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Not A Failure, A Delay



(Awkward uncomfortable silence and shuffling of feet)

If you’ve been journeying with me for a while, you know that I’ve been on a health/fitness quest. I lost 70 pounds (WOO HOO!)…and I’ve gained back 53 of them…

(Pauses for a moment of silence for the loss of my loss…)

OK, yes, there is some shame, some sadness, some depression associated with this.

There is no question that I feel like I’ve failed…that I let myself down…that I did all that hard work and then blew it.

Those feelings suck.

But here’s what I have to remind myself:

  1. I’m still 17 pounds less than I was at my heaviest.

  2. I am aware of the problems that led me to fall off the wagon.

  3. I have a desire to do something about it.

  4. I did it before, I absolutely can do it again.

  5. I can do it faster than I did the first time.

I’ll take on #5 first – muscle memory is a real thing. Read this. Don’t want to click the link? Short version is that when you do good things for your body, your body likes it and remembers. So when you do them again, it responds faster than the first time.

Now as for the others, #4 – duh. Why WOULDN’T I be able to do it again? I still have full use of all my limbs. My mind is in the game. I have no medical issues or restrictions, so check!

#2 & 3 are key. You can’t change something if you aren’t first aware that a change needs to be made and second if you don’t have a want to change it. Other people wanting it for you does nothing. YOU have to want it for yourself.

And that brings us to #1. My #1 reminder. I did not gain it all back. Yes, I gained back 76% of the weight I lost. 76% is not 100%. There was a study done at UCLA that looked at 31 long-term diet studies and discovered that about 2/3 of dieters regained more weight than they lost. They were WORSE off.

I. Am. Not.

I didn’t fail at what I wanted to do. I allowed life to temporarily derail my progress. Key word there – TEMPORARILY.

So while, yes, since March 11, 2013 (the date I hit the -70 pound mark) I have regained 2/3 of what I lost, I am still better off than I was on August 1, 2011 (the date I recorded my highest weight and began my journey).

Yesterday I worked out. It was hard. I hurt. But I did it.

Today, I made a plan – I knew I have a busy day on tap, so I woke up an hour early and worked out. It was hard. I hurt. But I did it.

And then, I cried.

I cried because I lay on my sit-up bench and tried to do 20 sit-ups (broken into 2 sets of 10) and it nearly killed me.

I cried because I wanted to do 20 lying leg raises (broken into 2 sets of 10) and the last 3 were the most pathetic leg raises ever done – didn’t reach full raise.

I cried because when I used to work out with my trainer, Evil Eric, I could do 50 lying leg raises, WITH a dumbbell held between my feet, and at times getting my body raised almost to my shoulders – while cursing him out – it still hurt, but I could do them, and then crawl to my car.

I cried because I used to joke with Evil Eric that I didn’t have a core and he would argue that I had one that was covered in a protective cushion, we just needed to bring it out.

I cried because I used to *love* the feeling of my muscles burning, of the endorphins rushing through my body, of hitting a new goal. I cried because I want so much to be where I was, and right now it seems so far away.

I cried because I miss choking down a protein shake after a workout because my body wanted it.

I cried because I felt like I let myself down.

Then I stopped crying.

I got up, and I did some bicep curls and some tricep extensions using the pathetic little colorful 3 pound weights that I used to scoff at.

I limited myself to small sets and small weights because I learned something the last two times I tried to jump back into fitness thinking I was badass enough to go back to my old levels and wound up tearing a ligament in my hip the first time and pulling a muscle in my shoulder the last time.

I used my brain to make decisions to get myself back to Evil Eric condition, knowing that I can do it, knowing that it will take time, but knowing how good I’m going to feel.

A weight loss and health journey is hard. Doing it without the aid of surgery, drugs, fads, or any other “quick fix” is even harder, especially when people you know and love have either gone that route or suggested that you do it. And while that may be right for them, only you know what’s right for you.

For me, it’s the old fashioned way.

For me, it’s a lifestyle, not a quick fix.

For me, it’s proving to myself that I am in control of my body, my health, and my life.

I did this once, I can do it again, but even better.

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