Some days it feels like just yesterday that I started this health journey. 280 pounds and feeling as though I would never make it out of the state I had set myself in. Diet after diet and nothing seemed to work. When would the moment happen? The click that “they all talk about” when something would finally work?
And yet, somehow, this last grasp for help worked. I say it a lot, but I am still so very thankful to Jen Ramirez for sharing with others what she learned and helping women attack not only the physical but mental aspect of weight loss. That this was a marathon not a sprint. Yet, as a fairly sedentary person, I never fully understood that statement. Now as a marathoner, I understand it unlike I never thought I would.
So why does this year feel a bit more significant then the last few? This last year I turned my focus from weight loss to other things. I can look at you and say “I am exactly the same weight today as I was 365 days ago. But I am a much healthier person and so much has changed.” And know that this is a true statement. I maintained my weight for an entire year. I spent the early part of last year working on strength. And would you believe me if I told you that I gained (at least) five pounds of muscle. I even have the numbers to prove it, not that I need to prove it to anyone.
I turned my focus from losing more physical mass to gaining strength and running stronger. I accomplished a running PR every single month this last year. I took 47 minutes off of my marathon time, which is rare. Except this types of big PR’s have been my normal this last year. I ran my fastest mile in 8:32 and a 5k in 28:41. Incredible accomplishments that happened once I shifted my focus from weight loss to fitness gains. You don’t gain five pounds of muscle in a few weeks. I took five months of hard work to get these kinds of results. You don’t get faster in running just by simply running faster. You have to train in a certain way to gain speed or else you will end up getting hurt.
And when I look at the reality that weight loss took a back burner this year, I could not be happier. I have spent so much of my life focusing on a number on the scale when I should have focused on everything else my body was doing. I worked with a new dietitian this last year who is an amazing person and one that I can relate to on a whole new level. And they have helped me see this new aspect of my health journey. We have set up healthy boundaries that allow me to still live my life and redirect my focus where I see fit depending on the season I happen to be in. I don’t think I would have shifted my mindset as much as I have if I didn’t start working with her this past year.
The greatest aspect of all of this is knowing that accomplishing four years of success is just the beginning. I am crossing over to an aspect of this journey that statistics tell us not many cross into. That when you maintain your weight loss for 2-5 years you are significantly more likely to keep it off long term versus those who lose and regain within the first two years. And that makes me think back to the days leading up to this change. When I didn’t know if this would stick, but I was willing to try any way. It goes to prove that if we let the fear of the unknown stop us from taking chances we would never move forward in our lives.
So here I am, four years into this journey. Continuing to put myself first year day before I help others. Finding new things that I love to do and setting goals to accomplish along the way. Knowing that eventually everything about weight loss does stop and the focus shifts. Knowing what the different seasons look like, and when to gain strength and mass for a purpose and when to shift that focus to reach my final goal of weight loss.
I know that year five will be another great year. It will be one where I go after my final weight loss goal of being under 200 pounds for the first time in my adult life. It will be one where I chase more running PR’s and see how much more I can push my body. And it will be one where I learn more about what maintenance looks like on this side of a weight loss journey. Keeping in mind that I am not alone and nothing is linear. This is a journey after all, and every day is a new aspect of it. But one thing I do know is this: The best is still to come. Regardless of what it might be. So here is to year five, to loving myself more, to continuing to be my best self, and to learning more about what this journey means and the impact it continues to have on my life. Happy anniversary friends.
Until next time
-Be Fearless, Go Boldly