I’ve been doing this weight loss thing for a really long time now. I mean, I started in September 2010 – so we’re talking almost three years since I first stepped into the gym in Worcester, weighing 290lbs. It’s been a while, then, since I’ve felt like I could be surprised.
As I’ve said over and over again, slow and steady has been the name of the game for yours truly. It’s taken a long, long time to shift the weight, and it’s been full of plateaus, patches where I’ve been too busy (read: drunk) to focus on my weight, and even the odd setback here and there.
I’ve moved jobs twice in the time since I started. I’ve called six different places home. And I’ve been a member of four different gyms. In other words, life has been going on at a pretty swift pace, and I’ve slowly, gradually shaved off over 140lbs. Ten stone. 63.6 kilos, one by one. Half by half, in fact.
But because of that, it’s been a long time since I’ve felt like anything could surprise me – except, that is, my ability to pull weird faces in photos. Still amazed at that. But I know it takes time; I know there will be patches where it works and patches where it doesn’t; and I know that if I do the right thing, most of the time, eventually my body will do the right thing, because my body is pretty smart. I trust it implicitly. We’re cool now.
So I was very, very surprised to find myself sitting on a train at lunchtime today feeling a bit emotional.
Okay, screw emotional. I full on welled-up and had to hide behind my coffee so that the weird guy with one lens missing from his sunglasses – which he was wearing even though it was raining – wouldn’t notice and offer me some kind of creepy hug.
Now, it’s been a bit of an emotional week anyway, and I blame you guys. I had a bunch of emails on Monday from readers who, between them, had lost over 400lbs. That stuff gets me all choked up and grateful – so much so that I ended up firing this article over to the lovely guys at MindBodyGreen. You people are all incredible, and I salute you. Y’all are turning me into a frayed little spark of emotion, but it’s awesome, so keep that inspiration coming. I also had the chance to have a really good catch up with Matt, who I’ve missed a lot since I moved – so all in all, it’s been a funny old week.
Anyway, by today I figured I was just about back to normal service on the emotions front (and I’ll add that I am not hormonal. You’d know if I was, because that has more of an Oscar the Grouch effect on my emotional state – so you’d be able to identify me by my trash can) and headed out for a Friday morning workout with the lovely Tom Dyer.
Each time I do one of those sessions, I look forward to the next even more. Yes, when I leave I walk like Bambi with a drinking problem, and yes, I do find blow drying my hair near enough impossible afterwards – but it’s hella fun. I can’t believe I’m saying it, but it would appear that I’m falling in love with this whole fitness thing.
As the girl who always, always staggered around at the back in P.E. – the girl who would do anything for a sick note, in order to avoid being the last to finish in track yet another mortifying time – and the girl who couldn’t walk at 21 years old, this is big bloody news… But it’s not what got to me today.
No, what completely threw me today was one single, solitary deadlift.
Let me set the scene. Last time, I was lifting 100lbs. Today, I lifted 110, and I joked – joked – that I’d like to one day lift that 140lbs I’ve now lost. But y’know, that would be impossible at the moment… Right? It was a joke… Right?
Of course, one day I will learn that these hardcore awesome fitness people don’t seem to have the word “impossible” in their vocabulary, which I can only speculate must make for some downright dangerous drinking games and bad driving. Probably. So the next thing I knew, I was addressing the bar.
No, not the fun kind of bar. Me addressing that kind of bar would not be news to anyone (although since I’ve been in training, not a single drop of alcohol has touched these lips. Wonders may never cease.) I mean the butt-kickingly scary, Rocky-Rambo masculine kind of bar – with that 140lbs on it.
And I did it. I lifted that big ol’ weight, and Tom filmed it, for your viewing pleasure and entertainment:
As you can see, in the moment, I was concentrating too hard to get emotional about it. And afterwards, I was just knackered – so again, nothing doing. I showered, stomped to the office, ticked a few things off the to-do list, and then stomped back out to catch the train for a site visit.
I sat on the train, got myself a coffee, and stopped. Just stopped. That’s it. And the next thing I knew, I was getting all emotional on public transport, like the grown-up professional woman that I am. Turns out this Dyer fella isn’t just giving me an external makeover – this training is emotional, too.
Because I never realised how much weight I was carrying, physically. I have no idea how I coped with that. In fact, I didn’t cope. I couldn’t walk. I mean, I am completely behind people being any size or weight they want to be, so long as it’s their choice. Being whatever you want to be is the name of the game, round these parts.
But I didn’t want to be 290lbs. Everything hurt, from the moment I got out of bed in the morning, to the moment when I’d wake up suddenly in the middle of the night because I’d forgotten how to breathe. I was sick all the time. I was risking diabetes, heart disease, and a whole bunch of other potentially fatal illnesses for an extra slice of pizza.
I mean, an extra pizza. A whole one.
And the emotional strain of all that was enormous – probably more than I realised at the time. Which is why, today, lifting that 140lbs and realising just how far I’ve come… I had kind of a “defining moment.” A breakthrough, if you will.
Yeah, I know. That’s real cheesy. But it’s true. Because I also had one of those 140lbs ago, taking those tentative, painful steps into my local gym. Lifting that first 2kg hand weight. Making it to 5 minutes on the recumbent bike. They don’t seem like big achievements now, but at the time, they were quite frankly epic. I was the morbidly obese girl on crutches in the gym. I felt like everyone was staring and judging, and they probably were – but I had to do it for myself.
And that’s the point I want to get across here. Feel no shame when you try to improve yourself, under any circumstances, and regardless of what size you are, or how you look or feel.
Because you are changing your life. You’re going to be that person who achieves what other people will call an “amazing transformation.” You’ll be the one that can inspire other people to find happiness, too – but the thing you need to get there is self-belief.
You don’t need much – just enough to get you through the day. It’s practically radioactive, this stuff – so can fuel huge changes on just a tiny amount. All you’ve got to do is know, somewhere in you, that you can.
Because trust me, you can do anything. Some of you guys have already proved that. Others are still on the path to figuring it out. But believe me: it’s possible. And even though in my case, I’m talking about weight loss, this outlook should cut across every aspect of your life.
You can do anything you set out to.
And one day, in the not-so-distant future, you too will be able to embarrass yourself by getting all emotional on public transport when you look back and realise just how far you’ve come.