The Long Road Ahead.

Yesterday, I mentioned a recent discovery that caused considerable disappointment. 

Let’s talk about it.

When I first started this weight loss journey, I knew this was going to be the hardest thing I will ever do.

Even though it’s not always easy (or even desirable) to eat healthy, count calories, watch portion sizes, or be consistent with my workouts, these activities aren’t what I expected to struggle with the most. In fact, these necessities are a breeze in comparison to the biggest hurdle I’ll have to continually jump throughout the weight loss process: time.

Dealing with the concept of time has always been a significant issue for me. From using my time effectively to being patient over long stretches of time, I have never been great at anything relating to long-term goals (just ask my savings account–yikes 😂).

Like many people, I prefer things to maintain a relatively fast pace. However, weight loss usually isn’t compatible with such a “quick and snappy” mentality; it’s a process that simply takes time

Deep down, I understand the basic premise that rapid weight loss is not to be expected and is rarely recommended. In fact, I know this to be the case first hand. Slow and steady progress towards your goals is best, especially if you have 50+ pounds to lose. After all, things done in haste usually don’t last; I have experienced this many times before. However, this knowledge has never helped me to mentally grapple with the idea of it potentially taking years upon years to reach my ultimate goal weight. 

Time and time again, I have become overwhelmed by the lack of expediency, abandoning my weight loss efforts out of plain exasperation and impatience. That is why I started this final attempt without giving even the slightest consideration to the amount of time it might take for me to reach 117 pounds. I haven’t wanted time to become my enemy, so I’ve steered clear of timetables for the last few months.

At least, I had until this weekend.

Suddenly becoming concerned about the length of time it may take me to reach my desired size, I looked up a weight loss calculator. Upon asking me to punch in some basic information, the calculator spat out a slew of numerical figures that made me sick to my stomach. According to the calculator, it could take me anywhere from 750 to 1,050 days to reach 117 pounds. 

(For the mathematically challenged, such as myself, this is about two to three years.) 😅

I nearly burst into tears. 

In the grand scheme of things, two to three years isn’t very long. High school lasts longer than that. College lasts longer than that. Babies barely become toddlers in that timeframe. And even though this isn’t much time overall, so much can happen and change in that amount of time.

I mean, my birthday is almost here again. Didn’t I just have my last birthday?! What the heck? Before we know it, Christmas will be back. Meanwhile, I still have my wreaths sitting on the floor waiting to be put back into their boxes (whoops)! Time is just whizzing by.

In just a year’s time, I have changed so much, yet time flew by without me even realizing it. I can’t even imagine what hijinks I’ll be up to in another two or three years. I could be married with kids, for goodness sakes! Scary! 😬

All the same, I’m not in my teens or 20’s anymore. Perhaps, if I were, two to three years wouldn’t seem so unbearable. However, I have unfortunately squandered so much of the prime days of my life being overweight that spending even another year at this weight feels downright intolerable. 

Words cannot express how upset it makes me to recall everything I have missed out on in life due to not feeling comfortable in my own skin. Even before gaining weight, I struggled with self-acceptance, so I’ve truthfully never lived a life I was completely proud of or pleased with.

No matter what weight I was, I never felt pretty enough or good enough to have the life I desired or even felt I deserved, so I often fell short of pursuing the opportunities that would have brought me joy and contentment. 

Now, at 32, I often feel that time truly isn’t on my side. As much as many of us may hate to admit it, there are certain activities and manners of dress that simply aren’t “appropriate” for folks of a particular age.

And while I am by no means “old”, the window for me having certain experiences without looking like mutton dressed as lamb seems to close more and more by the day. I often worry that by the time I reach an acceptable weight (in my mind), it will be “too late” to do many of the things I’ve only dreamed of.

Is it the end of the world if I never get to wear a two piece bikini with confidence? No. However, after spending a lifetime trying to learn how to genuinely love and accept myself as the intelligent, kind, and unique person that I am, it would be nice to finally be able to freely live without fear of judgement or ridicule from others or myself. 

So while time isn’t everything (optimal health is the most important aspect of weight loss), I genuinely want to make the most out of whatever time I have left. After all, nothing in this life is guaranteed—including life itself. 

I realize that some people may think I am making mountains out of molehills when it comes to this stuff. Perhaps that is the case. I certainly respect your opinion regardless. I am fully aware that I often place entirely too much emphasis on being a certain size, as though being a specific weight is a non-negotiable prerequisite for living. 

Although I intellectually understand that a life of fulfillment is not reserved for the thin, a lifetime of disordered eating and extremely unhealthy beliefs regarding body image genuinely makes it hard for me to view my life without looking through the lens of that destructive mindset.

This is something I have been working diligently to change for a very long time (as if simply losing weight isn’t challenging enough on its own), but like most things in life, this too is a process that won’t improve overnight. 

Even as I sit here tearing up at the thought of spending another two or three years in a body I still cannot believe is my own, I do have the ability to recognize how flawed my anxieties are. After all, I will not spend another three years in this body. In fact, my body is not the same today as it was last week, and it’s certainly not the same as it was six months or a year ago. 

Change is happening, whether I like the rate at which it’s occurring or not. 

As I continue to do what I’ve been doing, I will find myself getting a little smaller and stronger each day. Another fifty days from now, I will be that much further down the road, and I will surely look and feel even better then than I do now. If I remain positive and continue to focus more on the actions than the timeframe, today can be the very last day that I ever spend in this exact body. 

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If you are someone who has had a hard time facing how much weight you have left to lose and the time it will take to achieve your fitness goals, I totally understand the frustration. As much as we may want to fast forward to the end result, we can’t do that. We have to learn to accept and enjoy the entire process as we go through it or we’ll never, ever make it. 

Although it may be difficult, we can learn to appreciate each step of our fitness journey by celebrating the milestones we reach along the way. For years, I never understood the importance of setting smaller goals in between the starting point and the end goal, but now I do.

It is by looking forward to and reaching the small, short-term goals that we attain the strength and courage to meet the larger, long-term goals. Even though they may not be where you wish to be or stay, each small step in the right direction is a victory all on its own, and it is worthy of just as much celebration as you are. No matter how long it takes, you can do it.

Is it absolutely set in stone that it will take me two to three years to reach my ultimate weight? No, of course not. As difficult as it was to even imagine the prospect of it taking that long, I believe that anything is possible through prayer. Faith can give me the strength to make further adjustments to my lifestyle that may speed up the process. 

But even if it does take that long to reach my goals, I will continue to count it as a blessing, as it will allow me:

Two to three years of continual self-improvement

Two to three years of daily challenges

Two to three years of furthered education in health and fitness

Two to three years of regular writing practice

Two to three years of sustained positive thinking

Two to three years of focused prayer

Two to three years of connecting with readers and fellow bloggers

Two to three years of experimentation with healthier recipes

Two to three years of exploring new physical activities to love

Two to three years of devotion to improved fitness

Two to three years to go through countless new sizes of new clothes

Two to three years to improve my goal setting skills

Two to three years to help inspire others on their own paths

I would say that the next two to three years will be time very well spent, wouldn’t you?

Today Was Day 51.

Patience is not passive, on the contrary, it is concentrated strength. -Bruce Lee


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