The never-ending journey

16 10 2015

I’ve been through this before.  I’ve been at this spot more times that I probably should have been.  It begs the question; why?  Why have I reached this accomplishment so many times in the past.  It’s because there was always an end in sight.  I reached that end, and I moved on from the activity; never really understanding that there shouldn’t be an end.

Today was the last day of Insanity MAX 30.  It’s a 2 month exercise program that is full of some very intense cardio.  In the past, I have completed various workout programs like this.  I finished the last day and felt an overwhelming sense of accomplishment in what I had completed.  Today though, I don’t get that feeling.

I think the difference is that I don’t want to stop.  Previously, I would have gone out and ate a giant burger as a celebration. (Perhaps I will still do that today).  And come Monday I would say to myself, now what.  I finished it, I don’t really want to do it again.  So now what.  Sleep in.  Eat more snacks.  And fall back into the same awful habits I had.  And in 2 years be right back where I was this last July.  The hardest part of this entire journey is the realization that it isn’t a journey.  It truly is about changing your lifestyle.  There isn’t a ‘1 more week left until I can eat all the carbs and sugar I want!’ anymore.  Granted, I will probably slowly start adding some of those snacks back into my life.  A bowl of ice cream, or a beer during the Seahawks game.

The key to this entire thing is staying active.  In my head, I don’t want to gain the weight back, and it scares me a little bit knowing that my current weight is probably not sustainable.  I will gain some weight back (especially since I am doing more of a weight lifting workout for the next 4 weeks), and I have to be okay with that.  I tell myself that nothing is changing.  I am going to continue eating the same meals I have been.  Changing up the workout a little bit to T25 Gamma, which has a focus on weightlifting instead of cardio.  But those ‘eat whatever you want’ demons are starting to surface again, and I worry that I will fall back into the same eating patterns.

The single most important factor to my success thus far has absolutely been my wife.  Without her determination, I would not have achieved these results so quickly.  The meal planning is probably the hardest part, something we have tried in the past and could not wrap our heads around.  This time though, we got it.  And it worked.  She is always finding ways to healthy alternatives.  Whether it be using zucchini or butternut squash as noodles in pasta and lasagna, or using Greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute.  She would set a bowl of food down for me, and say this meal is 300 calories.  It’s a giant meal!

I want to say this.  Body shaming is an awful thing to do.  I would not have considered myself obese by any stretch, but body shaming does not just happen to people who are overweight.  Everyone has a struggle with their body in some form that you know nothing about.  You don’t know what I went through.  You don’t know where I started.  I had someone comment to me, ‘you can eat more than carrots you know, you’re plenty skinny.  Stop eating so healthy, you’re making the rest of us look bad.’  Look, I don’t criticize you for eating what you eat (and I’m not going to here), and I expect that you won’t criticize me for eating what I eat.  Do you think I just went to sleep last night and all that weight went away?  I worked my ass off (quite literally) to get to this point.

Yes, I am probably under weight at the moment.  But that doesn’t mean I am going to suddenly eat a bowl of nacho cheese dip.  I worked hard to get to where I am.  Now, some adjustments will be made to go from weight loss mode to maintenance mode.  But I’m not going to revert my diet back just because you think I can suddenly eat whatever, whenever.  Sure, some people are naturally skinny, or can very easily lose weight.  But that’s not a norm.  People work really hard to lose weight, and they shouldn’t be discredited for their work just because they changed their eating lifestyle.  I will never offer my opinion on what you eat unless you ask for it.  Just because someone is skinny, doesn’t mean that they didn’t have their own struggles or work hard to get there.  And just because someone is over weight, doesn’t mean that they aren’t trying.  Everyone has their own way of dealing with this stuff, and it’s none of your business unless they bring you into it.

There isn’t a finish; that’s the key point I keep trying to tell myself.  Next Monday is just like any other Monday.  I finished one milestone.  Monday starts another one, which I will also complete.  And then start another.  I started this journey on July 6th.  15 weeks ago.  3.5 calendar months.  I started at 198.7 pounds.  Today I finished this program at 159.4 pounds.  That is a 39.3 pound weight loss.  I have been fluctuating around the 40 pounds mark all week.  Part of me wanted today to surpass that, but I know this is a great accomplishment regardless.  Next up is actually trying to gain some muscle back.  I know that will increase my weight, which is (mentally) something that I will have to deal with as it happens.  The next program, T-25 Gamma, is 4 weeks long and focuses more on weightlifting.  So I’ll re-evaluate my experience at that point and adjust as necessary.

Thanks for all the support so far from friends and family.  This isn’t just a journey about losing weight.  It’s a journey about changing my lifestyle.  I’ve been successful in losing a lot of weight, now the actual challenge begins in being able to maintain it.