As part of my pre-surgical weight loss program, I have spent the past few months walking quite a bit. I have averaged about three miles per day, some days considerably more, some days less.
In the summer and early fall, the beautiful weather made it easy to lace up my sneakers and leave the house. With winter quickly approaching, it has become more and more difficult to leave the warmth of the great indoors to spend an hour or more getting those steps in.
Today, on day 9 of liquids and 6 days out from surgery, I struggled with walking out the door into 30-degree weather. I tried to bargain with myself that I had already walked a few brisk, lovely miles last night, so it wouldn’t really matter if I skipped a day. I complained to myself that my joints ached, that my knees hurt, that my ankle was sore. I argued that I have been taking in an average of less than 400 calories per day on liquids, so that might, in some way, be an excuse to take it easier on the exercise for a while.
Ultimately, I had to own up to every excuse and rationalize that I am the only one who can take control of my body. I am the only one who can lose this weight. I would simply be sabotaging myself and every effort that I have made to do what feels like the impossible.
I hate excuses in general, and though I have been guilty of falling back on them, I especially hate making them. The older I get, the better I am able to cut through the bullshit in this world, and that’s exactly what I had to do with myself today. I decided it was time to adopt a no-excuses mindset in order to reach my goals.
It was hard getting out there, with my legs freezing and my body sore. I listened to music, which made the walk easier, and I ended up walking through three towns before turning back, completing a little over 6 miles. With every step, I steadied my resolve. I realized:
It doesn’t matter that it’s cold out.
It doesn’t matter that my knees hurt.
It doesn’t matter that I’m fat and it’s therefore harder to drag my cumbersome body around.
It doesn’t matter that I’m fat and that people might stare at me, or that teens might yell things out the windows of passing cars.
It doesn’t matter that my feet have blisters, or that my ankle is sore, or that I’m on a strict (albeit medically-supervised) diet.
It doesn’t matter that I’m tired.
It wouldn’t matter if it was raining or snowing. It wouldn’t matter if I was sad, or happy, or anything else. When it comes down to it, nothing would really matter.
If I am willing to suffer through the rest of this process– if I’m willing to allow someone to cut me open in four places and alter my internal organs, I can make the daily effort to be a little cold, a little sore, a little uncomfortable, a little vulnerable.
Surgically, there’s nothing they can do to me that will help me if I don’t help myself. That’s the bottom line.
I am in charge of my body now. For years, no one was. I have spent far too much time throwing up my hands, lamenting how difficult it has been for me to lose weight. It turns out that I was right. There were, in fact, medical reasons for my ever-ballooning weight. It wasn’t simply in my head.
It doesn’t matter.
It has been incredibly difficult, but that is not an excuse. My defeatist attitude only made the problem far worse, and now, it’s harder than ever. But that will never be an excuse.
The hardest part of this process is mental, but I feel like I broke down the biggest barrier today. I’m not going to feel sorry for myself. I’m going to lace up my sneakers– every single day– and get to work.