“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.” ~Thomas Jefferson
I began writing in this blog as a way to get all the random thoughts out of my head, but also as a way to tell my story. But as I look back, I realize I haven’t necessarily been upfront and honest. I haven’t necessarily given all the facts and explained the whole situation. Mostly, this is due to fear. And judgement from people. And to be perfectly frank, I’m tired of hiding behind fear.
I guess you could say it all began with a trip to Oregon. At first I was excited. A trip to the West Coast with a bunch of friends from work and a few days off from the kids to go along with it. What’s not to love?
Then I remembered that I would have to take an airplane. Then I remembered I would have to fit into an airplane seat and buckle my seat belt. Then I remembered every single article I have ever come across about airlines who kick people off the plane for being too fat. Then I remembered that maybe I would miss my kids and I shouldn’t go after all.
I belonged to a gym, joined in some arbitrary moment of “I can do this!” but at that point my workouts consisted of the 5 minutes I could stand on the elliptical or treadmill and then 30 minutes on the sit down bike. Throw in a couple of easy strength exercises on the machines, and I thought I was actually accomplishing something. The fear of getting on the plane and being embarrassed in front of people I had to work with motivated me to do something I had never done before…buy a scale.
After searching for what seemed like hours at a K-mart next to the gym, I finally found one. I raced home, carried it up to the bathroom, and after ripping off every ounce of clothing and all hair accessories that could add weigh, I gingerly stepped on the scale.
No, that is not a typo. That was the actual number. And while I didn’t want it to be true, I knew it was. I sat down on the bathroom floor and cried for about 10 minutes. How had it gotten this bad? How had I let myself get this far gone? Once I got control of myself, I got up, got dressed, and came up with a plan. That summer I worked my butt off and in two months (right before my flight) I had lost 20 pounds. I know that’s not a lot, but to me it was everything. It represented that I could actually do this.
Long story short, they didn’t kick me off the plane, though I did need a seat belt extender. But the heart wrenching fear I felt as I approached that first plane was probably the worst in my life. I didn’t sleep for nearly a week. I vowed that I would continue working out when I got home and would get myself to a healthy place.
And I did. For awhile. Until once again, life got in the way. That fall I worked out here and there, but nothing significant. Between two kids under 3, teaching kindergarten, and trying to be a good wife and mother, I never seemed to find time for the gym. Finally in January, after realizing I had gained back 12 pounds (bringing me back up to 321) a friend and I decided to sign up for the Y-fit challenge (the YMCA’s version of the biggest loser). And through that I fell in love with working out. I lost about 35 pounds, completed my first 5-K and began to gain back some of the confidence I so desperately needed.
And then, as most stories go, my world turned upside down. During the summer (on my last day of school) my dad died. We had a rather tumultuous relationship (see posts from then) and I didn’t think it would really affect me. But it did. In ways that I will never quite understand. And the gym took a back burner yet again. Luckily, I only gained about 5 pounds, but by the time school started again, I was a jumbled wreck. I didn’t know what was up or down or right or wrong. All I knew was that I needed something to change. I needed to be saved.
So I went for a run. And really, that is the true beginning of my story. Because on that day I was reborn. I learned that I can decide how my life is going to go. I am in charge of myself, my decisions, and my happiness. I can decide to begin to heal, and grow, and change for the better. And I did. Or, at the very least I’m in the process.
Over the months I ran occasionally, went to the gym, got injured, and then began again and again. In January, on the eve of my 33 birthday, I hit my 50 pound mark (60 if you count from my pre-plane freak out weight). And I’m still going.
I was looking back on old pictures today. Pictures from pre-kids, pictures from post-kids, pictures from last year, last week, last month and I can’t believe the difference. It’s not even just the weight, but the confidence, the happiness, the fact that there are more pictures now than there were before. These are all indicators that maybe this time is the right time. Maybe I’m finally exactly where I need to be.
And at 269 pounds I am currently running 15 miles a week and training for my first half marathon in the fall. While I still have so far to go, I’ve never felt better. I’m ready to begin this new chapter in my life.
I had to start and stop, begin and end, give up and keep going, numerous times to get to this point.
But if I can do it, so can anyone. If I can do it, so can you.
The last 10 months…