Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 22:02 ET
Away back in the day, my parents got me a card for high school graduation. For about 10 years, wherever I lived I put it up on my wall like a poster. I still have most of the message memorized and while I was on the treadmill this morning, I thought of the moral, “… the true worth of you travels lies not in where you come to be at journey’s end, but in who you come to be along the way.”
I could say a lot about this quote and how it’s shaped my entire adult life (not to be overly dramatic.) What I was thinking about today, though, is new and different. And, like I imagine the card was, it’s something my mom gave me.
A lot of people have asked me about my recent transformation and weight loss. As much as making the change in myself has been fun and rewarding, sometimes talking to other people can be very awkward or even uncomfortable. Sometimes they say crazy stuff, like “we’ll hold you down and shove food in your mouth” (I wish that was an exaggeration). Other times I don’t know how to talk to or around people who obviously have a much more serious problem than I did. Perhaps the most troubling question to answer, though, is people who sincerely ask me “how did you do it?” That’s been a really tough one.
So this morning I was on the treadmill and fretting because, after many, many weeks at this level, I’ve actually plateaued. Worse, I actually think I might have gained a little weight (not muscle) and have been mildly freaking out about it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there’s any problem with gaining a pound or two, but after so much work I’ve been legitimately (in my mind at least) concerned about backsliding.
Which is where these two threads come together. The answer to “how did you do it” and the way to stop freaking out about my current plateau are the same: it’s all about who you come to be along the way.
I’d tried various ways to “get healthy” before. By tried, I mostly mean “thought about.” One of the big reasons I didn’t find much success before was because I was concentrating on achieving a limited, short-term, usually aesthetic goal. Something like, “I want to lose 15 pounds before the summer.” Well, let me tell you from my own experience, this kind of plan is only setting yourself up for failure. My goal back in October was simply to “be healthy.” I took a definitive step on that road (for me it was counting calories) and I absolutely refused to look back. Then I started to get serious about exercising. Then I kicked both up a notch.
It was a progression, it was very gradual (no matter what people seem to think), and it was absolutely permanent. I wasn’t concerned about where my journey took me – I might have ended-up at 170 pounds or I might have ended-up at 120 pounds – that wasn’t the point. The point was that I was going to make these concrete steps towards a better me. I just remembered the dramatic transitions my mom and sister went through a few years back and one day I calculated how many calories I ought to be eating (you could do that here or here) and decided to only eat that much.
So, after my jog, I feel a lot better. Closely watching my weight used to be a reliable way for me to measure my success and stay motivated. It’s still going to be a part of my lifestyle, but now I realize and appreciate what I’ve accomplished. I’m also inspired to stay on the journey. Hopefully the Ragnar Relay will be one good next step. And, now I think I have better advice when people ask me how in the hell I did it.
Filed under: My Life