I never know when I’m going to pop up. Last night on my Twitter feed, I suddenly saw myself in a split screen showing me in 2009 and then in 2012. Runkeeper was re-running the short story they did about me last year. I then saw that they had also re-cycled it on their Facebook feed.
I am assuming this is because of the story being re-visited - although I suppose it could just be a coincidence - but I received an e-mail from someone this morning asking – begging - for help. The person states that she has tried for YEARS to lose weight and has had some success at losing but has always gained it back and is the heaviest she has ever been. She is relatively young, but has health issues and is desperate to find a way to lose weight.
I recognized the pain and shame and utter despair in her “voice”. I have been there, felt that. This is not the first time that someone has come to me - I have had both strangers and people I know wanting to know how I did it. They want THE ANSWER. I wish - SO WISH - that I could just tell them the magic solution - the one that would allow them to “get it” and begin the process of fulfilling their weight loss dreams.
I wish this because I would love everyone to be healthy and happy with themselves. I also wish it because if I had THE solution I would be wildly rich
But I don’t have an easy answer - one that I can just explain to people and change their lives in an instant.
If it were easy everyone would be thin, right?
I wonder if - when people see that story about me - they have any idea how HARD it was and still is. People (ME INCLUDED) want things easy, I think. I wonder if people see pictures of me and think that giving up certain foods allowed the pounds to melt off and I decided to run and immediately and gracefully started running miles… If only that were true.
So I told this woman a harsh reality - it fucking sucks. There is NO EASY WAY to make it happen. If you want weight loss and improved health, you have to sacrifice. You have to give up foods that you love. You have to say no when you don’t want to. You have to stand around and watch others eat what you don’t. You have to plan your meals and watch your portions and PAY ATTENTION to what you eat rather than just eating. You can’t just go to a restaurant and order - you have to check out the calories in the meal before you order.
You have to exercise. And it hurts. I think there are some wackos out there that LOVE the feeling of their heart in their throat beating a million miles per hour and muscles aching and every fiber of the body screaming STOP. I am NOT one of those people.
Believe it or not I HATE exercise. I have NEVER gotten a runner’s high. I don’t relish the “me” time. I do it because I HAVE to if I want to be thin-ish and fit. I hate it less than I used to, but I still hate it.
As I told this woman - that is the bad news. But here is the good news - study after study shows that losing even a small amount of weight improves your health dramatically! So if you weigh 225 pounds, getting under 200 - even if you are still technically obese - makes you SO MUCH healthier.
And the rewards when you not only lose weight but start eating right and exercising? They are fantastic! Being able to wear cuter and more comfortable clothes. Your energy will increase. You will sleep better. Your skin will look and feel better. Your sex life will improve. You might be able to stop certain medications. You will be happier!
The other good news is to achieve small goals, you don’t have to change everything at once - I didn’t! What do you have the ability to change RIGHT NOW? Can you commit to walking 30 minutes 3 times a week? Can you set a goal to drink more water? Can you cut down eating desserts from 4 days a week to one? Can you eat out less? Can you park in the furthest parking space from the door when you go to the mall? Can you switch from white bread and pasta to whole grain? Can you commit to adding in more veggies to your meals? All of these little things start to add up. And you can and should be continually re-thinking your goals and re-assessing what is working and what is not.
I don’t have THE answer, but hopefully the suggestions I made will help her. And I hope I take my own advice!