Self pep talk from the past…

This is the button that popped off of my size 16 pants. Buttons don't lie!

It’s been over a month since my last post on February 8th. Blog silence is not a good thing. It means I don’t have good news. I haven’t been keeping my commitment to lose weight. I don’t want to bore you all with my pathetic excuses. Most of all, I don’t want to discourage anyone. Losing weight and keeping it off is possible. People do it all the time. So I’m working on getting my head back in the game. I’m wishing I could have bottled up the motivation I felt last fall for how I’m feeling right now. Sigh.

I’m going to start with a note I wrote to myself almost ten years ago.

July 27, 2002

Life is great! The future is bright! There is so much to accomplish, and instead of feeling overwhelming, it’s motivating and exciting! Remember that Jennifer!

When it gets hard, and you’re down, and you’re wondering what’s the point – think of how incredible it’ll feel to accomplish this seemingly impossible goal.

Write when you want that pizza, that buttery popcorn, that hot fresh bread, that chocolate, that ice cream. Think of how uncomfortable it makes you feel to eat that – how too-full, bloated, gross gross gross you feel. You don’t even enjoy it all that much anyway. It just makes you feel huge, sick… and think of the lovely indigestion it causes.

And then there are the feelings of failure, of self-disgust, of self-recrimination. And how that can lead to more mistakes, more failures. Failure breeds failure, and success breeds success.

Oprah calls it that “Holy Moment” when you’re tempted and you want to give in. You have a choice. Do you give in, or do you take power over that temptation and say – Dammit, No! There is so much freedom in knowing what to eat – and it is liberating to do the right thing! That’s Biblical even – the freedom in obeying God.

The wrong food is a prison, it is a kind of slavery, and it keeps you stuck in a spot and limits your world. It is death. It leads to terminal illness. What kind of hope is that? None. Hope is life. Hope is what keeps us alive.

Remember how good it feels when you’re addicted to exercise?! The rush, the adrenalin, the power, the knowledge that you are being productive and good to yourself. Best of all, the feeling afterwards. That warm shower, washing away all the sweat and soothing your muscles, the nice clean clothes, the pleasant, buzzing, relaxed feeling afterwards. It feels great!

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Like Climbing Dog Mountain

“Fitness is a tool I use to build confidence. If somebody thinks, I’m weak, I’m fat, I’m lazy, that’s their reality. I can have them run a mile or do 20 push-ups, and then they’re like, ‘oh, my God, if I’m capable of this, what else can I do?’”
—Jillian Michaels interview, by Amy Spencer,
Redbook, October 2011 (Jillian is the former trainer from The Biggest Loser)

“How much further?” I asked, gasping for breath. My feet felt like lead.

“It’s just around the next bend,” my friend replied.

We made it around the next bend, then the next, then the next.

“Are we almost there?” I asked again, practically begging.

“Almost,” he replied, smiling over his shoulder.

We plodded on. I thought about the car keys in my pocket. The good novel in my daypack. I could so easily turn around, head back down the trail, and wait for my friends to complete the hike without me.

The knowledge that I could flake out at any time somehow kept me from quitting.

Other than my muscles screaming in protest and my lungs burning from desperately sucking in air, I was having a good time. Two years ago, serendipity placed me there on Dog Mountain in Washington state with my sister Teri and long-time friends Rob and Kim. I had warned them ahead of time that I was completely out of shape, and the only exercise I’d been doing back home in southern California was water aerobics. They didn’t mind. They said they’d take it slow and stop whenever I needed to.

Early that morning, I should have known I was in over my head after we parked the car, donned our daypacks, and walked uphill to the restrooms near the trailhead.  I was already gasping for breath.

It was 3.8 miles to the top of the mountain. The hike was rated strenuous/difficult. The elevation gain was 2,850 feet. My desire to spend time with these three much-loved people outweighed my trepidation.

The trail was quiet and peaceful. As we walked among regal Douglas fir trees, the Columbia River winked at us through the branches. At almost every switchback, I stopped to catch my breath while my three companions waited patiently. They chatted comfortably while I concentrated on trying to get oxygen into my body.

With their patience and support, I stuck it out all the way to the top of the mountain. This was the view that awaited us. Breathtaking. Worth every gasping breath up that trail. It was a perfect, sunny day in May. Wildflowers carpeted the alpine meadow. The Columbia River in all its glory was laid out before us. The summits of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens peeked at us from among the lesser mountains of the Cascade Range.

It was a memorable, life-affirming day. Besides having a grand adventure with old friends, I learned that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for. I didn’t quit. The sense of accomplishment was incredible.

I love Jillian’s comment: “Fitness is a tool I use to build confidence.…if I’m capable of this, what else can I do?”

I am about 30% toward my goal of losing 95 pounds. As I mentioned in Baggy Pants are Big Fat Liars, I have been slighly tempted to stay where I’m at right now, even though there are clues of much greater things ahead. I feel so much better than I did 30 pounds ago. I feel fantastic. But I haven’t reached my summit. Not even close. What a loss it would be if I were to flake out now. I can do this.

To give myself a tangible goal to work toward, I’m planning another hike up Dog Mountain next May with these friends. I will be lighter and much more fit. I will conquer that mountain in a whole new way.

Tell me about your Dog Mountain. Have you accomplished something you never imagined yourself capable of doing?