[guest post] accepting gradual change
First up is a post from my dear friend Krissie from Questions for Dessert. Krissie is one of the most inspiring, warm and well-spoken people I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. I think the world would be a much better place if we were all just a little bit more like Krissie (including me). Take it away, awesome lady.
I kinda have a love/hate relationship with gradual change.
In the last three years, I’ve lost a lot of weight. I’ve kept it off through some very discouraging times. I’ve gone from the girl who used to pray that the XXL would fit to a girl who can usually fit into a medium. I’ve gone from the girl who struggled to walk a mile to a girl who can run 10 miles without being sore the next day.
I’ve come a long way, friends. When I started my journey to health, though, I didn’t think it would take this long. I guess that’s the hate part of my relationship with gradual change. These changes didn’t happen overnight. I would never be the person on the infomercial who proudly lost a huge amount of weight in a small amount of time. I have lost 65 pounds in three years. Just like when I run, I am slow and steady. When I look back at pictures from 3 years ago, I look so incredibly different. But from 6 months ago or even a year ago? The Krissie that looks back at me looks very similar.
Sometimes this bothers me. Sometimes I want to be the person who loses 2 pounds a week. Sometimes I just want to get this weight off once and for all. Sometimes I think I would just give in to some crazy fad diet just so my Wii stops yelling “that’s OBESE” whenever I step on. But that’s not me.
Because even though gradual change in my body is frustrating, gradual changes in my behavior have been the key to my success. Three years ago, I started making small steps toward being healthy. And as I became accustomed to my new habits, I wanted to see what else was out there, how much farther I could go. I kept looking for the next step. The more good choices I made, the more they snowballed. And the less they felt like punishment or restrictions. My healthy choices became who I am.
Three years ago, I didn’t set out to eat a mostly vegetarian diet. I just wanted to cut out most fast food. But then I stopped eating all fast food (except Chick-Fil-A – long story). And then I stopped eating most processed food. We drastically reduced how often we ate out anywhere. And then I stopped eating meat unless I knew how it was treated. And then I wanted to make as much of our food as possible just to see if I could. My health choices have been a gradual progression, and I’m sure I haven’t stopped growing. I don’t know that I could ever become 100% vegetarian – this girl loves her sushi – but I’m willing to get really really close. I do think about making more of our dairy products, learning how to can, and figuring out how to make (and store) our on-the-run foods.
Three years ago, I didn’t set out to run a marathon. I wanted to run a 5K someday. I started walking on a regular basis. Then I started training for a 5K. That was a horrible, discouraging, incredibly fulfilling experience. Then I trained for a 10K. And then a half-marathon. And then a few trail races and 5 more half-marathons. Now I’m smack-dab in the middle of training for the Flying Pig Marathon. How crazy is that? Three years ago, I struggled to run for 60 seconds. And in 3 months, I’m going to run 26.2 miles. Twenty-six point two. I have no doubt in my mind that I can do it. I don’t know how long it will take me. I don’t even have a time in mind, and I’m okay with that. My goal is to cross the finish line in a run, with a smile and the desire to keep running.
I am really trying to use that type of thinking with my weight loss journey too. I don’t want to be thin, but I would like to be thinner. I know I am healthy, but I can be healthier. I would like for there to be less weight on my knees. I’d like for the scale to tell me that I’m “normal.” I want to feel comfortable in my skin for the first time in my life. And, honestly? There’s a part of me that is vain and just wants to know what it feels like to wear an article of clothing that is less than a 10.
And I’ll get there. Eventually. I am trying to do less projecting, to think less about what I should be losing, what I could weigh in 6 months, or when I will get to a certain weight. I am trying to recognize and appreciate gradual change. I am trying to remember that I never dreamed that I could live the life I have today, that I would have the health I have today, and that it would feel happy, normal and not at all restrictive. I don’t know when I’ll get smaller or how small I’ll get, but I know I’m not done.
Just like running, weight loss it isn’t about how fast I get there. It isn’t about who gets there faster and who I leave in the dust. It is about being steady, being happy, and being thankful. It is about finishing with a smile and a desire to keep on going.