Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A Year...

Funny how some dates stick in your head. Sometimes random ones, sometimes significant.  Some of them are dividing lines that will one day mark off your life in chapters.  November 20, 2012 was a Tuesay-- three days after my birthday.  Ordinary to everyone else.  But it was the day my life began to change, the day when I admitted to myself that I wasn't who or how I wanted to be, the day when I realized I wanted so much more.

It was the day that I not only made a commitment to myself, but I got some help to make sure I knew the victory of success. I've made commitments in this area before, but when the things got tough, I quit. On November 20, I started an amazing and wild and frustrating journey toward being healthy.  Looking back, the other times proved to be false starts, but this one took.  Here's my post from That Day I started working with a trainer.  I committed myself to at least showing up, for at least three months.   I've never looked back.

In a year, I've:

  • made my health a priority. I say no to other things so I can go to the gym.  I don't eat something simply because it's offered or because it's the polite thing to do. 
  • dropped 35 pounds and 4 sizes 
  • gained confidence.  My shoulders still slouch, but it's not because I'm trying to hide myself.  The confidence I've found has spilled onto everything else.
  • learned to eat what my body needs for fuel, and how to healthfully indulge cravings without sabotaging my progress
  • fought a 6-month hormonally induced plateau, and known the grand feeling of perseverance
  • managed not to kill He-who-trains, and most days, even thank him for pushing me.  I've learned (mostly anyway) to check my ego and to actually let him teach me.
  • Rehabbed my knee that's been problematic for now half of my life.  I've gone from crying when I walked to running and squatting.  (As a reward, I get to do leg days that increase my vocabulary. Still trying to decide if this is progress!)
  • learned my way around the gym, and built a community of friends there. I'm no longer intimidated.  I can't lift as much as the fellas, but I know that I have a place in the gym.
  • quit being as camera shy.  I used to really hate having my picture taken.  Now I will sometimes even pose.  And maybe even smile. 
  • stopped needing my inhaler. I think I've used it once in the last year, and that was from a chemical smell, not exercise.
  • gotten off the diet hamster-wheel.  I don't try every fad that comes along.  I quit wasting my money on gimmicky equipment or the "right" waterbottle. I don't ferociusly rip out workout plans from magazines. 
Seems to me, fitness experts and life coaches and generally smart people are all about goals.  I can see value in that.  So here are some of mine for the coming year, both big and small (and in no particular order)
  • Be able to do a pull-up. (Or lots.) I've never ever been able to do one.
  • Reach a goal weight of 135 lbs. Or less.  But that's a starting point.
  • Return to cooking at home regularly, using healthy and whole foods. 
  • Master the concept of intensity. Be able to leave it all at the gym on a regular basis.
  • Get to the point that my form is so consistently good that all He-who-trains can say is "those are perfect."
  • Run a 5k in 24 minutes.  Pick out a half marathon, and begin training for it.
  • Learn to stand up straight-- even if it means focusing a lot of attention on my weak back muscles. 
  • Be more faithful in blogging my journey.  One day I'm going to want to remember. 

Has the year been everything I hoped? No.  I only lost about half of what I expected to in a year.  It was a struggle, and some of that was on me.  I wasn't ready to wear a bikini at the beach.  But still, the year has probably been the most life changing one I've ever known.  My date of birth is November 17, 1981. The date I decided it mattered was November 20, 2012.  So... a cupcake in celebration! Maybe that's the biggest change of all: last year, it wouldn't have been a virtual cupcake.

And... just for fun.  Here's a truly horrifying "Before" (near my heaviest I think, in 2009) and much more fun "After" (taken last weekend.)