Sunday, July 1, 2012

Hey, I Did That!

Here I go again, breaking another promise to myself. I swore I would never blog about weight or my personal struggles with it.  Really, this is more about a triumph than a struggle, so maybe I can cut myself a little slack on this post.

Long story short, like a lot of us I have struggled with maintaining a healthy weight as an adult.  I always carried a few extra pounds, but once I grew up and got a desk job, it really became an issue.  I'm not going to talk about years of failed attempts to lose the pounds, just know that I've been up and down lots of times and I am currently on what I hope will be the last downward trend. 

I am an emotional eater and last year when my dad got sick, I knew that I would put on weight.  I tried to be aware of my choices, but I also allowed myself the self medication that food gave me during one of my life's most difficult times.  The food didn't hurt me as much as the choice to stop moving did.  Even at my heaviest times I have pretty much always tried to exercise.  I walked, went to the Y, Curves, jogged, took up biking, went to aerobic classes, I always did something.  When daddy got sick, I just gave it up.  I barely had the energry to get through my days as it was and the thought of working out just made me sick.  So I didn't and I didn't for nearly a whole year. 

Last October a friend and I took an impromptu trip out to Wyoming to hook up with Rita & Debbie who were already there. Our flight out of Nashville was delayed and when we reached Denver, where we had a connection, they were paging us for our next flight as we deplaned the first.  Naturally our arriving flight and departing flight were at the opposite ends of the concourse and so we had to make a mad dash for it.  After just a few yards I was struggling to breathe and my legs were fatigued.  Stacy was so far ahead of me that I could barely see her.  When I finally made it to the gate, the attendant gave me the stink eye and I just knew she was judging my fat out of shape self.  I got to my middle seat and tried my best to not pant like a dog for the first 20 minutes of the flight.  I was embarassed and my self esteem was in the gutter.

While in Jackson, which is a bit above 6,000 feet in elevation, I struggled to keep up with my freinds on the shortest of a hike just a few yards into the Gros Ventre slide.  They wanted to hike to Inspiration Point the next day and I knew I would not be able to do it, so I stayed behind by myself.  I had a nice afternoon hanging out with a wildlife photographer taking pictures of a majestic bull moose and driving out behind the Elk Reserve to look for big horn sheep, but I missed being with my freinds.  I made a pact with myself right then that I would start exercising again just as soon as I got home. Well, I didn't.  It was late February of this year before I really got motivated. Kim and I took a week off and headed to Grayton Beach with the pups.  We took our bikes, which I had not been on in over a year.  Between walking the dogs several times a day and riding the bikes every day, by the end of the week I was feeling so good about doing something physical that I have worked out four or five times a week since.

I started Weight Watchers at the first of March with a goal of losing 20 pounds before my vacation back out to Wyoming in mid June.  I made the goal and when we got to Jackson, I was excited about doing some easy hiking.  I was still afraid of Inspiration Point, which is a climb up a mountain that I just didn't think I could do.  Rita kept at me about trying it, encouraging me with positive reinforcement that she thought I could do it.  Finally I gave in.  The morning we went over to Jenny Lake to catch the boat to the trail, I was scared.  I knew I was going to hold my friends back or have to sit on a rock and wait for them for a couple of hours.  The hike starts with an uphill climb and really doesn't let up until you reach the point.  I really struggled the first 200 yards or so, but once I relaxed into the pace a bit it was more comfortable.  Everyone struggles to breathe in that elevation and folks much more fit than me had to take breathing breaks.   Several times I left my group so that I could go at my own pace up the trail, knowing they would catch up with me soon.  I took a pretty good fall on a rocky part of the trail, broke 4 nails (those who know me well know that was quite a tragedy!) and hurt my right wrist, but I kept going.  I made it!  I made it about a mile beyond there, too until we decided to turn back. No one has any idea what a huge personal triumph tackling that hike was for me.  It was thrilling and has renewed my motivation to get healthier.  I can't thank Rita enough for pushing me!  I am deriving great personal satisfaction knowing that when folks talk about Inspiration Point I can say "Hey, I did that!"

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