During my weight loss and maintenance journey (truthfully, it will be never ending), I’ve often been asked, “What was your rock bottom?” Essentially, what pushed me to finally commit to a change? The answer I clearly remember. About a week or two prior to joining Weight Watchers (again…for the last time), I found that my arms and legs would randomly fall asleep while I was asleep. I’d wake up and not be able to move one or more of my limbs. I wasn’t laying on them, or constricting the blood flow in anyway. They would just be asleep. Then, after waking up, I would be quietly lying in bed, and my heart would race and my breathing would become erratic. Very scary! I had always thought that I was a relatively healthy person, well, save for the obesity, but this just got real. With that recent development and me just really, really feeling bad about myself, I needed to commit to change. So, on Sept. 25, 2008, I walked through to the door to what would become my Thursday evening home for 4 years.
Along the way, the changes to my life varied in degree, but all were welcome!
Physical Changes (just a sampling)
- After only about 30 lbs. I found myself less out of breath after climbing steps.
- I found that the more I exercised, the stronger I became, both physically and mentally. Plus, the changes in my body were exciting! Feeling stronger physically, of course, added to my confidence.
- I could buckle my seat belt without having to lean my hip over to buckle it. Small physical changes = big mental changes. It’s been years since that started to happen, and I still remember it.
- My cholesterol dropped to 133 from 232. No meds. Just lifestyle change.
- When I flew in on a plane, my thighs didn’t rub against the person’s next to me. AND I was no longer dangerously close to having to ask for a seatbelt extender.
- I didn’t look in a mirror in disgust.
- I was able to run, far. I started walking, then started to run (it wasn’t overnight!). Oh, and being able to run isn’t purely a physical change, it’s a mental change.
- This is a very interesting part about the journey. One would think that confidence would go up as the weight went down, but for folks like me who pretty much identified herself with her weight, it was a very scary proposition. After losing 20 pounds, I suddenly became afraid. I became afraid of changing, of almost losing that identity. Granted, it wasn’t an identity I wanted, but still, it was change. It almost paralyzed me and made me rethink my new lifestyle. Almost, but not quite. This was a mental obstacle I had to overcome if I was going to see more results. I see this fear in some of my members today. Change, even for the better, is scary to many. Don’t let it scare you, let it motivate you!
- So many habits had to be eliminated or changed. Another frightening change, but the key is to tackle one at a time in very small increments. Small changes = big success.
- My body started to change, but my mind wasn’t quite catching up with the changes. When I looked in the mirror, I still saw the fat person. I was being very over critical. This can really defeat a person rapidly. I was actually fearful of developing some sort of body dysmorphic disorder. Eventually my mind caught up through constant reminders to myself that the scale and my clothes weren’t lying to me. However, even today, I don’t describe myself as “thin.” I was recently completing a health history for my son. It asked if there was obesity in the family and I marked “yes.” Never forget where you started, so you are reminded not to go back!
Ok, so I started out describing my rock bottom moment. Let me finish with my sky high moment. I mentioned that one of the physical changes was being able to run. I ran my first 5K in 2009 and was hooked. I ran a couple more, and then I decided to go for a 10 miler – the Broad Street Run in Philadelphia. I was terrified! I consulted marathoner friend who suggested a training plan. It was simple enough. I followed it and was ready. With two hours sleep (that’s how nervous I was), I was off at 5am driving to Philadelphia, hoping I wouldn’t die. I had two goals – don’t walk and finish under two hours (both were accomplished). The race started, I felt pretty good and my playlist was perfect. The 5 mile point was just before I hit City Hall, and as I did, Beautiful Day by U2 started playing in my ears. Indeed, it was a beautiful day. I knew I would finish and it felt awesome! That was my sky high moment.