I’ve said it before, but starting out from a very high weight has made my particular weight loss journey seem never-ending at times. It even throws people off, when they find out how much I’ve lost, and then they look at me, clearly still overweight. On a recent trip, I was working on my Ipad. My screen was visible to the woman sitting across from me. Being that I was working, I had Engine 2 up on the screen. The woman casually poked her head closer to me, and said “Oh! I did that diet, I really liked it!” I smiled and before I could say anything she said “it’s a great diet, are you thinking about doing it?”
I smiled again and said, “actually I’ve been doing it, and interestingly enough I am headed to a conference this weekend to speak at one of their events.” She looked at me in disbelief at first, and then said “OH, as someone who is just starting?”
I told her I had lost a significant amount of weight so far, over 200 pounds, and have had a lot of other great success aside from that. She looked at me (obviously noticing that I am still pretty overweight) and she said “WOW! How did you get so large?!”
I turned to her and said “Must have been something I ate”
She gave a half hearted laugh, just before the announcement to turn off all electronic devices came on.
The thing is, I’ve often thought the same. How did I get to where I was? Me, the constant dieter who ended up topping the scales somewhere around 450lbs. I try not to dwell on it, and there are times in which I really have a hard time seeing all of the progress I HAVE made. My journey has had plenty of ups and downs. I remind people that success is never a straight line up, it’s a journey of twists, turns, ups and downs. The goal is progress, and the overall direction of where things are headed.
There are going to be days in which you feel as if you are stuck in the middle of a tunnel of chaos. It will feel as though it will never get better, and that you will never see the way out of the tunnel. I’m here to tell you that it’s ok. You might not feel like a plant-strong rockstar everyday. There might be days in which you question if it’s worth trying anymore. I’ve been there, many times in the past few years. There have been days in which I look in the mirror and I struggle to see any progress, days that I wish more than anything I could just fast forward to the end, whatever the end looks like.
However, recently I had this thought, what if I were to simply look at each day, each moment as a part of my new life? What if I were to embrace the tunnel of chaos, and just accept that even on the hard days, it’s always worth fighting for?
I think we forget how strong we are. Let’s face it, you have been through a lot in your life. Maybe it was leaving your home, or having children, maybe it was losing someone close to you, maybe you had a relationship fall apart. We have all been through our various tunnels in life, and I’m guessing that this one, the one to become a healthier person is just one of many. Sometimes, you have to remember how strong you were in all of those other circumstances. The battles you fought and won. The battles that seemed like you’d never get through them. It may not have been pretty, but you made it through a lot in your life. And you’ll make it through this.
Last week at our Engine 2 retreat, while giving my talk I was discussing how sometimes we don’t even recognize our own success. I know for me, I forget all of the things I HAVE accomplished on my journey. If you have a lot of weight to lose, sometimes it’s hard to see the physical success all the time. Think for a moment what you have done that you can be proud of. Maybe it’s that your numbers look great, your cholesterol or blood pressure is dropping. Maybe it’s just that you have more energy. Maybe it’s that you get out and are active more than you used to be. Perhaps it’s the food choices you are making. When you used to head to the drive-thru, maybe you are heading home to have a plant-strong meal. These are not small things. They all add up to you moving through your tunnel of chaos. With each small decision, you work your way through. It might not feel like that, in fact, it might feel far from that.
But then one day, there is a light, you see it off in the distance, it’s faint, maybe it’s flickering. But you get this little glimmer of hope, a sign that you are headed in the right direction. I had one of those moments last week at our retreat. I was giving my talk, and I decided to do something, well, crazy. I asked Rip to get in my pants.
Yep, you heard that right. And he was MORE than happy to!
I brought a pair of my old pants, they weren’t even the pants I wore at my highest weight. So Rip joined me on stage, and Jane (Rip’s sister) came up to help with our demonstration. And Rip and I did indeed get in my pants, and then, just for fun, Jane joined us.
It’s not everyday when you have 2 Esselstyn’s in your pants.
And that’s when it dawned on me, as all three of us stood in my old pants. I used to stand in those pants, all on my own. And the person I was then is not the person I am now. So much has been shed from the old me. Who would have guessed that a few years later I’d be standing in front of a group of people talking about my journey, joined by 2 of my heroes, standing in the place that I was once so miserable in?
It hasn’t happened overnight, and I still have progress to make, but right now? I see the flicker of hope, staring at the end of the tunnel, and right now, that is what I hold onto.
Rip, Jane and I – Pant-Strong!