Enough was enough! I was tired of the yo-yo I had been on for so many years. Up a few pounds, down a few pounds…only to return. I’m sure there are many who can relate to this circle of accomplishment and failure…achievement and defeat! I was finally done with it!
It was 2 1/2 years ago, a year before my 54th birthday. I had finally gotten my head around it and had given myself a goal, a realistic goal, of one year. I said to myself, “By my 55th birthday I will be in the best shape I have ever been in”. And so my health, fitness and weight-loss journey began.
I had cut my calorie intake by about 2/3 and started going to the gym. I recalled how I had been eating whatever my heart desired, in recent years, now aware that most of it was eating out of boredom and emotional ups and downs. At first I started out slowly… 3 days a week and before too long was going 4-5 days a week. Upon trying out the elliptical machine for the first time, which I’ve nicknamed the Monster, I could barely continue for one minute. Eventually I progressed to 40 minutes! It was slow going but every week that I got on the scale I was down by a pound. There is so much that happens in our lives that we have no control of. This is something that we have the ability to control. Seeing the results only motivated me to continue…and I did.
I had told myself that when I reached my weightloss goal at the end of the year, I would quit smoking cigarettes. A year had flown by and I had reached my weightloss goal. What a sense of empowerment and accomplishment! I was amazed at just how quickly a year had rolled by. I had to face it. There could be no more excuses and procrastinating. It was D-day. The time had come to, once and for all, give up cigarettes!
The first several days, and even the first week, were the hardest. I quit cold turkey! Thinking back, it really wasn’t quite as hard as I had imagined it would be. I continued eating healthy and going to the gym. If I snacked a bit more I tried to choose healthy foods. I can now say that I’ve been cigarette-free for 1-year and 9-months, just shy of two years!! I’m proud of that huge accomplishment and can’t help but think how quickly the time has passed.
However … I have put back on almost all of those pounds I had lost. My metabolism seems to still be at a standstill as a result of quitting cigarettes. I realize there are probably other factors contributing to this such as my age and going through the changes but, as I think back, I still come to the conclusion that lack of cigarettes is the main culprit. After all, two weeks after quitting is when the weight began to return. In doing some research about it, I found that you burn an extra 200-250 calories a day through smoking. Still, I plan on never picking up that nasty habit again although frustration, anger and even feelings of depression settled in. I’ll admit that after continuing on the healthy path and seeing the scale continually go up, I did give up on healthy eating for a month or two around the holidays.
As of January I’ve been back on the right path, returning to healthy eating habits and going back to the gym. I think back to the feeling of empowerment I had felt during my healthy course in life and know I must draw from and remember that I CAN DO THIS!! Although very frustrated and disappointed at the lack of any results, I continue to trudge along on my health and weight loss journey. Maybe a new goal of mine should be to build my stamina to the point of being able to endure ‘the Monster’ for 40 minutes once again!
Upon leaving the gym the other day, while approaching my car, there was a car next to mine. A gentleman who I’d seen working out beside me was standing outside of his car….smoking a cigarette. I thought to myself, “That was me 2 years ago, voiding out the good I had done in the gym.”. I thought back and remembered the feelings of guilt I had when doing that. As I drove home, I smiled and realized that maybe I was being too hard on myself. I had really come a long way! I need to more fully embrace my accomplishment and its benefit to my health.
Now…..back to the treadmill for me! Wish me luck! 🙂