Friday, September 30, 2011

One step at a time

In the fall of 2009, my life took a different path. After 5 years with a non-profit that I cared deeply about, I left to work for one of the vendors at their conferences. I still got to work in the same area of ministry, but the work I would be doing was more along the lines of what I wanted to be doing. And I could work from home. I don't think it was even a week before I realized that having an hour lunch break was going to create some bad habits if I didn't put the time to good use. I decided to go for a walk.

This is where I started.
When I started walking, I couldn't make it around the block without being winded. Eventually, as the pounds started to drop and my endurance started to rise, I walked farther and farther. As the following spring turned to summer, my daily walks were pushing the bounds of my lunch time, and the heat of the day was making longer walks impractical. If I wanted to walk farther, I'd need to start earlier. I started getting up earlier just so I could walk. I'd changed my habits one step at a time.

I've gotten a lot of comments from people about my weight loss. Most of it has been very encouraging, but I've discovered something interesting. At some point, a subset of the people who talk to me about my appearance and my walking now feel compelled to explain to me why they can't do what I have done. They can't walk 3 miles a day. They can't afford to eat healthy foods. They don't like low fat foods. What they don't realize is I told myself those same "can'ts" before I took that first step.

Finishing the 1/2 marathon.
I didn't get to this point overnight. It's taken 2 years to get here. In that 2 years I've learned to eat fresh foods when possible. I've learned that I wasted a lot of calories on fat, so I cut the fat where I could so I could still enjoy a piece of meat. I also learned that for me, lettuce is the delivery system for the salad dressing. If it weren't for the dressing, I wouldn't eat lettuce. I took a break from lettuce salads and started experimenting with other vegetables, and even fruit. The point of this, however, is not what I've done or what I eat but the fact that it took me a year to learn a lot of this and another year to get it firmly planted in my subconscious. But it never would have gotten there if I hadn't taken that first step.

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