Friday, August 14, 2015

On failure…

Many years ago I remember briskly walking on a trail near my house.  I was having a BURST of motivation.  "This is it!" I told myself.  "I'm going to DO IT this time!  I will lose weight and be fit and my life is going to be great!!" I marched on that trail smiling, knowing that I HAD THIS.

I had always been fat my whole life.  In elementary school the book "Blubber" by the wonderful author Judy Blume had come out.  It didn't take long for me to be cornered by a couple of girls, pinched, and told to call myself "Blubber".  I kicked one of the girls as hard as I could and they backed off, settling for whispering staring and laughing.

In middle school, my pediatrician told my mother to put me on a diet.  I opened my lunch bag to cottage cheese and lettuce as the other kids ate their pizza from the school lunch and felt sorry for myself.  I think I lost some weight, but I was hungry ALL THE TIME and it wasn't long before I was sneaking food and feeling ashamed but eating it anyway.

I continued to gain weight in high school making a couple half assed attempts to lose weight without any success.  I was the fat funny girl and was pretty popular in certain cliques so I rationalized I was just " chubby". I met Marc and we became inseparable - he was attracted to me and so I was okay.

In college, I started drinking COPIOUS amounts of Mountain Dew, eating greasy pizza all the time and visiting the on campus ice cream shop with friends.  Then my roommate and I decided we were both getting way too fat, so we started visiting the fitness center, eating salads (for me DROWNED in creamy Italian dressing) and doing aerobic videos in our dorm room.

It didn't last.

Countless vows and promises to myself later I found myself on that trail, absolutely COMMITTED to changing my life.  So I resolutely walked and started to eat better - even not buying cookies when I went grocery shopping.  And then one day I didn't walk.  And I bought those cookies and that PROMISE to change my life was forgotten.

I gave up.

I started this job where they had team weight loss challenges and my coworker asked me to team up with her - I refused and made an excuse.  And she asked again at the next challenge 6 months later and I admitted I wasn't "ready".  But what I KNEW with every single fiber of my being is that it wasn't possible for me to lose weight.  I had tried SO MANY times and failed miserably every time.  I hated myself - HATED that I was a worthless fat cow who had absolutely no self-control.

I couldn't buy normal clothes or fit into booths at restaurants.  It was - I believed - my fate.

And then one fateful spring I started to make some changes.  I lost 30 pounds and couldn't believe I had done it.  I was still fat, but a few months later a coworker took me aside and whispered to me that I needed to buy some new clothes because mine were hanging on me.

I hadn't made any vow to change my life.  I didn't have a doctor remove some defective part of my brain.  I didn't take a magic pill.  A magic fairy didn't wave her wand over me.  No - I just changed and suddenly had what I had always wished for.

So my point is this - most people fail in making radical life changes.  And for everyone who succeeds they usually have failed MANY MANY times before they get it.  Whether it is weight loss or sobriety or quitting smoking it is hard.  The road is paved with obstacles and setbacks and failures.  But it is never too late.

I sometimes feel like giving up.  But then I remember that losing battles does not mean the war is over.  Victory can be found.
So if you are like I was – if you think your fate is engraved in stone, let me assure you – it is not.

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