Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Look at Where You Are Now

I am on a message board with about thirty other women who were due with babies in January 2007 when my older son was born.  We bonded over our pregnancies and have been talking ever since!

On this message board, a few of us gather to support each other in goals of fitness, health, and weight loss.  In a recent conversation, a friend commented to me, "Jamie - Look at where you are now compared to a year ago." She included a link to our conversation from a year ago. I obligingly clicked that link and was surprised in a few ways.

A year ago, I was earnest in my desire for weight loss. I was sick of carrying around so much excess weight and feeling awful physically and emotionally. My family and I were on our journey to eating less processed and more real food, but I felt extremely conflicted with that and my desire to lose weight. I had most effectively lost weight in the past with the help of Weight Watchers and diet foods. I knew I didn't want to do that again. I knew the answer was smaller portions of heartier healthier foods free of chemical substitutes, but I struggled with the desire to eat for quantity instead of quality based both in simple habit as well as more complicated emotional eating tendencies. A year ago, I bought my last food with artificial sweeteners in it.

Photo Credit Photographer: Ian Britton

Where am I now? I weigh just shy of twenty pounds less than I did then, and I have reached a point where weight loss has taken a backseat to my fitness and health goals. It now comes as a side effect. I still struggle to exercise regularly, but I have discovered a passion for running. I won't consider buying diet foods or foods with artificial sweeteners in the name of weight loss or any other reason for that matter. It's just not an option. When I eat fast food, it makes me physically ill, and so I happily just don't do that. I make most of what we eat from scratch. I am living vegan for Lent filling my days with whole foods that nourish the body and soul. I am cooking things I've never cooked, and I am enjoying the way I eat. I'm not obsessing about portion sizes or emotional eating. For the most part, I eat when I'm hungry until I'm full. Sometimes I overindulge, but now my body lets know because it's no longer used to that kind of treatment. The discomfort reminds me why I don't do that anymore.

Homemade tortillas
Recently, I've been getting a little discouraged with my running. I was really ill for a week and missed an entire week of training for my half marathon coming in May. I started back up and my lungs protested. My runs were hard and my times were slower than normal. I had my first race of my spring schedule on Saturday. I felt unprepared and didn't run as well as I could have.

But let's add some perspective.  Let's look at where I am now. I finished my 5K on Saturday with a time 31 seconds faster than my 5K in September. I have run 9 times in the past 24 days, and that number will go to 10 after today's run.  Even with a entire week off, I am averaging 3 runs per week for the first time in six months. Six months ago I toyed with the idea of running a 10K but it was intimidating. I ran that 10K. Now, I am intimidated again by my goal, but this time it's a half marathon. Six months ago, I thought I was pretty cool for running in a drizzle. Since then I've taken to the road and cranked out 4 miles in 18 degree temperatures. 

What a powerful message! Look at where you are now. Let's think about where we are now opposed to constantly thinking of where we want to be.  Take a look at where we are now as compared to a year ago, or maybe even a month or a week ago. It's great to have goals and to aspire to improve ourselves. In fact, it's part of my personal mission statement to seek growth. But, sometimes it helps to slow down.

I'm not perfect.  I have a lot of things upon which I want to improve, but heeding the advice of a friend and looking at where I am now has shown me how far I've come and renewed my energy in moving forward.

Where are you now?  Where have you come from?


  1. I am so impressed by your perseverance! I have gone through periods in my life that I get addicted to running and then well, life comes along and I put myself on the back burner. What you are describing is sort of the journey I have been on for a few years now. Unfortunately not all the weight loss, but getting rid of artificial sweeteners and remembering that food is to nourish, not to try to make me feel better when other things aren't going my way. Yay for you and sticking to it!


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