Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You Can't Stop the Waves, but You Can Learn How to Surf

As I've been stalled out at about 40 pounds down, I've had time to think about what this process has been like.  Thankfully, this plateau has come at a time when I'm way too far into the journey to even think about turning back.  However, it has given me a chance to really work through what the whole thing means.

I took my kids hiking earlier this week.  We went to Calvert Cliffs State Park.  We  ate a picnic lunch at this awesome recycled tire playground and then, in order to get to the cool part of the park, you have to hike for about two miles to get out there (unless of course you get on the wrong trail and add another mile or so to your walk, which we did).  The thing is, I have a two year old.  He didn't eat his lunch (the playground was much too fun to stop and eat) and he hadn't taken his afternoon nap.  So, about a half mile into the hike, he's tired and hungry (although not annoyingly miserable - somehow when they're that little they know it's more fun to stay positive even when you're tired).  As I carried him on my shoulders (and on my back and in front) and as I developed a whole new appreciation for mama monkeys, I had a few thoughts.  He's only 31 pounds.  I used to carry around 43 extra pounds, what a little 31 pound monkey compared to that!  Granted they weren't in a wiggly little body on top of my shoulders, but they also weren't a bundle of fun and silly little jokes like he is either!  It also occurred to me that I had NEVER taken my kids hiking.  We never used to do anything really fun and outdoorsy.  I was always too tired or just didn't want to do it, or I made excuses about something being too expensive (Side note: state parks and picnics are the cheapest way you'll ever spend a day).  Boy, I didn't know what I was missing!  Hanging out with my two favorite people in the woods, looking for fossils at the beach and just enjoying the journey with two sets of fresh little eyes was all worth it!

That's the point of this journey though.  It's not just about losing weight or gaining muscle.  It's not the destination, it's what you do on your way there.  A year and a half ago, I wouldn't have dreamed of taking a two year old hiking.  Not in a million years!  Now I've discovered that while it's a little more difficult, it's so much more rewarding than dropping him off at the babysitter.  Spending time with my kids on an adventure makes the journey so much more rewarding.  They're able to see that I've become a different person;  a person that enjoys being with them and doing fun things.

On another note,  I recently won a contest!!!  YAY!!!  It was the Smartest Loser Contest sponsored by the local newspaper.  My best buds, friends, coworkers and probably some of their friends voted for me in this contest.  The prize, besides just the satisfaction of having won, is a $500.00 spa day at About Faces Day Spa and Salon.  Yesterday I got my picture taken for the Annapolis Style Magazine   (go to the last page) and next week, I'll get to cash in my prize!  I'm so excited.  I think in my whole life I've never spent $500.00 in beauty treatments.  Well, maybe combined over the last 32 years I have, but probably not in the last 10!

This is just one more example of how it's about the journey, not the destination.  I've still not reached my final weight loss goal, but I'm working at it.  This prize is just a little encouragement along the way!  I'll get there, maybe I'll get there by the end of the year, maybe by the end of next year.  But the idea is, the years come and go, and I'll continue to get older, so I might as well make the best of the ride!  I'll turn 40 and 50 anyway, so I might as well reach those milestones a little smaller! 

So, as I'm wrapping up the 90 day challenge at the gym, I've been doing some reflecting on the gym process.  It has been so amazing to get into this fitness routine.  I feel like a different person compared to when I started in January.  While I didn't reach my weight loss goal (I had a goal of 18 pounds lost by the end of the 90 days, which averages to about 1.5 pounds per week) the change has been more than about pounds.  I discovered that I am capable of committing to going to the gym four times per week.  I can do yoga and spinning classes and I feel stronger and healthier than ever.  At our final lecture in the program, we talked about the next steps in a healthy lifestyle and how it's important to make the journey the important thing.  I can't guarantee that when I lose all of this weight that my life will be perfect.  I can't guarantee that my finances will be secure and that my family's and my own health will be great, but what I can control, at least a little bit, is the present.  All that I am guaranteed is this moment, and I will make the best of it.  I will take what comes my way, and instead of trying to stop the waves, I will learn how to surf!