It wasn’t much more than 12 years ago that I was on the path of being THE patient, instead of the Voice of the Patient. I’ll tell you what I mean:
Headed into the final year of grad-school, studying to be a PHYSICAL therapist (you might appreciate the irony), I weighed in at 260 lbs. To be clear, there was minimal muscle and my “athleticism” consisted mainly of watching others play sports. I was uncomfortable, winded from climbing a single flight of stairs, and knew something needed to change. There were also a number of other personal factors changing rapidly in my life at the time, which I won’t discuss in this forum, needing an outlet.
My resolution was to do something (an actual activity) that would make me sweat for 30 minutes every day (#sweat30). Having put the effort in to sweat, I didn’t want to torpedo it with poor eating, so I ate vegetables and other foods that were real (not processed, could be found somewhere in nature). Things were different within a very short period of time. It seemed that the more energy I expended, the better (read: less tired, more focused) I felt. Somewhere in there, I also discovered that I enjoy running, albeit slowly, so I set a goal to run a 10k.
Pounds were shed, especially at first, and I eventually made it to 180 lbs. A much more athletic 185 than the 260 of the start. 75 lbs! Essentially, I stopped carrying a 7th-grader on my back every day, all day. Goals were met and new ones were set. First it was the 10k, then a ½ marathon, and eventually a full marathon (disclaimer: I have never felt closer to death than when crossing that finish line). Now, I’m just working to lift heavier things & running shorter distances. The biggest, and most important change was that happening between my ears. I began to believe that I could be healthy and could hit the targets I was setting. It was very powerful & something that, once earned, can’t be taken away.
Please don’t read this blog entry and hear, “look at me,” or “look at what I accomplished.” First, nothing is accomplished in a vacuum. My faith and my family are solid and constant. Second, it’s not over yet. At 211 to start the summer & still holding that the cheeseburger is at the same time the most beautiful food invention ever & the most diabolical. Lots of stuff tried to get in the way of my Sweat30 plan – and is often successful. Mike Eisenhart’s brain-child, #SummerOfMOVE, has been super helpful getting this train back on track.
What I do want you to hear is that I have walked a mile in your shoes – and it may have counted toward my Sweat30 on more than one occasion at the beginning. It’s not easy. To make the change & commit to it, the old adage is true: The pain of staying the same must outweigh the pain of change. Also, there is support when it gets tough & it seems no one else is making the same changes you are.