Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Lasting changes

For many years I've struggled with my weight, especially after having my two daughters. I tried countless times to lose weight, using various diets or exercise regimens, but never successfully. Often, I'd find it difficult to maintain changes long enough to see results, so I'd get discouraged and return to my old, bad habits. My emotional eating, my sweet tooth, and my fairly sedentary lifestyle would always get the best of me.

But last year, things finally started to shift and change. It happened little by little, but it started happening. For instance, I increased my physical activity last year, first using our elliptical machine while watching television and then switching to running using the Couch to 5K program in May 2011. Being more active didn't come naturally, especially the running, but I did it because I knew something had to change. I needed to get healthy for myself, but also for my girls. I wanted to be an example of how to live life, not an example of how not to live life.

So I gradually became more active. And, honestly, I thought that would be enough. I thought getting active would just melt away my fat, allowing me to continue to eat whatever I wanted. But it didn't. Normally I would have given up at that point. Since I wasn't seeing results on the scale, I would have stopped being active. But it was different this time. I had actually found an activity I was starting to enjoy and appreciate for for the sake of the activity. I was growing to love running. I loved the chance to get outside, the chance to enjoy my music, and the feeling of accomplishment as my running improved.

I started noticing an increase in energy which was invaluable as I balanced the stresses of everyday life (family, work, chores, creative dreams, etc.). And with the craziness of life, I had also been craving simplicity. I tried things like organizing, writing lists, meal planning, and even meditation, but nothing truly helped the way running did. Running gave me time for myself and time with my thoughts. It brought the calmness and balance I had been searching for.

So I continued running even though the scale wasn't providing me the positive feedback I had wanted. It took me a little longer to get the results I wanted with my weight, but that's a different story. A story I will tell, but not today. Today, I am recognizing, and celebrating, how the simple act of lacing up my running shoes and taking that first run, helped change my life.

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