40 Pounds in 40 Days

The real me. No cropping allowed. Oh yeah, and I’m sucking it in…

Yeah, right.  I’m not selling pills.  I don’t have a tried and true weight loss plan.  What I do have is 40 lbs to lose and let’s be honest, it’s going to take a lot longer than 40 days to lose them.

The struggle is real.

The Backstory

As a young 20-something-year-old woman I wrestled regularly with the idea that I might be “overweight”.  At one point in highschool I learned that a 5’4″ woman was supposed to weigh 120 lbs, based on a super-scientific chart that was handed to me one day in Physical Education.  The last time I weighed 120 lbs I was a child.  From that point on I always thought I was overweight.

Can I just say something right now?  Let’s stop doing that.  Everyone’s body, muscle mass, bone structure, hormone levels and everything else about them is different.  There isn’t a chart in the world that can tell someone their “perfect” weight.

That said, its stuck with me.  I feel like I am supposed to weigh 120 lbs.

Misguided Perceptions

I look back at pictures of myself when I weighed 135 and can’t help but think how healthy I looked then.  Yet, I know that at the time I’d stare at my stomach in the mirror and self-consciously suck it in to an uncomfortable level every time I sat down.

I’d look at other women on the street and wonder how they stayed so skinny.  I knew the magazines were unrealistic, yet everywhere around me people were thin and I was not.  At least I never felt that way.

There are times I wish I could grab my younger self by the shoulders and say, “Snap out of it!  You’re beautiful!”, but that’s just not how it works.

Real Life Weight Gain

Two children and a mountain of stress later, I’m looking in the mirror all over again.  As I stare at the person looking back at me, thankfully, at this stage in my life,  I see something beautiful, but that’s not the only thing I notice.

I’m overweight.

I’m off the chart and I know its true because my body hurts.  It’s not just about the reflection, it’s about the way I feel.  I’ll get past the stretch marks and the bags under my eyes from lack of sleep.  My hips?  They’re larger, and actually, I kinda like them that way.  But the weight?  It’s heavy.  It drags me down and drains all the energy I have left.  And this energy, all that I once took for granted, is more precious to me now more than ever.  I need it back.  So, no matter how long the road seems ahead of me, its time to do something about it.

No More Excuses

I have a goal.  145 lbs.  It might be 25 lbs over what somebody once told me I was supposed to weigh, but I know that once I reach it, I’m going to feel good.

When the day of reckoning came, when I finally got up the courage to get on the scale and see what kind of battle I had ahead of me, I have to admit, I was scared.

I had lost weight before.  I had watched the pounds drop on a chart on the fridge.  I had started to feel good, bought new pants and even celebrated.  But the weight, it came back.

A second pregnancy.  A move overseas.  A new job, new community, new everything.  There were so many excuses and although they were real, I wish they didn’t have to be.

I wish I had the self-discipline to stay away from food when I was stressed.  I wish I had the self-love to make taking care of myself a priority.  I wish I had the metabolism of a 14-year-old.

There are some things I can’t control, but I am learning there is a lot I can.

The Plan to Healthy

So I’m here, looking at 40 lbs to lose, and I’m going to do it.  I’m going to lose the weight and I am going to keep it off.  I’m going to chase my children up mountains and not have to stop before they do.  I’m going to feel good again.

As I sit here writing this post, I feel like I’m telling a secret.  I don’t like to tell people when I am working on losing weight.  It always feels like I am setting myself up for disappointment, like I’ll have to eventually explain why it didn’t work.  But this time, I don’t have a choice.  This has to work.  My children are growing and I have to keep up with them.  I can’t sit by on the couch any longer.  Its time to get up and do the work.  Its time to start feeling better.

Exercise, a healthy diet, those are the only real tricks I know, so I’m sticking to them.  We’ve got a trip to Yosemite planned for July and I can’t wait to see how my new body feels hiking up those mountains.  I’ve got a lot of work to do, but its going to be worth it in the end. What better motivation can there be than being able to hike on the top of the world with your children?

And what about you?  Have you struggled with losing weight that’s crept up on you?  What have you found as motivation to keep you going?  Please share some encouragement for us all in the comments below.