Weight Loss: A Marathon, NOT a Sprint

October 2011 to April 2012

For almost eight months now, I’ve been working on losing weight. In October of last year, I weighed 293 pounds, a record high for me. Seeing that number on the scale was heartbreaking, and admitting that it was accurate was even more difficult.

But I persevered. I joined Weight Watchers and picked up running. I changed my diet and stopped making excuses. I went out for runs when I would have rather sat on the couch. I ate carrots when I really wanted chocolate. I drank water when I wanted wine. I ran a 5k race without stopping. I sacrificed. I pushed. And I lost 63 pounds in seven months. I am halfway to my goal.

That brings me to today, and I am struggling. I’m not afraid to say it- I’m tired. After watching every bite, logging every single mile, and staying focused every day of the week, I am tired. Here’s the deal, friends: it’s fun to eat what I want. It’s way more fun to sit and watch TV than it is to go out for a run. I’m one of those girls who can sit down on the couch and eat an entire jar of Nutella without stopping. I’m the girl who can put away a family sized bag of potato chips after eating dinner, then chase it with a sleeve of Oreos, and here’s the real kicker: I enjoy every second of it. My stomach doesn’t hurt, I don’t feel sick. On the contrary; that feeling of fullness feels GOOD. I’ve discussed this with my much thinner sisters, and both have said they dislike (even hate) that super-full feeling. But I don’t. I LIKE IT. I find myself craving that feeling- even chasing it. Uncomfortable as it is to admit, I’m relatively confident I’m addicted to that feeling.

Here I am, deservedly facing a weigh-in tomorrow morning that I know won’t be pretty, struggling. I’ve been here before. I’ve lost weight, then slacked, and watched the scale creep back up and then past my previous weight. I don’t want to do that again. The prospect of it is nothing less than terrifying.

So what’s next?

Here’s my little personal pep-talk for this coming week (and maybe it’ll help you, too):

  1. Losing weight, any amount, is hard. Losing 5 lbs is hard. Losing 120 lbs is hard. Wherever I am on the journey, it’s hard, and it’s okay to admit it.
  2. It’s okay to tell myself how awesome I am for every pound I lose. I deserve my post-weigh-in dance of victory.
  3. It is NOT okay to give up. It would be a shame to undo all of this hard work, wouldn’t it? I mean, can you think of anything more disappointing than to have amazed oneself for 6 long months, only to undo it all in a matter of weeks? I can’t. It would be like an artist destroying a piece of work. This 60-pounds-lighter body is a piece of work, my friends, and it’s NOT okay to give up on it just because I got tired.
  4. There’s a reason I’m chasing that super full feeling, and it’s not pretty. For me, eating lots of food does two things for me: satisfies my need to reward myself, and satisfies my need to punish myself. You see, I’m an emotional eater. If I’m happy, I want to eat. If I’m stressed, I want to eat. If I’m nervous, embarrassed, or feeling guilty – oh mercy, get out of the way unless you want to lose a digit. Knowing this about myself is actually a good thing. It’s high time I find another way to reward myself. (Ideas welcome!) It’s also high time I stop feeling the need to punish myself. (Prayers welcome!)
  5. A majority of the success we experience, in any area of our lives, is the culmination of many tiny, consecutive, good decisions. Losing weight doesn’t have to be the big dramatic thing I make it out to be: remembering that my craving for Nutella tonight is just a teeny weeny moment in the grand timeline of my life helps me keep the decision to abstain in perspective. I can skip the Nutella right now – and right now, that’s all that matters.
  6. I am awesome- a fact that doesn’t change even when I have a bad week. (I’m allowed to be a little prideful in my own pep-talks.)
  7. This journey is a marathon. No one has ever lost 120 lbs in a month. This kind of thing takes determination and self control more than anything. Just keep going. Stop thinking it’s impossible. Start believing #6.

Sigh. I feel much better about the coming week, don’t you? This is doable!

Do you give yourself pep-talks? I want to hear them- I NEED to hear them! Share them in the comments.