A few months ago I wrote about working out and being obese. This is one of the obstacles about starting out at a higher weight, how to workout. I probably should have taken my own advice, because I suffered a pretty major knee injury recently. I was kind of devastated over it. Not because I wouldn’t lose as much weight (I can control that through what I eat) but because I got into this great habit of working out. Every single day I was at the gym or in the pool or both. I got down to a mile in just under 14 minutes. When I started I couldn’t even walk a mile and the 1/2 mile that I got up to when I first started took me around 30 minutes.
It might not seem like a lot, but for me, this momentum was huge. A few years ago I almost lost part of my leg to T2 diabetes, and there I was practically running, working out, and most of all ENJOYING it. I became one of “those” people. Now, I’ll remind you I’m still obese, I still have 100 pounds to lose. My body, while healed in many ways, but it still is healing. There are certain things that you should not really attempt while being obese, mainly, jumping. There is a lot of stress that you put on your body when you are overweight, and so things like lifting heavy weights, jumping, running might not be the best idea, no matter how good you feel at the time.
So this all leads me to the knee injury. I won’t get into details, but it’s not the best news, and right now, I can’t even swim. I can hobble. If hobbling were an olympic sport, I’d go home with gold. I joked with my Doctor when he gave me the news that he was dashing all of my olympic dreams, I will never be able to land the double back flip twist on the beam now! He wasn’t as amused as I was with myself.
The entire thing got me thinking about how many times in this journey it feels as though I’ve taken one step forward and one step back.
But then I had a realization. I’m not anywhere close to the person I was a few years ago. Every single day is a step in the right direction. Every single decision, food choice, every step from not being able to walk a mile to almost running one in under 14 minutes. That’s a lot of forward steps. I bought few new outfits this past weekend, a few sizes smaller than what I was wearing before. I can’t tell you when I dropped in sizes, just that it happened. I wake up every morning and have a bowl of oatmeal and fruit, that might not seem like a big deal, but a few years ago I would wake up make some eggs and cheese or drive to McDonalds and get breakfast meal. A few years ago I didn’t even know what kale was or how to make a meal without using oil. I didn’t know that dairy was extremely dangerous and I thought that eating at Wendy’s over McDonalds was a healthier decision.
I think we forget this in our journey, that it might not look like much day to day. We might not notice the small steps. We might not notice how we got from point A to point B. And I think it’s about time we start reflecting on all of those small steps. Today you might not be at your goal weight, your cholesterol might bot be perfect (yet) you might not be able to run a mile. But you are closer today than you were yesterday, even if it is by the smallest of steps. Today you might have slipped a few times, you might not be proud of all of your decisions, but you are still moving in the right direction, and that is what counts.
All I know is that today I am a different person than I was a few years ago. I still have a lot of steps ahead (ok, right now they are wobbly steps). But I am not the person I was a few years ago, and I’m incredibly happy for that. I don’t remember each step, just that I’m here, where I am right now, and I have a lot to look back on and say “wow, I’ve come a long way”.
And that is what I want to encourage you to do today. You might not have arrived yet (does anyone ever?) but even the choice to check out a healthy website today, a choice to not swing by a fastfood place, a choice to go for a walk, those are all steps forward. One day you will look in a mirror and notice a small difference, try something on you didn’t think would fit, you will be preparing a big huge salad for dinner, you will decide to walk rather than take the car, you will willingly go to a workout class, you will prepare a completely plant-strong holiday meal, your Doctor will call with the good news that your numbers look amazing! You might not remember ALL the steps that got you there, but I hope every so often, you take another look behind you to see all of the steps that you HAVE taken, and I hope that you are proud.
You’ve come a long way, even if you don’t see it.