At one time my body was a mess as far as fitness was concerned. The most exercise I got was walking up a flight of stairs each morning so I could get to my office and sit in front of a computer all day. I was relatively young with a young child at home but I was about 50 pounds overweight.
Each day, climbing that one flight of stairs got tougher and tougher. Some days I took the elevator if no one was looking.
Then one day, I felt it: The dreaded CHEST PAINS. Holy crap did that scare me! But it was just the push I needed. I started exercising shortly thereafter, moderately and following my doctor's advice, and in time I was able to drop the weight.
Twelve years later and having re-gained some (but not all!) of that weight, and looking for a little motivation to get back on track, I began to reflect on my Top Ten Reasons for Getting Serious About Weight Loss.
1. Poor Sex Life
That's right, I said S-E-X. Who wants to have sex when they're feeling like a bloated whale? And who'd want to have sex WITH that bloated whale? If you're single and you can go home to your couch and Ben & Jerry's in peace, so be it. But if you're in a committed relationship (or hoping to be!) then the extra weight can definitely effect how you, and sadly, your partner feel about sex. And that ain't good for the relationship.
2. FEAR...of Dying
When even moderate exercise like those stairs I was climbing causes shortness of breath, tiredness, and chest pains, you start to remember your own mortality. You start to appreciate that you can get up and exercise.
3. Less Confidence at Work
No matter how good you are at what you do, carrying the extra weight around has a tendency to effect how you think others see you. Where you might have approached a work situation with confidence you might now approach it with less because of how you think your co-workers perceive you. When I was young and fit, I definitely exuded more confidence.
4. FEAR...of Not Seeing My Children Grow Up
Right along with being afraid of dying, I was more specifically afraid that I wouldn't get to see my children grow up. I was afraid I would miss smiles and hugs and kisses. I was afraid I would let them down by not being there for them when they needed me.
5. Clothes Shopping
I absolutely HATED clothes shopping when I was overweight! There is no one more judging (other than perhaps my mother) than the dressing room mirror. First there's the time and effort to remove the clothes that are helping you feel fat, only to put on more clothes that make you both look and feel bad about yourself. There's realizing that you've grown another size since the last time you went clothes shopping. There's the fitting room person when you hand her the pile of rejected clothes, who is probably just thinking about lunch but who looks like she's thinking about how out of shape you are. And there's the ever so helpful worker who tells you 'Oh no, we wouldn't have that dress in YOUR size.' Oh yes, those are real words that were spoken to me. I hated clothes shopping.
6. 'Ruined' Pictures
Looking at family pictures which included overweight me always made me think, 'Oh this would be such a nice picture...if only I wasn't looking so fat in it.' We are often our own worst critics but that's a horrible way to think about yourself! In years to come I really had to work on realizing that a few extra pounds didn't define my self worth. That was even harder than just losing the weight.
7. Not Enjoying Life
You know how you go to the beach and you see all those different shapes and sizes of people out in their bathing suits? Well you didn't see me! Truly I envy those people who say, 'Yep, I've got a few extra pounds on me but I'm going to the beach and I'm going to enjoy it.' Whether it was the beach I didn't go to or the dowdy clothes I wore because I didn't think I could pull off the sexy ones I wanted to wear, I let my weight steal so much enjoyment from me. Getting into a fitness routine, as painful as it was, gave me a sense of power over my life and my body that had been sorely missing.
8. Fear...of Losing Relationship
My spouse never said anything hurtful to me about my weight. (And any spouse who does is a jerk!) But that didn't stop me from imagining that they would find a nice fit person to take my place, by choice or by happenstance. Then, instead of just being fat, I would be fat AND alone. Can you tell I was pretty good at pity parties?
9. A Stomach Virus
Ok, I know you're wondering what could a stomach virus have to do with motivating me to lose weight. But here it is. It was one of those nasty, horrible viruses where you can't keep anything in or down. Everything I had eaten in the last 24 hours found a way to make a very hasty and unpleasant exit. I was at work when it struck and was so lethargic I could barely get myself home. As a matter of fact, I fell asleep in Newark Penn Station while waiting for my train to come. That's inadvisable on any day of the week! Anyway, by the time the bug had passed, I had lost 5 pounds. It was probably water weight or something but it showed me that this body could lose weight. I mean, of course it could, but seeing the needle move on the scale in the right direction was encouraging nonetheless. It was a little bit like getting a push when you're first learning to ride a bike. You've got momentum and you want to keep it going. Now I'm not suggesting you run out to get your own stomach virus, but what I am saying is if there is a way you can get a little momentum in the right direction, use it to propel your weight loss goal forward.
10. The Future
After consistently gaining weight year after year, I realized that the future would not look pretty if I didn't take control of the situation. While I was only 50 pounds overweight, the longer I did nothing, the greater that number would grow. If I looked backwards I could remember a time when I was only 20 pounds overweight and feeling bad about my body. How I wouldn't love to be that close to my goal now, I thought. Was I then going to look back from 100 pounds overweight and wish I was still only 50 pounds from my goal? Without a plan to get where I wanted to go, I was never going to get there. Without a plan, the wind blows you where IT wants you to go.
Ok, I'm feeling a bit more motivated now. Hopefully you are too! It's time to make a change and I'm not waiting to make an ill fated New Years Day resolution about it. Let's take charge of our fitness today (with wisdom and medical advice of course) and make sure we aren't looking back thinking of all the things we could have done - but didn't.
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