216.6

216.6.

That can’t be right. Let’s try this again.

216.6.

Long drawn out sigh.

This number celebrates an ignominious milestone for me. It officially marks the heaviest I’ve been in my entire life.

Back in May of this year, I joined a gym close to my house. You can read about it here. Long story short, after years of “yo-yo” workout routines with short-term results, I started to consistently work out again. With my brother-in-law holding me accountable, I went four nights a week, tracked my food intake, made healthy choices, and lost almost 17 pounds. I felt great, was getting compliments from friends and family….life was good. Then, like a gradual descent, I stopped going to the gym. Started eating like crap. Other things took priority. I made excuses: “I’m tired.” “Its been a stressful day, I just want to relax and watch TV.” “I’ll go tomorrow.” My personal favorite? “I’ll start on Monday.” Tomorrow came and guess what? I didn’t go. Monday came and went. You get where this is going.

So began a vicious cycle of getting back on the proverbial wagon and falling off again. I started to hate my appearance. The spare tire. The number on that damn scale. Not content to save my self-loathing for the physical, I attacked myself emotionally and mentally, castigating my weak will and lack of self-discipline. I’m the only one to blame, right? No one force fed me that third slice of pizza (or that fourth, for that matter.) I mean, its common knowledge that “you can’t outrun your fork,” and that “80% of weight loss is diet, not exercise.” I knew how to do the “right” thing, so why was I always chasing after the “wrong” ones? I would get dressed for work in the morning and over-analyze how my clothes fit before throwing on a baggy hoodie or fleece jacket. I decided to grow My go-to mantra has been, “The gym isn’t the only place that you can be active.” The other night, I worked up a good sweat playing basketball with my son for an hour. According to my Fitbit, I’m burning on average 300-400 calories every weekend when we clean the house. If I’m being truly honest with myself, I’m making better choices than I give myself credit for.

That’s not to say that I don’t have weight to lose or changes that I want to make. I’m all for the body positivity movement, along with loving and accepting yourself. We all have to start somewhere. Yet, I know there’s more I want to accomplish with my body. I want to be healthy and a good role model to my kids. I think back to when I was going to the gym consistently, my three year old daughter would see me in my workout clothes and ask excitedly, “Daddy, you go to gym? You go to gym, right?!?!” We’d then show each other our muscles, bust out some jumping jacks (this consisted of her flapping her arms like she was trying to fly) and finished it off with push-ups (remember Prince’s moves at the end of the “Darling Nikki” scene in Purple Rain? Nuff said.) I want to be around to chase my future grand kids around the backyard some day. If I want to make that goal a reality, I need to start making decisions in support of that goal. So while 216.6 is just a number, its not one I’m going to settle for. I’m going to be honest with what I believe I can achieve at this stage of my life and set realistic goals that are attainable. I’m going to put in the hard work. Most of all, I’m going to stop believing the lie that progression is always linear; sometimes its two steps forward, sometimes its a step back.

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