Friday, July 10, 2009

The path to obesity

How did I get this way? Isn't that a question any person who is overweight, or struggling with some kind of addiction asks herself (or himself)? I sure did. About a year ago when I saw a picture of myself it was the thought that ran through my mind. 'Who was that fat person holding my niece?' It was me.

I thought about it again when we went to Virginia and I saw pictures, but I shrugged it aside. I had started jogging and could run the whole two miles on my route, things would change. I worked out in Virginia on vacation, I worked out when we came home, I worked out when we went to visit my family. I didn't necessarily enjoy running, but I enjoyed how I felt when I accomplished my whole run. I felt better, healthier, like I was really DOING something.

Then cold weather came, Thanksgiving rolled around and I stopped. I didn't like working out in the freezing weather, I never have. Then January rolled around and I sprained my ankle pretty badly at a wedding. I had to be on crutches for a week and an air cast splint thing for another two weeks and then, whenever I did extra activity, my ankle hurt and I just told myself it was better if I stayed off it. I babied myself, I gave myself excuses and I was my own worst enemy.

And then I weighed 205 lbs. I kept telling myself that it was okay as long as I weight less than 200 lbs. Like that much weight for my height wasn't such a bad thing. Liar.

Then 205 hit. I cried (I cry a lot) and I started a change. A change here, a change for my life, a change for me. And I cried again.

But it didn't just start a year ago. I didn't weight 155 a year ago and suddenly gained 50 lbs. It started when I wasn't healthy ten years ago.

The path to obesity doesn't ever happen overnight. We might wake up one morning and be saddened, disgusted or surprised by what we see in the mirror but it never is just *bam* you're fat.

I've been making bad choices about food and exercise for a long time now. I didn't play sports in high school or college and I didn't work out in any other way other than gym class but, even though I very slowly gained weight, it didn't matter. Everybody got a little bigger in high school as we grew into our bodies and I just ignored it.

My path came with no exercise other than walking to class and standing at work, and eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. Even when I started running last year I didn't change what I ate. I probably ate more because I told myself that I was working it off anyway when I ran. Who works off 1,000 calories from a McDonald's meal by running for 30 minutes? Not me. I must have thought I was the calorie burning version of the bionic woman.

In the last four years, it's gotten worse, but my path here has been a long one. That's why I'm so surprised that every day when I work out I think, 'Why haven't I lost more weight?' 'What am I doing wrong?' I have to remind myself that my path to obesity took ten years. It's not going to all come of in two weeks. I made little mistakes over that decade that added up to 50 lbs of weight, but I can make little improvements now that will help me lose it. In only a year too if I stick it out!

My path may be long, it may not be easy, but I keep reminding myself, again and again, that there's a sign on the road, every day there's a sign and it says "Reduction Ahead" and I just have to keep looking for it around every curve.

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