When a person makes a decision to lose weight there seems to be a natural progression that takes place. We tend to take the path of least resistance and start with making healthier food choices. We cut back on things like pizza and ice cream, trim down our portions, and opt for fruits and vegetables over processed convenience foods. This is an excellent start and we tend to see progress.
As time passes we realize that if diet alone is helping us lose weight, imagine how much better it would be if we incorporated some exercise. I started slow, going for walks around the neighborhood with my daughter, and watched the weight come off a bit faster.
My mindset began to change and I looked forward to the my walks. A mile or two over my lunch break, upwards of five miles on the weekends. It stopped being a tedious activity that I did to lose weight and turned into something I truly enjoyed.
The more time I spent focused on living a healthier lifestyle, the more things evolved. Walks were peaceful but they weren’t challenging enough. I replaced walking with running and was quickly humbled by my lack of fitness.
I remember my first run like it was yesterday. I hopped in my car and drove about a mile to the head of a local rail trail. At the time I didn’t have running shoes so I made sure my trail hiking shoes were laced up good and tight. I put my ear buds in and set off at a slow trot.
I wanted to start off slow and my one and only goal was to jog down to the first crossing about a half mile down the trail. My confidence surged after the first few steps and I really felt like I could do it! I don’t think I managed a quarter mile before my lungs were burning and I had to slow to a walk.
Refusing to give up, I walked for a bit before speeding up to a slow trot. Pulling in stinging breaths, I trudged on until my feet began to ache. I slowed to a walk again and repeated the process. I covered a mile that day and when I got back into my car I was streaked in sweat, my feet were killing me, and the sharp pain in my shins was intense.
Despite that first run being a miserable experience, I stuck with it. Over time I was able to run from one end of the rail trail to the other and back again without slowing to a walk. To some people 3.5 miles isn’t much but I earned every step and was proud.
I wish I could tell you that I stuck with it, increasing my distance over the last couple of years, but that isn’t the case. I’ve had an on again off again relationship with running. Life has thrown me a few curve balls, my interests have changed, and I’ve fallen off the healthy lifestyle wagon more times than I care to admit.
In spite of all that, I enjoy being active. I won’t allow setbacks to fester and keep me from driving forward to become a healthier and stronger person. I’m a very long way from reaching any sort of goal weight but I’m allowing myself to enjoy the ride.
If you take anything from this blog post, let it be that setbacks are inevitable. Life will get busy, injuries will happen, and you may even fall of the wagon for a while. Don’t get hung up on how far you have fallen. Instead, realize what you’re capable of and begin that climb back to a place where you were confident and proud.
Look on the bright side, you’ve been down this road before. Chances are good that you’ve learned a few things along the way that will make you even stronger this time.