Fitness magazines say that "on average, it takes three weeks for a person to notice a difference in her body after starting a workout plan." It takes six weeks for family and friends to notice. And it takes ten to twelve weeks for the rest of the world to notice. I guess that's a way of reminding well intentioned but anxious people that results don't come immediately.
I've been striving (not entirely successfully, but that's a post for another day) to eat according to my trainer's guidelines for two weeks, and have been working out with him for only a week, but my clothes are definitely looser. Two weeks ago, the pants I had on today were a little snug. Today, there was plenty of wiggle room. I happened to be wearing the same Tshirt this time last week as I have on now, and there is a definite difference in how it fits. Since my trainer has banned me from checking the scale for a month (uh...Merry Christmas to me? All I want for Christmas is to weigh myself?), I won't know how many pounds I'm losing. But I can see the small changes that are beginning to take place--slightly looser clothes being only one of them. Because I am also sleeping better. I am coping better with stress. I'm not craving sugar any more. I am giving thought to my meals and making arrangements for them. I'm getting braver and more willing to try new things. I feel more in control of my life and my body. These things are progress-- and right now they matter more to me than a number on the scale anyway.
I've been asked how committed I am to all of this-- this exercising and very specific meal plan and the whole works. And I don't know how to answer. Because I'm on fire right now. But I also know that I've quit before which makes me doubt myself. I've gotten busy. I've not seen results as quickly as I wanted. I've pledged 100% commitment to my trainer for three months. And I guess both he and I are wondering what will happen after that three months. Am I strong enough to make this a lifestyle change? I told him that I was 90% certain that I was and that's the most honest answer I know how to give. I know that there is something different this time. I know that I am in a better place mentally and otherwise to really do this. I know that I will have more support and accountability than I ever have before. I know that I'm really over my body telling me what my limits are. I know that I'm too young to feel as old as I sometimes do.
But maybe the thing is that I'm also now really aware of the hardest thing. When I'm finally the pudgeless parson, I don't think I'm going to look back and think that losing the weight was the hardest thing I've ever done. I think I'm going to look back and realize that the hardest thing I've ever done was live in a tired body that neither looked good nor felt good. I don't think I'm going to think that pushing myself was some monstrous beast to slay-- I think I'm going to remember the allowing myself to settle was the monstrous beast.
So am I in, really in? I believe so. Because if I'm not, then I'll never know what it was like to completely exceed my own expectations and push past my previous failures. And that is a result that I won't see in three weeks.