Sticking with it
By Dan T
This week marked the start of my seventh week in the program – and as I write this, it’s officially been 38 days since I first walked into the offices of Weighless MD to embark on this journey.
Through the years and just about every fad diet, every attempt to lose weight and even some successes, I’ve never stuck with anything for this length of time. Something has always derailed me, but usually, it’s just been another in a long line of excuses that put me back in a bad place.
So what’s different this time? Honestly, it’s hard to explain, but on my drive home from this week’s meeting with Amanda and Elizabeth, I started to think about it.
To be truthful, I think it’s a combination of factors. At the top of the list is just a true, real desire to put this part of my life behind once and for all … to truly get healthy and make life-long changes for the second half of my existence on this planet.
But an even deeper meaning comes to mind as well. As a longtime high school coach of three sports at both the junior varsity and varsity levels, one of my main jobs has always been to challenge my athletes to go beyond their comfort zone, to push themselves beyond where they thought they could go. And I’ve been successful at that.
However, I never really took my own advice – until now. What kind of role model was I for these athletes if I was demanding high effort when, because of my weight, I couldn’t give them high effort back?
Even though I’d like to think I’ve been a successful coach at this level, if nothing else, I was also hypocritical. Sports is an extension of the classroom, and I have some training in education.
What I was doing was NOT modeling the right way to live. Well, that’s going to change.
This program has made me reach for all kinds of different levels within myself. It took some guts to even walk in the door to begin with, knowing I would be standing on a scale and that someone (Amanda), who until that day I had never met, would be looking at that number and documenting it. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t totally apprehensive of standing there, knowing the number would be off the charts. But it was just a starting point, and it only took about 30 seconds to realize Amanda wasn’t there to judge me, but to help me. So I got past that.
I also had to overcome a real fear of needles. At my age and size, one wouldn’t think I was such a wuss when it came to needles, but I was – key word, was. It’s part of the process and that part of the program is helping, so I attacked that fear head on, and now, it’s really no big deal.
But I also had to push myself to know I can do this. I do have the will power to not pour a drink, even though one wouldn’t derail the program. I have the will power to not buy a frozen pizza instead of having a salad for the 38th straight day (and sometimes two in a day).
I have the will power to grab some blackberries when I’m hungry at work instead of getting a bag of chips from the vending machine. I have the will power to drink 100-120 ounces of water instead of a can of soda.
I do have that will power. And it’s showing in a lot of ways 38 days and 36 pounds lost later.
And that’s not to say it’s always been easy. This weekend will be another challenge, as I leave Saturday for a two day softball coaching clinic. As I’m entering my 18th years as a coach, I have met and become friends with many, many coaches in the state. And these gatherings usually end up sitting around the bar, sharing war stories, picking on one another and just catching up. And with that comes alcohol and all the foods that put me in the spot I was in 38 days ago.
The good news is I went public with this journey shortly after I began, even though I hadn’t planned on it, so now I have a full support system behind me. I left peer pressure worries behind in high school, so I’m not concerned about “not fitting in.” I have a plan this weekend, and I’m hoping it falls into place. Just because you’re on a weight loss journey doesn’t mean you have to stop living. And I will continue to live, just differently than the old me once did.
There’s also a part of me now that has developed an inner voice, if that makes sense, that knows how disappointing it will be if I stray.
And tracking all my food and water intake to be reviewed every week by Amanda and Elizabeth also helps hold me accountable. I told Elizabeth in our first conversation that I was looking for someone to hold my feet to the fire for the length of this program, to not let me off the hook. Is there a fear of disappointing them and myself? Yes and yes.
I’ve come too far in such a short amount of time to end up walking backward. That’s not an option here.
Sometimes in life, it’s OK to be uncomfortable. But what started as total nervousness, total apprehension and a whole lot of embarrassment for the predicament I found myself in, has turned into confidence, turned into soaking up the knowledge I’m gaining from Amanda and Elizabeth and a whole different focus.
Every week isn’t going to end with huge weight loss gains – last week was just 2 pounds. But as long as the numbers are trending in the right direction, I’m good where I’m at. This is a long, long journey that I’m on, and every day is a new battle, a new fight in the desire to get healthy. I didn’t enter into this to get fixed in a day, a week, a month, two months, maybe even a year. I entered into this to do whatever it takes to get there, wherever there is.
I’ve found something inside of me I wasn’t sure existed. For once, I’ve taken some of my own coaching and used it on myself.
It’s amazing what you can achieve when you let yourself do it.