Having chronicled my entire weight loss journey online has had many benefits, as well as a few drawbacks. The benefits are plenty - the verbal & photo documentation of my experience, the ability to capture and then relive the highlights as well as the lessons from the setbacks, having met readers who became real life friends, and somehow, without even meaning to, providing inspiration, encouragement and entertainment to others. Drawbacks are much fewer but include being very visible and as a result, so vulnerable to scrutiny and criticism.
The reason I'm bringing this up is because I want to talk about my current weight. I've mentioned in a few posts over the last year or so that I'm above my goal weight. I don't think I need to mention this often, as I feel it's obvious from photos. But I'll address it here, officially. Yes, I'm above my goal weight range. I haven't been within that range for about a year.
I know that if you’re a friend or loyal reader, this news will probably not come as a surprise, nor witll it
effect your opinion of me negatively. And I'm sure you wouldn't say anything mean or hurtful to me. I point that out because if or
when something similar happens to you, I want you to be just as kind to
YOURSELF. Forgive yourself. Do not say hurtful things to yourself. Think about what's going on and change it. But always love yourself.
So, how did this happen? Unfortunately, a little too easily. Before reaching goal, I spent my entire life abusing food and eating pretty poorly. I have a lifetime of unhealthy habits that are not entirely behind me yet. They may never be. I say all the time that I don't ever expect to be cured. I don't believe there is a "cure" for this condition. It's all about management and I simply haven't been managing it as well as I could have been. I knew when I reached Goal and Lifetime that the journey was not over, that I would need to work at this for the rest of my life. And I accept that. But I stopped being as diligent as I know I need to be. I let outside things get to me that I shouldn't have, and allowed myself to return to too many old behaviors too frequently. If I had to summarize, I’d say that I didn’t keep my priorities in order.
If you're wondering why I allowed that to happen, well, part of me is wondering that too. I’m not really sure I figured it out yet. Sure, I can blame things that happened TO me (situations/things in my life that were beyond my control) but the fact is I don't allow myself to think that way. I'm not a victim. No one made the decisions I did except me. The bottom line is that "things" happen to all of us. How we choose to react to them is all that we’re in control of. And I didn't always choose or react as well as I could have or should have.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I'm writing about all of this for a few reasons - first, because I thought I should address it since people occasionally ask in comments and because it’s part of my weight loss journey, so it belongs in my blog. But also because I think it helps others to see the reality -- that the journey doesn't end when you reach goal, and it's not easier because you're at goal. We have the same ups and downs after goal that we did before goal, but we just keep at it. Because it's not about being perfect. It never was, and I certainly never was! It's about patience, compassion and kindness. It’s about determination, perseverance, living life, having a good time, being healthy and making the better choice more often than not. It's figuring out how to create a new healthy lifestyle. One without shame, deprivation, negativity or abuse.
I also wanted to write about this because I get comments and emails from readers every single day - and the message is often something to the effect of how I inspired you in some way. It still boggles my mind to read some of the amazing things I hear from readers. When I hear the impact and effect my words or actions had on you to take a chance and try something new and healthy, I'm incredulous. I often think "Really? Me? I helped someone do that?!" I love that you share those things with me, thank you. It’s beautiful and amazing and sometimes difficult for me to even comprehend that I was in some way able to give you the confidence in yourself to take a chance and start to do something.
I mention that because since I’m not currently at goal weight, it can feel a little awkward hearing those things right now. For a brief moment, I think “But don’t they see I’m not at goal weight?” But then I put it back into perspective for myself and realize that being at goal weight is not the whole picture. I got there once and I can and will get there again. But I spent a whole lot longer *not* at goal weight than *at* goal weight and I still inspired many of you along the way. I believe it's my perseverance and determination - not me being "perfect" - that inspires many of you. So let this post inspire you too. Let it inspire you to see that no matter what, you never give up on yourself or your healthy lifestyle. Things may distract you from time to time - that’s part of life - but it’s never over unless you stop trying.
Know -- and accept!-- that there will be dead-ends and detours and dimly lit paths but the journey doesn’t end. You find another way. You keep going. Because even though there may be a few twists and turns and rough patches, those are few compared to all the great, exciting, awesome, life changing and wonderful parts of the journey. Never lose sight of how great your healthy new life is. Just pick yourself up and keep going. Vow to never give up. Because this is forever. I'm in it for the rest of my life and I hope you are too. :)
(In case you're wondering - I think I'm around 150 right now. And just to give you an idea what I look like, I took this on May 19th after the Brooklyn Half Marathon.)