My whole adult life I've struggled with my weight. I've yo-yo dieted my way through college, law school, and the early part of my career.

I wasn't a heavy kid. I was active, constantly running in playing in the backyard with my sister. We swam all summer, both on summer league swim teams and for fun with our parents. I tried my hand at soccer, softball, dancing, and horseback riding. Mom fed us well too. Sure we had our share of Kraft mac & cheese but it was served with broccoli and chicken.

I started gaining weight in high school when I started sneaking food and stopped being as active. Food became a coping mechanism for a stressful time in my life, unfortunately around the same time that sports & physical activity was replaced with social activity.

Thankfully my metabolism and young age kept the worst of the weight gain at bay. That would come in the second half of my college experience, after a particularly rough sophomore and early junior year.
Same, stock photo lady, same. Source.

My first big weight loss came my senior year of college. I spent the fall semester in Rome, Italy. Since I had next to no spending money I could barely afford 3 meals a day. They weren't anything fancy, either: cereal for breakfast, sandwich for lunch, chicken & pasta for dinner. The limited meals combined with having to get everywhere I wanted to go on foot led to drastic weight loss. By the time I left, none of my clothes fit properly.

But then law school started, my stress levels rose, and food once again became my safety net and my comfort.

The next big weight loss came the summer after I graduated from law school. I found a diet plan that I felt was nutritionally sound (although I really didn't have any basis for reaching that conclusion) and stuck to it. By the end of summer I had dropped around 30 pounds.

But then my career fell apart, I found myself unemployed, and food once again became my safety net and my comfort.

Since then my weight has steadily risen. I crossed a threshold I said I would never cross. And I kept gaining. Eventually I leveled off, sort of staying within 10 or so pounds of the same number.

Yet despite having reached a place I said I would never reach, despite feeling so uncomfortable in my own skin I couldn't stand it, I couldn't seem to find the motivation to actually get in shape. I added yoga to my schedule 3 nights a week; I also added weekly trips to my favorite wing restaurant for lunch takeout. It was a vicious cycle that led nowhere.

Every year for the past several years my family has run a 5k on Thanksgiving morning. This year, my cousin joined us. The three of us kids would run ahead and circle back to meet up with Mom.

Every time we ran, we had to stop because I couldn't go any further. The other two could have but I couldn't. Now to be clear, both of them were extremely supportive and not the least bit judgmental. But I hated it. I hated not being able to keep up with them. I hated being the reason we stopped running. I hated the way I felt, struggling to run one more step.

 A few days later, the same three of us went to the Grand Canyon. At one point, my cousin and I popped into the bathroom and when we came back out my sister said she'd found a trail that led down into the canyon that was accessible to all levels of hikers. The trail, Bright Angel, leads all the way to the bottom of the canyon but the first mile or so is open to everyone who visits the canyon.

So down we went. Somewhere between 3/4 of a mile and one mile we decided to start heading back up.

I thought I would never make it back out. Within 10 or so steps I was breathing too hard to speak. At one point I just stopped walking. I couldn't even find my voice enough to tell the other two I was stopping. I just stood there in the middle of the trail, panting heavily.

I hated it. I hated having to take that extra stop. I hated not being able to chatter with the other two as we hiked. I hated feeling like I was holding them back. I hated how much I felt like I was going to never make my way back out of the canyon. I hated that two days later my calves still hurt.

And then it happened. A switch flipped. Suddenly, it's no longer about losing weight or looking a certain way. Now it's about running that whole 5k and hiking further. It's about not getting winded walking up stairs.

It's about never feeling like my physical health holds me back from any thing I ever want to do.

So I'm making changes because I never want to feel that way again. Ever.

And one day, hopefully soon, I'll run that whole 5k.

1 comment:

  1. Mommysoproudofyou! Take the stairs when you come home from work. Park far away in Wegmans parking lot. And you will reach your goal! I have faith in you!!