Way back when I was in college, during my sophomore year, I decided I was fat and needed to lose weight.
Okay, it wasn’t a new thought…I remember feeling fat from when I was 12.
Here I was at 12–along with the friends who helped me celebrate:
I remember a time when my mother announced I would weigh 140 lbs. when I turned eighteen. I was mortified. That number loomed over my like an indictment: I was going to be fat forever! (Incidentally, she was right!)
So there I was in my second year of college feeling totally pudgy and ugly. I had put on the “freshmen 15” and then some. I went to my family doctor on break and begged for help. He put me on an eating plan, gave me a diet pill, and told me to run a mile a day.
What? Pill, no problem. Food sacrifice, not crazy about it, but I figured I’d manage. But run a mile? Who are you kidding, doc? I didn’t think I could walk a mile, let alone run one. This might be impossible.
My roommate and I figured out sixteen laps of the gym was a mile. This was handy for the rainy, snowy, or cold days—so I wouldn’t have any excuse to not get my mile in. (I’ll save the whole cutting corners thing for another blog.) I also mapped a half mile on the back road to the college and struggled to “run” out and back on nice days.
I never timed myself, but I got pretty good at getting it done. I did everything I was supposed to and actually got down to 125 lbs. I got smaller clothes and a few looks from some handsome young men.
Fast forward forty years. The small clothes are long gone. I know there’s no magic pill worth taking. I’ve tried a zillion eating plans, and while they work for a while, I can’t stick to them (bars and shakes, shakes and bars). Why? I like food, and I’m addicted to sugar.
The only thing I’ve stuck with for longer than a blink is my dependence on my Fitbit. I used one hit or miss for a few years, and then in 2016 I got serious. Paying attention to my steps, stairs, sleep, and exercise has become routine for me—a healthy obsession. I like know what I’ve accomplished (someone else tracking), but I’ve also learned how to use it gracefully. I can take a day off and not freak out.
I’ve learned something else, too. I can run more than a mile. Ok, it may not look like “running.” It’s something between a fast walk and a jog: a wog, or jalking. But I get my heart beat up beyond target and I pass people as I go. I am 63, I feel good about it…about me.
How much more than a mile, you ask? Depends on the day and how much time I have. I’ve done as much as five miles. And every time I do, I punch “impossible” in the face.
What have you deemed impossible that might actually be doable? What things have you let other people decide are true about you, for you? What is in your heart that you have longed to do, but been afraid to try and fail? I didn’t wog five miles my first time out. I built up to it. It’s like the old saying, “how do you eat an elephant?” One bite at a time.
Typically we reach our goals, one step at a time.
What will your first step be?