first time. There is no agenda, no hopes to gain something from the outside world, no pretense, no starvation, no quick-fixes, no eating disorder – just clean health, exercise, daily motivation, and daily envisioning the destination while enjoying the “ride” along the way.
And so I roll on – because I have chosen to – for ME.
If you have been inspired by this post, or if you would like to add questions or stories about your own journey to better health, I would love to hear from you in comment section below. Thank you!