I read something last night that I shared on social media that pretty much sums up where I am at this point in time in my life. As I have as one of my primary focuses (wouldn't "focii" be so much better of a word here?) these days getting weight off...I have started to notice that perhaps I might be making other people roll their eyes a little bit here and there.
When something is important to us...be it our children/grandchildren, a project or business we are involved in, our church, political happenings, neighborhood or home improvement, or the current state of our favorite sports team...we tend to be a bit passionate about it. We'll spend hours smocking a dress for an infant who is just going to spit up on it anyway. We'll paint the walls of our home and spend weeks tracking down the perfect comforter to make those folks on Pinterest green with envy and our friends even more so when they find out that we got it on clearance and had a great coupon and free shipping. We'll train for months to run a race...not caring if we come in 302nd...just that we finished.
In my case, I couldn't feel more supported. Folks have been giving me verbal high fives for months. It has been - some days - what keeps me going when I get stuck on a weight that refuses to budge to the extent that I think it should. It has been wonderful to have people notice the work that has gone into this transformation...and to not feel invisible. That used to be the goal, by the way. Invisibility.
But there may be someone out there who thinks I'm putting it all in their face. That when I succeed it just pokes them to feel bad about themselves. There's a line that can be crossed where people shut you out because you won't quit yammering on about your successes. That's the line I've been trying to avoid.
But back to what I read...
I'm competing with myself. I'm trying to shatter my own limitations that I somehow imposed on myself through the years. Things like...
"I'm not a runner." (Not today...and not technically...and yet, I can run for 20 minutes on a treadmill without stopping on a good day.)
"I'm too old to lose weight." (I'm 51...I'm still here...it's not too late.)
"I don't do squats because I am worried about my knees." (Once you build up the muscles in your legs...yes you can.)
"My metabolism is shot." (Complete B.S.)
"I'll always shop in Women's sizes." (Not anymore...and I'm not going back.)
"I don't have time to work out." (I don't have time to work out and do everything I want to do as well. This had to be a priority. Hopefully, my friends understand. My husband does. Which rocks.)
"I can eat what I want as long as I burn it off." (The quality of what I am eating is a huge factor. I cannot eat what I want because if I do, I won't feel like burning it off...so I probably won't.)
"You cannot wear clothes that fit because they cling." (So what if they cling? It is what it is. It isn't necessary to have something so large that it doesn't touch my body anywhere...which was my definition of "not clinging" previously.)
"High heels are too hard on your knees...flat shoes only." (Wedges are fine. And cute.)
"I hate stairs." (I do 156 stairs every day at work at least once. That's six flights. I'm a little gassed at the top but it passes very quickly. Plus, knowing I have to do this if I go to the cafeteria is a huge deterrent to go anytime other than at lunch. Even to pick up fruit.)
"I can't eat oatmeal without cream and sugar." (Yes, I can. With cinnamon and berries.)
"I do not want to drink coffee black." (Then I can give it up or embrace the bitter. I get to choose.)
"Black is slimming." (Perhaps, but after twenty years of it in the Women's Department, I'm embracing lime green, and hot pink, and believe it or not...white pants (gasp!).)
But even with all of that, I know that sometimes when someone improves, it holds up a mirror to us that says, "why are you not getting after it?" If it does and inspires you to get after it...awesome. If it does and makes you feel bad because you can't or won't...that's not the intent. I felt bad about it for twenty years with a few periods of success during that time...but the daily flogging of my weaknesses certainly wasn't helpful to me or productive in any way. I suppose I'm talking about my journey so much because it is what I'm living right now. Kind of like an expectant mother talks about babies all of the time or a bride-to-be eats, breathes and sleeps her wedding day and upcoming marriage.
There was someone who posted something this morning that made me roll my eyes, which is why I felt the need to put this out here. She is farther along down the path and cannot resist posting photos of herself impressed with the muscularity of her legs. There's a part of me that is, "Whoo hoo! You go, girl!" and another part of me (probably the part raised by my grandmother) that thinks this is over the line. It is one thing to post your cute new outfit...another to post the muscles in your legs.
The funny thing is...she has come so incredibly far that I really hate to begrudge her the pleasure of doing so. I know the work she has put in to be at this point. And in truth...I don't know her personally. I don't know what she has had to overcome to be able to feel confident enough to put that out there. I don't know if she views her legs as her best feature like some of us do our eyes or hair or skin. I don't know if it was the shock of discovery that running was changing her legs in a way that she liked so much that she wanted to share.
Bottom line: Who am I to judge? Especially when I am doing a little bit of the same. Because I'm so excited that I am moving from Point A to Point B instead of languishing in doing it in my head and not in reality. Making plans and not following them. Trying and starting out well...and then fizzling. Self-sabotaging. Starting again on Monday. Giving up...tuning out...living with it.
So, if you are seeing these incessant posts from me about exercise and feeling better and losing weight...know that this is a journey that I once kept private but was encouraged to share by people who were asking, "What are you DOING?" The truth is...what I'm doing is not as important as why I am doing it. That is the real key. That is what my program has made me face. That is what keeps me motivated on days when I'd really rather choose the easy path. The less sweaty one with fewer muscle aches and far less winded one. The one that used to feel comfortable but is now detrimental to me. The one that made me want to be invisible instead of invincible.
Thanks to those of you who are cheering on the sidelines and who read and tell me kind words that are like balm to my worn out old psyche. To those who lead by example and show me that it can be done. To those who encourage me in ways too numerous to mention. To those who work out with me and tell me that the tight capri workout pants are just fine...quit fidgeting.
I love walking with people on journeys of discovery or as they discover brave new worlds of children, grandchildren, travel, weddings, new homes, new cities or whatever. I am grateful for those who are walking along with me on this one.
Thank you for that.