Over the last four years I have been making small and gradual changes that have stuck.
I exercise regularly. I haven’t had any soda in about four years. I stopped taking sugar in my coffee about two years ago which is something I NEVER thought I’d be able to do. And I quit drinking over nine months ago, and if you asked me a couple years ago if I would have done that voluntarily, I would have laughed in your face.
Bit by bit, I have started taking better care of myself.
Some people can make these changes at the drop of a hat and just completely overhaul their lives overnight.
One thing I’ve learned about myself over the past five years is that I bite off way more than I can chew, then I fail at something because I’m overwhelmed, and then I feel bad about myself, and it’s a whole crappy cycle.
There is another thing I’ve learned about myself.
Actually, I don’t know that I’ve learned it. I’ve known this.
It’s more something I’ve finally come to accept.
Something I’ve tried to fight or justify or defend to other people who have been judgmental about it.
I have a really hard time doing moderation in pretty much anything.
When I was a smoker, I didn’t smoke a few cigarettes, I smoked all of them.
If there is a bag of chips, I don’t eat a few of them, I eat them until I have either finished them or until I feel sick. If I do manage to eat just a few, I spend the next several hours obssessively thinking about them and fighting the constant urge to eat more of them.
If I’m drinking wine, I don’t drink one glass. I mean, what is the point of drinking only one glass of wine?
For me, if I want to change a behavior, what I have learned about myself is that I have to completely abstain from it.
And so I am now working on food.
I have been using food to numb stress and depression and anxiety and fear and unhappiness.
None of my clothes fit me. Physically I don’t feel good.
And I am currently the heaviest I have ever been (not being pregnant). I am pushing 180 pounds.
There is no magic number I am looking for. I don’t particularly mind the way I look. I do not obsess about the number on the scale. I don’t think being at 150 or 140 or 130 pounds will make me happier.
My worth and self-esteem are not dependent upon any particular weight or tag on my clothing. I am all about body acceptance.
BUT there is a point where you are not healthy. And I am at that point.
When you reach a certain weight range, when you reach a BMI range, when you are six clothing sizes larger than you were a couple years ago, you are not taking care of yourself.
And I am in the second half of my life, and there is a whole bunch of shit I have not gotten to yet.
I want to complete an Ironman triathlon. I want to break four hours in a marathon — which is 37 minutes faster than I have ever run one.
I really want to run a marathon with Number 4 in seven years (she really wants to run one, but you usually have to be at least 18 years old).
And I can’t do that when my body is in this condition:
I just can’t.
I am not fit. I am overweight. I do have a decent amount of muscle underneath all that padding, but there is way too much padding if I want to be healthy.
I am doing the equivalent of carrying around an unneccessary thirty to forty pound backpack every day.
And when I gain weight, it goes directly to my middle. Obviously.
And that puts me at a much higher risk for heart disease than someone who has extra weight evenly distributed all over their body. This type of fat also puts me at an increased chance for diabetes. Combining this with the fact that I had gestational diabetes in all of my pregnancies really increases my risk for diabetes, and now there are quite a few red flags waving around in the wind.
Accepting what I have known about myself, that I am not a person who does things in moderation, I have made some serious changes to my diet in the last two weeks.
I wish I didn’t have to.
But I do.
I love food.
But I love not having diabetes or a heart attack way more.
I am a person who has to abstain from certain things. It’s just the way I am. And after a while, as long as I stay consistent, I will no longer crave them all the time.
I am also a person who is an Obliger. (I have been reading The Four Tendencies (affiliate link) by Gretchen Rubin — that’s a whole other blog post).
As an Obliger, I really benefit from accountability. External accountability. It’s the way I am, and I used to fight that or feel bad about it, but that’s just the way I function, and I am finally okay with that.
And that is why I am putting this out there for all to see on the interwebs.
I need some help right now. And I am setting myself up for success.
I have been meeting a friend or two at the gym every day. I have regimented my food. I wish I didn’t have to, but I do. At least for now. And I am registering for a couple triathlons because 1) I really miss them and I enjoy them, and 2) they help keep me accountable in the working out department.
Anyway, I’m going to be documenting my journey back to fitness here for all of you to see.
And not just my journey to fitness.
My journey to breaking four hours in a marathon, and my journey to crossing the finish line of an Ironman.
Sharing this with all of you will help me stay on track.
And maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll help a couple people who are also struggling along the way.