Tonight, I’m reminded about what losing weight really is. What it really means.
Yes, at the end of the journey, trying on clothes is much less of a headache; there is no crying in the dressing room anymore, I don’t have to completely avoid short-sleeved shirts and tanktops, I don’t have to put my hand under my chin in pictures to hide that second chin that shows up.
But that’s only stuff on the outside.
When I started the journey, I thought the outside was what was I wanted out of it. I thought I wanted to fit cute clothes. I thought I didn’t want to be ashamed of my arms or my chins. I didn’t want to be ashamed of myself anymore. I wanted to recognize myself again.
But it turns out weight-loss is not at all what it was about in the end. No one can tell you that and if you’re just starting out or you haven’t begun yet and you’re unhappy with your body or more importantly your life, you won’t even believe me.
I never knew why people touted this as a “journey” myself until I went through it and I know now why they call it a journey.
You go through peaks and valleys and soul-searching and pain and then more pain and you question why and you fall down and then people question your reasons why and then you fail and then you succeed and then in the end you start to believe and then it turns out that the numbers you see on the scale have nothing to do with believing, the numbers on the scale begin to reflect the blood sweat and tears you poured into it and after a while you only think about what you went through to get that number. And THAT’S what it’s about.
I’m reminded of this as I pack for #Fitbloggin ’11 in Baltimore, where I’m headed today (which is a conference where people who write about fitness and weight-loss and their journeys and their successes meet each other, get inspired, meet companies, network, etc. and seriously this is the BEST conference in the WORLD. You want to get inspired and meet a zillion open-armed wonderful awesome people who are in every stage of the weight-loss and fitness journey? Go to this conference.)
And while I pack for Fitbloggin, I am watching the final weigh-in at the ranch of The Biggest Loser and as I’m doing this and watching how far they’ve come and they’re seeing how much they’re worth all of this work and what they are capable of it reminds me again that it is not about the WEIGHT LOSS!
I mean yes of course it is. But it isn’t!
It’s about seeing something through to the end.
I just can’t stress it enough that trying to lose weight is not about the dieting or the mindlessly heading out to the gym or getting in your standard 30 minutes of something (even though something is always better than nothing of course) and losing and regaining the same pounds over and over again. That is frustrating and it’s tiring.
It is deciding that it is time to make yourself a priority. Even if you don’t think you deserve it yet. Because when you start, you probably won’t. I didn’t.
It is about breaking cycles.
And not breaking promises to yourself.
It is about commitment.
It is about sacrifice.
It is about feeling your jigglies on the treadmill or wherever you’re sweating but still going.
It is about challenge.
It is about falling down and getting up.
It is about pushing through the pain and eventually embracing the pain and then even, eventually LIKING the pain. (Yes, that does happen.)
Like a race, it is about FINISHING.
And then you get to look back and think, Did I just do that?
HOLY CRAP I JUST DID THAT.
God as I watch this show and I watch them having dropped 100 pounds and as I write this, I cry. Because I ask myself: what if I had deprived myself of this experience by not starting this journey?
I mean, WHAT IF?!
What would have become of me?
What would have become of my children? My husband? My marriage?
Because it hasn’t changed my pants size. IT HAS CHANGED MY LIFE.
Triathlon? I mean, are you kidding me?
Writing about fitness? I mean, WHAT?
Writing for a sports magazine and working in a company that promotes SPORTS? I mean, SERIOUSLY??!!
It doesn’t make any sense!
It would never be in a million years be what I would have thought for myself 5 years ago, more than 60 pounds overweight postpartum. Sitting in a picture of someone I didn’t recognize.
But that is exactly the point. What started out as weight-loss has turned into so much more. And I would have never figured that out had I not started.
What I would have lost by never having begun this is far greater than the effort it took to get to this place. (And it indeed took a lot of effort.)
I mean, there is a whole town’s worth of people I’d have never ever met. A whole group of wonderful women and people I’d never have met online. There is a whole culture of people and events out there that would have remained a complete secret to me. Experience un-had. Victories un-beknownst. And at the end of the day, there I would be, on the wall, hiding from other parents and playdates and gatherings and friendships. All because I felt transparent, unworthy and uncomfortable. In my clothes and in my skin.
My husband would never have turned to me and said, “Thank you for getting us into this” when we stood in the tent after St. Anthony’s triathlon holding hands, with our medals hanging around our necks. I don’t ever think I will forget that moment because by changing my life, I have accidentally changed his life too. And our marriage now is the most amazing, wonderful, seriously-I-feel-like-sometimes-I’m-involved-in-a-love-affair-but-it’s-with-my-husband type of marriage in the world.
And all of this because one day I decided I wanted to run a 5k to lose weight.
If you’re wondering when it’s time to take the first step, if you’re frustrated because you just can’t seem to ever stay on the wagon, if you feel unworthy or invisible or unhappy or overweight or you can’t find the drive or you think it’s too much work or you don’t have time or it hurts or you simply just don’t believe you’re cut out for any of it or all of the above and you need something to get fired up about because just heading out to the gym just doesn’t do it for you, I’m telling you, get fired up about the POSSIBILITIES!
Because they’re endless!
Picture a big huge vast horizon and yourself standing on the edge, looking over it, perhaps strapped to a bungee cord, because it is open, it’s an adventure and whatever you’re picturing for your ending I guarantee that you’re wrong because it is so much better than that. So.MUCH.better.
In fact, right now you can’t even picture the possibilities because they are unbelieveable to you! But they are waiting for you. Life is waiting for you. Life wants you to live it! That’s what it’s here for.
Yes, of course it may start out about the weight-loss. But I repeat: It’s NOT about the weight-loss.