I’ve been struggling lately. Mentally, I’m not in the training game. I’m burnt out. I know this. I know this is NORMAL. I know that this does not mean I’m OVER the athlete thing. In fact, I know I’m definitely not. That Ironman title is still out there on my horizon…just not this year.
I’ve been “in training” for two and a half years. Before that, I spent a year and a half preparing for my WLS. Honestly, it’s been ALL ABOUT ME for longer than that. And, frankly, I’m tired of it.
My reluctance in admission has been several-fold. Fear of regressing to my old life patterns. Fear of looking badly. Fear of not “finding” something else. So, for myself as much as anyone reading this, I’m going to talk myself through this phase of life. I hope you’ll find it helpful for your journey, too.
Old Life Patterns. This has been, by far, the biggest concern. My considerably active lifestyle has afforded me a generous measure of grace in the eating department. While the surgery has done its job as a tool to help me control my portion sizes, the fact is that I am able to eat most foods that I was able to pre-op. However, I have proven through repeated injuries and down-time that I AM ABLE to control myself during times of less caloric expenditure. I give myself a short “leash” in the weight department, and have proven that I am able to reign in my habits should I slip a bit. I don’t beat myself up for a bad meal, or even a bad week. I have learned to start with the mouthful I am on in regaining control. I also know where to go for the coaching I need to get back on track.
Looking Badly. If I don’t have an event lined up, what will people think? Will they be looking for me to regain? WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? The reality is that, for the most part, folks don’t pay attention to what I’m doing. I may have a small “following” of folks – the SUPPORTIVE kind – and they will know what’s going on because they will have read this Otherwise – NO ONE CARES! I know what is going on in my head, and where I’m headed event-wise…and I’m not finished!
Finding Life. What will I spend my time on? Well, frankly, this will be the easiest to handle. I have missed many events these past couple of years because it was a “long run night” or “event weekend,” or many other training excuses. This year – my son’s SENIOR year of high school – I will be able to be FULLY PRESENT in this last year he will be under our wings. I want to be able to go on a bike ride for pleasure, paddleboarding for joy, hiking for beauty, going to boot camp to enjoy time with friends. There will be a time in the near future when I will “train” with purpose – but for now I will just LIVE.
This morning, while struggling with these thoughts, I revisited (for the second time this year) my pre-op intentions (verbatim):
~First, I realize that a numerical goal could be disappointing. I have a prime example in my mother-in-law. She’s now at the weight she was when she had my husband – but is completely unhappy with the way she looks. What she doesn’t realize is that it’s been 40 years…and she isn’t nearly as toned, fit, etc., as she was as a 26-year-old. I think, in seeing that, it’s been good for me to realize that I won’t necessarily look like another person who is in the 175 range. I might look good at 195 – if I’m fit, or look terrible at 150 if I just lose, and don’t exercise. Ideally, though – with proper diet AND exercise – I’d like to make it under the 200 mark.
What works for me…
- Remembering that the gym is a good stress-relief tool, and can take the place of the desire to eat my troubles away. (Who wants to exercise for an hour to burn the few calories a candy bar costs?)
- It’s OK to hate the pool, and if I keep the weight off, my knees don’t hurt so badly and I can do other exercises. It’s also fine to look how I look, go as slow as I need to, and not want to talk to anyone else. This is MY time, and I need to do it MY way.
- Journaling BEFORE I eat is like spending money on paper (a budget) before spending my paycheck. There are many aspects of eating and spending that are similar – and the struggles are similar.
- Asking for advice from a counselor isn’t a crutch, or a sign of weakness. Counselors are good life-coaches – sometimes I just need to hear someone else’s take, or sometimes I just need to verbalize what I’m thinking. And, crying about it is OK!
- I want to be able to walk – really walk – without fighting plantar fasciitis. I’m in a good place right now – I’ve figured out how to exercise w/o pain. But, I miss taking walks at the beach, walking all day at Disneyland w/o pain, etc.
- I want to fit on rides – planes, roller coasters, etc. My husband and I LOVE amusement parks – but don’t fit anywhere but Disneyland (and not on a couple of rides there). I want to enjoy these activities with my grandchildren.
- I want to SHOP at Wal-mart. OK, not really…but I want the ABILITY to shop at a “normal” store – especially a thrift store, or a garage sale!
- I want to LIVE to see my child married, my grandchildren grow up, enjoy the retirement I’m working so hard to earn, etc. And, not just be alive for them – but to be LIVING those experiences.
- I know I can do anything I set my mind to – in my head. I want to be able to do it in my body, too. This TOOL will help me accomplish those dreams. I am NOT defined by my weight – just hindered by it.
Nowhere in my pre-op goals was the intention of being an athlete…but to LIVE life. I have achieved these dreams (walking without pain, riding an airplane, shopping anywhere), and created new ones. And, I will continue to change, shape, mold, and modify my new life & dreams. And, I can do it knowing that LIFE is what I’ve gained.