Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

A Note Of Thanks To My Body

At my heaviest weight, I was 267 pounds. That was 15 years ago. Through the years, I dieted, stopped, exercised, stopped, dieted some more, and stopped again. Any of us who has a substantial amount of weight to lose can probably say the same thing. We rarely get it right the first time, or the second or the third time.

When I started on my latest and last fitness journey in 2008, I weighed 230.2 pounds the day I stepped on the Weight Watchers scale. I happen to know that I’d managed to drop about 5 pounds before then. I weighed 167.2 this morning. That’s 100 pounds from my heaviest weight to now.

Yesterday I ran 4 miles. Running 4 miles is something that I wouldn’t have attempted or believed I could do….ever. Certainly not when I was 267 pounds or 230 pounds. Not even when I was 18 and 140 pounds and in good physical condition.

I was on my way to personal training this morning with my friend Jen…there will more about her and her alternative approach to resistance training in tomorrow’s blog post…and I started thinking about how far I’ve come. I think about this a lot. It keeps me going.

And I realized that I am truly grateful for having been 230 pounds, even 267 pounds. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I do now. Our bodies are amazing. Amazingly loyal, and amazingly resilient. My body still carried me when I had 100 pounds more on it’s 5’4″ frame than I do now. And at 230 pounds when I decided to get fit this time, it let me walk first, and then run…and swim and bike.

Being morbidly obese comes with consequences. And make no mistake. I was morbidly obese. I got winded easily. I got tired easily. I had acid reflux and heart palpitations. I felt like crap. But I was able to keep going.

You would think there comes a point where the body just says, “Nope, not doing it anymore. Not moving from this spot until you start treating me better.” It seems to take a lot to get the body to that point.

Think about it. If you abuse another person, you end up in jail, or at the very least that person can be taken away from you. But if we abuse ourselves, and getting to the point of morbid obesity is personal abuse, even if it’s done slowly and with yummy sugary treats, the only consequences we face are personal.

I am grateful that I weighed 230 pounds. I abused my body, but it stuck by me. And when I was ready to start treating it right, it responded. With each step and each pound lost, my body has gotten stronger and rewarded me in ways I never imagined. I have energy. I feel great. Aches and pains are fleeting. My skin has retracted to fit my frame (for the most part).

I can tell you that if I’d stayed at a reasonable weight all of my life, I probably would never have started running. I wouldn’t have gone back to swimming. I wouldn’t have attempted triathlon. Why would I have had to?

I would have been normal sized but unfit. Because I weighed 230 pounds when I decided to get fit this time, I knew I needed to exercise and eat healthier to reach my goals. I’ve taken it slowly. I’ve had missteps. But my body sticks by me. And I’m encouraged to get stronger and healthier every time I look at myself in the mirror or run a longer distance.

So thank you body. At whatever weight, I couldn’t have done it without you.

And I promise this time it’s for good.

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When The Going Gets Tough…

I’m having a bad day. I woke up with a headache and I’m cranky. I was up .8 at weight watchers this morning for no apparent reason. Down yesterday on the scale, up today. Ah, the joys of being a girl. I miscalculated bill payments and I’m broke until payday tomorrow. I have a doctor’s appointment directly after work and then an appointment with my accountant directly after that. Did I mention I’m being audited by the IRS? Just one more thing to worry about. Ugh.

I am generally a positive, happy person. I take things in stride. I handle stress well. I am grateful for good things that happen to me or come my way. I’m generous where I can be and I’m a nice person. Really.

This, though, has been a tough year with one challenge after another after another. It seems we get one thing cleared up, and oh, here comes the next thing. I’m feeling a little picked on by the powers that be. What is it I’m supposed to be learning from all this stupid stuff? So, I’ve been feeling sorry for myself all day.

But, as with so many things we worry about day to day, most of the crummy stuff that has happened or is happening ends up turning out ok. It’s not perfect, but it’s not anything we can’t handle either. Seriously what’s the worst that can happen in this audit? I’ll owe Uncle Sam more money because I’m a lousy record-keeper? They’ll just have to wait in line like everyone else, cause I just don’t have it.

I’m spending my last few minutes of the workday trying to focus on the more positive side of my life and be grateful for all that I have been given and have accomplished in these past months. I have my health. I have my family. I have a job. I have a roof over my head.I have audit protection with my accounting firm, so while this IRS tax audit is going to be a royal pain in the butt, I don’t have to sit across the desk from a scary auditor looking at me like a criminal. My accountant gets to do that. And she’s better at it.

And so what I gained .8 at Weight Watchers today. I know this weight gain is temporary. As is all the crummy stuff that I have to go through. When it’s done, I won’t be going through it anymore.

And it’s Thursday… weigh-in day. So after all of the icky stuff I have to do tonight, I get to have pizza. I’m grateful for that.

The Privilege of Being Fit

West Meadow Beach, Long Island Sound

West Meadow Beach, Long Island Sound

Not too far from my house is a beach – West Meadow. It’s a small town beach on the Long Island Sound, which offers rocky shores and calm waters. There’s a great playground and when my children were small, it was the perfect way to spend a summer day.

The cool thing about this area though was not so much the town beach as the mile and a half stretch of road just past it. That was dotted with about 20 beach cottages positioned right on the beach. They didn’t even have running water. As a young girl, my aunt’s parents owned one of these cottages and I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of weeks living on the beach, sleeping on a screen porch and fetching fresh water from the well up the road a piece. Salt water ran through the pipes.

Two years ago, the town took the land back and razed the cottages amidst outcries from the owners and those of us who while we didn’t live there, loved the step back in time that little stretch of road offered. I know as an adult, whenever I was having a bad day or just needed a break, I’d take a drive down the little road to the end where there was a jetty and a glorious little inlet and tiny island in the sound. When the county took over the land, it promised that there would be no building there (we were all worried about condominiums) and it would be turned into a nature preserve. So far they have kept their word.

For me though, this created a dilemma. The road was closed. I couldn’t get to my favorite spot anymore. I wasn’t in any shape to walk the mile and a half and then back again, on the beach or on the road. I’d attempted it a couple of times, but could never make it the whole way.

Since the beginning of summer, since I’m now in good enough shape where this would be no problem, I’ve been wanting to walk/run on the beach and on the road to this little spot. The weather has not cooperated in the Northeast. At least, not until today.

This morning, I had planned to swim, but I got up a little late. It’s a perfect day here on Long Island: sunny, not too humid, low 70s. I decided to drive up to the beach, walk to the end and jog back. As of this morning, I didn’t know how far that would be. Some kind soul on roller blades let me know that the stretch was about a mile and a half. Cake.

I walked along the beach, past the piping plover nesting sanctuaries, watching the boats in the sound and just listening to the lapping waves and the birds. When I found a path, about a mile in, I scooted up to the road. I didn’t bring my iPod today, which allowed me to just embrace the sounds and smells of this now peaceful nature preserve. I made it to the end of the road, and I was greeted by the gorgeous inlet, soft breeze and incredible views that I remembered from three years ago. I felt like I was on vacation and could have stayed there all day. I stayed for a bit, sat on the jetty and considered how fortunate I am to have the strength and fitness level to get there.

I jogged back. By then, lots of people were walking, biking and rollerblading on the path.

It was the perfect way to start the day. I am so grateful that I’ve finally embraced a healthy, fit lifestyle and that I’ve been able to come as far as I have. I will keep that with me when I don’t feel like exercising in the future.  Think of what I was missing before.

Headed up to the Path

Headed up to the Path

Life Is Good

cloudyskyI dragged my butt out of bed this morning at 5:45 to go running. It looked so gloomy again outside. If you follow my blog at all or live in the Northeast, you know that Seattle has actually moved here. It has done nothing but rain for what feels like the last two months. I stuck my head out the door to check — no rain, just swirly black clouds. I put on the TV to check the weather because I didn’t want to get  caught in a downpour— no rain, just swirly black clouds. I headed out. When it’s not raining on Long Island these days, it’s humid because it’s about to rain. I realized this morning though, that this is the perfect running weather. Warm enough and the cloud cover kept the sun from making it too warm. Add a gorgeous cool breeze that at first, while I thought it would slow me down, ended up being just the thing to keep me going.

Running is still not easy for me. I don’t think it ever will be. But I do have moments now where I get in the flow, it feels natural and before I know it, I’ve gone quite a distance without feeling like stopping. I feel like I’m in the zone. And those moments are getting longer as I get better at this running thing. I get why runners run too. Because those moments feel really good.

When I finish my run, I always feel great. Endorphins? I checked the time, paced at about 11:30 per mile (2 and a half miles), grabbed my water and went out on the back deck to stretch a little. Today I kept my iPod on to listen to the next song while I was stretching. There was still that fabulous breeze, which felt amazing since I was hot and sweaty.

I took a moment to sit on the deck after stretching this morning to enjoy the breeze and the clouds and the music. It’s quiet and peaceful in my neighborhood at 6:30 in the morning, and I could have stayed in that moment all day.

It was then that I realized how lucky I am. I am lucky that my body has allowed me to push it like this when I decided it was time, even though I’m 50. I’m lucky that I’m relatively healthy and getting healthier every day. I’m lucky I woke up and found the motivation to get this whole thing started. And I’m lucky that I have people in my life who support me no matter what.

My life is far from perfect, but this morning, soaking in the breeze, I realized it’s pretty damned good.