It has been one week since I hit my goal. I have no idea whether or not I'm still there, as I am so used to weighing in on Wednesdays that I will continue that trend. I went through a day and a half of celebration last Monday and Tuesday, during which I did not count calories (though I did order my hazelnut latte with sugar-free syrup). I then had a school festival and family s'mores-and-weenie roast that were also not conducive to goal-keeping. However, I did all that with the realization in mind that I can make up for it, and that is where I am now. I do not have willpower of steel, as some have suggested. It took me a LONG TIME to develop the willpower to withstand those Lucky Charms bars in my snack cupboard, and it took me even longer to be forgiving enough with myself that I can allow occasional s'mores and lattes and full-fat weenies without guilting myself to tears. Earlier in my journey, I had to be stricter, and this is where many of you are now. In time, you learn to go with the flow, and your know-how and willpower and confidence will increase, and this is good news for the long haul.
Weight is an uphill battle. I know, because I started at the bottom of a VERY steep hill, proverbially and literally. I live on a street named Church Hill, because my place is literally across the street from a church at the top of the incline. It is a cool old, abandoned church with an 1800s cemetery around it, so at least my neighbors are quiet. (If they ever stop being quiet, I'm moving, because I don't have a proton pack, and Bill Murray won't come to help, even if I do call him...and I'm not about to call the new Ghostbusties that Hollywood is about to shamefully introduce). During the six or seven years I've lived here (at my age, you lose count of years), I've had to traverse that hill a few times. Sometimes we had no car because it was with the town mechanic (who I think was also once the town mayor in this little Mayberry of a place where I live), and we had to walk down to the tiny post office to get our mail, since we're not even big enough to have our own mailboxes or postmen. A few times, we willingly took walks with our dogs, albeit not often. For most of the years I've lived here, I had to stop three or four times on the way up the hill, due to aching knees and being out of breath. By the time I walked in my front door, I was ready to collapse, and I looked like I'd just trekked through 90 miles of zombie apocalypse in a desert. Now, I can literally jog up that hill, with nary-a-wheeze. I feel like Rocky running up the steps (circa adorable Sly in ROCKY I--not that ancient, cancerous, old CREED Rocky, mind you.) I was so stoked the first time I easily climbed that hill that I considered asking the mayor/mechanic if I could erect a statue of myself at the top, but then I realized that a memorial statue in a cemetery might not come off as victorious as I hoped.
There are just so many things I can actually do now that I couldn't do before, and the funny thing is that I have noticed this all along my journey. On a sunny Sunday in August of 2014, after I'd lost about 80 or 90 lbs., I went geocaching with my kiddo. I was wearing a gray sleeveless sweater and a "little" gray skort and thought I looked cute, so I had her take a picture next to a statue of a local boxing hero. I didn't realize it at the time, but my butt was as big as that stone one on the elevated boxer. Nevertheless, I was thrilled that day because we walked around looking for the geocache without me running out of breath.
Fast-forward to now, and I can do so much more than I could even then. I can climb that hill with ease, and this morning, I fit into this tiny, squeezy black tank top and still breathe. Sure, I almost dislocated my shoulder doing it, but I did it! I have big goals this year, lofty things like:
-- Run on a beach to fly a kite.
-- Go roller skating.
-- Wear a swimsuit in public.
-- Take a selfie with a complete stranger.
All of these goals will be more easily accomplished because there is less of me, and at 45, I feel more alive than I have in at least a decade. Sure, I ought to buy stock in Clairol, considering that without it, I'd look like Stripe off of GREMLINS. Sure, I've got a bad case of frozen shoulder and tend to get bursitis in my left elbow, because my ancient joints aren't as sturdy and well-lubed as they used to be. Sure, some things have succumbed to gravity, and more underwires are required. Sure, there are a few wrinkles here and there and I have to go to bed before the evening news and have a couple morning dates with my boyfriend to get me going. But in spite of the normal parts of aging, I feel pretty darn good, and that is exactly why I will continue my quest to "get back to goal" (which means I'm back to 1,200 cals till I maintain my goal for two straight weigh-ins) and then head into maintenance (which means I will eat between 1,300-1,500, using trial and error to make sure I stay within 5 lbs. of goal).
If you are at the bottom of the hill, in the middle of the staircase, or hovering around that top step, tell yourself that you CAN do it. You CAN lose. You CAN maintain. You CAN climb that hill or ride that bike or wear that tank-top or find the strength, confidence, and willpower to do all you want to do on your weight-loss journey and in your life. I encourage you to take pictures of yourself along the way, because someday, like me, you will look back at them in surprise. Celebrate every milestone, because every mile you go gets you closer to that statue at the top of the stairs! You are a CANtender, and you CAN be a champion, as long as you don't give up.