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The Daily Beet: Tips, Advice and Stories

One Step Forward.

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.

 

About the author

NatalaE2
Natala is the director of communications for Engine 2 Diet, she is also one of our coaches on our support site, Engine 2 Extra. A few years ago, Natala was at the end of her rope. She was on almost 15 medications daily, had out of control Type 2 Diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, issues with nerve damage, and was morbidly obese. She was just over 30 years old. She decided to take her life back by becoming plant-strong. She has lost over 200 pounds, got off of all of her medications and now has great health numbers. Natala plays the violin and studied music therapy. She became passionate about plant-strong nutrition, received her Certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition through Cornell University, a certificate in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and is currently pursuing a degree in nutritional sciences. Natala is also a featured speaker at our Engine 2 Retreats she talks about the reality of our nations obesity epidemic as well as providing practical steps to becoming a healthier person.

20 Responses to “One Step Forward.”

  1. Wendy@healthygirlskitchen says:

    LOVE, love, love this blog post Natala!!!!!!! I am always waivering between beating myself up and then remembering to give myself praise for how far I have come. It is a continual struggle, but better with a community of people who can be honest about it all.

  2. JenO says:

    Right on Natala.. Thanks for reminding us that baby steps are so important in our journeys!

  3. Cynthia says:

    good post!

  4. SUCH a great message :) So important to keep in mind. Great post, Natala :) You’re an inspiration.

  5. Quinta Peterson says:

    You are an amazing and gifted writer. Your positive attitude is contagious! Thank you for continuing to share and inspire! Heal soon!

  6. Sheila Z says:

    This was a post I needed to hear. Down almost 50 pounds this summer with 150 more to lose. Some days I can get pretty discouraged when my back acts up and I feel like I haven’t gotten anywhere. Then I remember how much better my blood sugar numbers are and how the skin on my elbows and ankles is soft and smooth (it used to crack and bleed). Yeah, I’m getting better and by next year I’ll be even healthier. The way I was eating before I would have been dead in a couple of more years.

  7. elana says:

    I thought I posted something…where did it go? I am right there with you, sprained my toe last week and haven’t been able to jog. It is frustrating when we can’t do what we want! My dad has a special laser that speeds up healing. I will ask him what the name is and maybe a dr. in your area has it.

  8. This is a wonderful, compassionate post from someone who has “been there.” It will surely be uplifting to many people. Job well done!

  9. Every single time you post, Natala, I am inspired! Every. Single. Time. Thank you so much for sharing your story and life lessons with us. I’m incredibly grateful!

  10. Debbie C in MN says:

    Great job! I really needed to hear this today. I am just starting on this journey and each day brings its own challenges but it helps to know that I am not alone. Thanks!

  11. Way to stay positive! Get well soon! :)

  12. Holley Digby says:

    Natala, you are an inspiration. This post encouraged me. You have accomplished so much and are helping others. Thanks!

  13. Thank you for your heartfelt thoughts. You helped me with a more positive perspective. I try to remember “baby steps” but usually end up feeling really down on myself because I can only remember my slip ups or my lack of action not my accomplishments so far on my journey. I will keep your words as a reminder….one foot in front of the other.

  14. Janna says:

    Are you speaking at the immersions?

  15. What an amazing journey! Keep taking steps!

  16. Margaret says:

    You are an inspiration to me and all others who struggle with their weight! I see that often I don’t remember where I’ve been and forget to put myself down instead of looking at each day as a day forward. Thanks for your words- you have lifted my spirit to fly!!!

  17. Jenny says:

    This post really resonates with me. I’m not anywhere near obese, but I’m far from happy with my body. I’m 5’4″ and weigh 115 pounds. While that sounds awesome, it doesn’t say anything about my body composition. It seems like I have so much extra body fat and excess skin (even though I’m only 23), after losing around 40 pounds since I started running cross country and track when I was 16. I also ran in college, and have completed a marathon, an IronMan70.3, and am training for two more 70.3, another marathon, and a full IronMan. I’ve been more diligent about strength training than I ever was in high school or college, and still I don’t have the muscle tone I see on so many of my athletic peers.

    Part of my problem is that although I eat in a healthy way most of the time (I’ve been a vegetarian for almost four years and an on-again-off-again vegan for a year), I have a tendency to get discouraged easily with how I look, and then I take off on a binge. Even if it’s a binge on something moderately healthy, say Kashi Go-Lean Cereal, it’s still a binge. It’s often difficult for me to look at all the work I’ve put into being healthy for so long, and still not see the results I want. I lose track of the fact that even though I may not look how I want, I’m still doing wonderful things for my health. I need to remember that every time I choose not to give in to those feelings, every time I go for a run, bike, or swim, I’m making steps in the right direction, even when it seems like those steps are on a treadmill, never taking me anywhere, they still represent progress.

  18. Jenny says:

    This post really resonates with me. I’m not anywhere near obese, but I’m far from happy with my body. I’m 5’4″ and weigh 115 pounds. While that sounds awesome, it doesn’t say anything about my body composition. It seems like I have so much extra body fat and excess skin (even though I’m only 23), after losing around 40 pounds since I started running cross country and track when I was 16. I also ran in college, and have completed a marathon, an IronMan70.3, and am training for two more 70.3, another marathon, and a full IronMan. I’ve been more diligent about strength training than I ever was in high school or college, and still I don’t have the muscle tone I see on so many of my athletic peers.

    Part of my problem is that although I eat in a healthy way most of the time (I’ve been a vegetarian for almost four years and an on-again-off-again vegan for a year), I have a tendency to get discouraged easily with how I look, and then I take off on a binge. Even if it’s a binge on something moderately healthy, say Kashi Go-Lean Cereal, it’s still a binge. It’s often difficult for me to look at all the work I’ve put into being healthy for so long, and still not see the results I want. I lose track of the fact that even though I may not look how I want, I’m still doing wonderful things for my health. I need to remember that every time I choose not to give in to those feelings, every time I go for a run, bike, or swim, I’m making steps in the right direction, even when it seems like those steps are on a treadmill, never taking me anywhere.

  19. Debbie G says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for your post. I’ve stopped and started making healthy food choices more times than I can count. So here I go again, one healthy choice at a time. Bless you on your journey! You are worth it!!

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