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"Hard is not hopeless." - General David Petraeus

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

6-Month Anniversary of Health Quest

Today marks six months since I started on this journey to recovering my health. 

Looking backward over that six months it is very encouraging to see the progress I made.  The image that is strongest in my mind is that back when I started on March 19th, I was so overweight and my core muscles so weak, I was like a beached whale every time I tried to haul myself off the flat bench at the gym.  Oh how embarrassing that was!  I cringe every time I think of it.  Now I get off the bench with ease and actually look like I know what I'm doing! 8-)

Becoming healthy is like going from this:

To this:

Here are some other highs and lows of the experience so far:

*  My old dietary habits were highly unhealthy.  But starting out, my stomach didn't know what to make of the healthy food either.  For a few weeks in those early days, it was a gastric nightmare as my stomach tried to do a 360 and assimilate this new and strange food called (insert creepy music here) vegetables.

*  The glory days of the first few weeks when you lose 5-7 pounds a week since you're getting rid of a lot of water weight.  It's good to start with such a bang because it helps you get through subsequent weeks and months when the weight loss isn't nearly as dramatic.

*  The fear I had starting out, mainly due to concerns about how exercise would affect the many major back problems I'd had (and I beg anybody who has physical issues to talk to a doctor or other professional then GO FOR THE EXERCISE.  Don't let fears of current pain hold you back!  I know first hand you have to conquer those fears and that you'll be much better off for it.)

*  The joy of looking back and remembering times when back pain was so crippling I couldn't walk a tenth of a mile without being doubled over in pain--the joy of knowing that is HISTORY.

*  The elation the first day I put on my old fat shorts and they fell right off of me.

*  The excitement as cardiovascular fitness improves.  In March, jogging for 30 seconds felt like a heart attack.  In September, I can jog 5 minutes at a time!

*  I've learned there is a life outside Hot Pockets (who knew?)

*  The difficulty of reconciling the fact that a healthy lifestyle is both time consuming and expensive and the knowledge that I need to make choices about what gets priority in my life (this conflict is never-ending).

*  The absolute frustration at the vast amounts of conflicting information on nearly every diet and exercise topic out there.

*  The astonishment that after all these decades, still no one has managed to come up with a sports bra that offers support, is easy to put on, and doesn't squash you like a bug.

*  Learning the value of a personal trainer.  I'd weight trained on my own in past years.  But working with someone who knows how to put together a workout makes a huge difference.  I'm more visibly toned in the arms and legs than I've ever been in my life.  That's thanks to trainers expertise (Thanks, guys).

*  Learning first-hand that weight training and building muscle is the best way to boost my metabolism.

*  Stepping on the scale 6 months later and being 52 pounds lighter.

*  The second most important hallmark of this six months has been achieving the never before accomplished feat of doing a push up.

*  However, by far, the most important highlight of this six month journey was Saturday, June 2nd--the first day I felt energy in years.  Literally--YEARS.  You can read that experience in more detail here:  That will be a day I will remember for the rest of my life.

The bottom line--if you're on the fence about getting started on a fitness program, get off the fence and get moving!  Yes, it is time consuming.  Yes, eating healthy is expensive.  But the rewards of fitness and most of all the boost to your energy level, will be well worth the time and effort.

I actually feel like I'm living again.

God willing, the next six months will be even better.

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