Take a walk with me
Today I really just want to imagine that you and I are going on a walk together, and catching up on all the things going on in our lives. Unfortunately, I’m the only one who can talk in our current (online) scenario, so I guess I’ll talk and you’ll listen.
So let’s set the scene. It’s my imagination, so I get to pick the place. Picture a beautiful wooded trail. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and a slight breeze is blowing. We can hear the crunch, crunch, crunch of our feet as we set out on the trail, and we have all the time in the world. Got it?
Here are a few of the things I would like to share with you.
I’ve lost 50 pounds
After six months of truly healthy, balanced living, I’m halfway to my goal weight. I haven’t dieted. In fact, I don’t really like the word diet, because that implies that what I am doing is something temporary. I have tried to make true lifestyle changes that are sustainable. I am living in the middle. Not in the extreme of either dieting or binging—but in the middle of a healthy, balanced life.
In the beginning I obsessively counted calories.
Counting calories truly helped me learn how to have correct portion sizes, and how to make good calorie choices. Read more about that here. But I haven’t counted calories for the last three months. Trust me—I read the labels and I know exactly what I am putting into my body every time I eat. I also eat much smaller portions than I did during my decade of unhealthy living. But I try to balance out my day: if I have a rich meal in the morning, I try to eat more lean for the rest of the day.
I have come to obsessively need exercise
If I don’t get some form of exercise during the day, I feel a little crazy inside. Although running is my preferred form of exercise, I have learned to incorporate other things into my routine. Biking, hiking, yoga, running. These are my top four activities. Exercise has gone from something I loathed with every fiber of my being…to something I need with every fiber of my being. You can read more about that transformation here.
I’ve stopped shopping in the “plus” section
Hardly anything in my closet fits me anymore. I put it off as long as I possibly could—but by the time my belt was actually too big for me, I knew it was time to buy some new clothes. It was amazing the first time I bought pants in a “normal” size. I found it almost difficult not to hide in the plus section and surreptitiously choose a pair of pants, hoping and praying those pants would look okay on me when I got home. Instead, I chose a pair of pants and tried them on IN THE STORE (something I haven’t done in at least ten years). I felt like I rocked those pants 😉 but now (one month later) it’s about time to downsize again. They are falling down on me unless I use a belt.
I bought a summer bathing suit and I didn’t hate it
I know that sounds like faint praise, but it’s actually a huge step for me. Bathing suit shopping has been the bane of my existence for a decade, because my family actually spends quite a lot of time at the lake during the summer. So a bathing suit is a must. And I have HATED the way I looked in a bathing suit for ten years. To NOT hate the way I look in a bathing suit is a huge step in the right direction.
I run in shorts now
Again, it doesn’t sound like a huge deal here…but it is. Trust me—it is. My favorite shorts are Lululemon compression shorts. They stay put, don’t ride up, don’t chafe, and actually have pockets on the side. Basically, they’re a little piece of spandex heaven.
People are starting to notice and comment on the changes
This is really nice, and I am so thankful that people are considerate enough to give me a compliment. But it’s funny how…uncomfortable I feel every time it happens.
I’m not sure why.
Maybe I’m uncomfortable with people telling me I look beautiful now, because I’m the same person now that I was fifty pounds ago. Right? I may look different on the outside, but I’m still me. I’m still Jamie.
I’m not the same
But one thing I’m starting to realize is that I’m not the same. I have new habits, new dreams, new goals, and a new outlook. I used to feel like a failure every time I looked in the mirror, because I had so much extra weight that I was carrying and was unable to lose. Now I look in the mirror, and I feel pride. Not because I‘ve lost weight. Not because I’m perfect—because I am only halfway to where I want to be. There are still lots of bumps and lumps on my body that I want to be rid of.
But now I can look at those bumps and lumps and feel resolve and pride that I am strong enough to change the things about myself that I don’t like. I am strong enough to accept the things about myself that I cannot change. And I am strong enough forgive my body for its “failures;” I have learned to feel love and pride in this body that has taken care of me for all of these years.
I am strong
The biggest difference between the old me and the now me…is strength. Strong muscles, strong mind, strong resolve. I am strong, even though six months ago I was very weak. But every day for six months I have chosen the path of health. I have chosen to keep going even when it hurts. I have chosen to push through even when I haven’t seen immediate results. Sometimes I received a tremendous amount of encouragement from others, and sometimes people tried to convince me that I should do things differently. Their intention was not to discourage me, but it WAS discouraging. But I am strong…because I have learned to draw from the strength God gives me when I feel weak. I have learned to listen to the inner voice that tells me I can do this, rather than depending on other people to be strong for me.
I am strong, because I have persevered, even when I am not perfect.