Losses & Gains

This fitness journey has been such an interesting experience.  I can honestly say that it’s the first time in my life that I’ve actively tried to improve my health for this length of time (almost a full year).  I don’t know why I never tried before, except that I was definitely in denial of how much I needed to.  I think a lot of this can be traced back to the running bug that I caught in early 2011, when I first decided I would try to run a 5k.  But I didn’t really reach a tipping point until exactly 1 year ago when I ran my first 10k.  Following that achievement, I realized I wanted to do more, and that I needed to make some changes in order to get there.

This process has been slow, and not always consistently forward-moving.  At first, I thought I could achieve my goals just by exercising more.  While that certainly didn’t hurt me, it wasn’t going to get me there.  Then, I thought really small dietary modifications would be enough.  That was how I lost the first half of my weight in 8 months.  Then I finally resigned myself to a full effort and I have been reaping the rewards of that decision.  And that was how I lost the second half in the past three months.

One thing I have found quite interesting about this is the comments and compliments I have been getting from the people in my life.  Because I didn’t lose weight drastically, there wasn’t a shock-and-awe factor.  However, it’s undeniable that people have started to notice and comment.  I always have mixed feelings about those conversations.  First, any compliment seems like such a small reward in terms of the amount of work I have put into this.  Second, I have trouble differentiating the compliment from the implication that if I look great now, I must have looked awful before.  Third, I struggle when one of my friends who is less fit than I currently am pays me a compliment, because I feel guilty about my success.  And finally, the amount that I have currently lost only represents about half of the total weight I want to lose, so I try not to get too excited about the compliments because I don’t want to rest on my laurels.

Instead of focusing on how much weight I have lost, I prefer to focus on what I have gained.

1. I’ve gained speed in my running.  Just since this summer, I have gone from almost 13:00/mile to just over 11:00/mile.
2. I’ve gained a passion (obsession?) for running, such that I am actually disappointed on days I can’t get a run in.
3. I’ve gained strength and flexibility through my cross-training, especially the ability to do certain yoga poses.
4. I’ve gained some additional articles of clothing in my wardrobe, to fit my new shape.
5. I’ve gained holes on my belt (that I punched myself as a point of pride).
6. I’ve gained a small degree of “photogenicity” in that I am less likely to hate every photo of myself.
7. I’ve gained physical self-confidence.

Basically, these changes in my life are accompanied by lots of emotional strings.  I’m happy my friends are noticing my efforts, but caught up in the subtext.  I’m proud of myself, but humbled by my long-term goals.

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