Remember the old adage, “don’t let numbers define you.” I think this was invented when the smart, professional women of the 70s began to age and they decided that 40 was the new 20, and 60 was the new 40 and so on. When “the numbers” started to fall to their disfavor, they changed the rules about “the numbers”. I like that, Alot. Women have fallen victim to “the numbers” for a long time, always judging our age, our weight, our bwh measurements to be less than desirable. It’s hard. The older we get, the younger the girls in the magazines seem to get. The harder we work on getting and staying slim, heroine sheik becomes the rage, and skinny girls get called fat on TV. What’s going on around here?
The hard reality is that numbers do define us. When I started my weight loss journey — all my numbers were telling me I had reached a pivotal point in my life, and something had to change. My weight, well you all know my weight was 277.2 — a preeetty big number. My blood pressure numbers were borderline hypertension, my blood sugar numbers were pre-diabetic. My age was only 45, but judging by the pain in my feet, the soreness in my lower back, the slowness of my pace as I moved through my life — I felt old for my 45 years. And I hated all of it and wanted to change all of it. So I started to do that, with Weight Watchers and C25K.
Just as I start to get some traction under my tires, the really really hard part begins and another number rears its ugly head. TIME. Ugh. Why can’t it be that once you decide to change, that it all changes. Bing, Bang, Boom. Magic. Change. Voila. Yea, well, it doesn’t work that way. Instead, it’s a path of weekly tracking of food intake and exercise output. Simple, Straight-forward, and Slooooooow. The silver lining hidden deep deep inside the months and years this process takes is that at one point you cross the threshold where you understand….TIME is not my enemy. This is not a race. TIME is a gift, and each day I exercise, and eat healthy, not only am I losing weight, and seeing success on the scale, but I’m adding to my gift of TIME. I’m lengthening my life. I’m giving myself back years to spend with Peter, my daughters and future grandchildren. Once you cross this threshold, you make peace with TIME, and you start to embrace it as a friend. Each pound or fraction of a pound lost each week has been well-earned. And even the weeks when you didn’t lose (or dare I say gain), will lead to some time spent contemplating. Where am I going with this? Am I going back to where I was? Or am I going to grab the reins on this again, and make next week count? I think we both know the answer we eventually make. We use TIME to learn. I can’t imagine a better use of it.
Through the C25K, I started a process of moving. And little did I know, I also started a new Numbers Game. One where I could earn the success I was looking for with minutes and miles. Minutes and miles. Those were numbers I could learn to like. This was a horse of a different color. So I started to train, and I committed, and recommitted, and I failed, and I tried again. I spent 9 weeks X3 until I could run 5K outside, on the road, in the fresh air, under the big blue sky. Then on October 16th, 2011 @1pm in the afternoon — I set off from the starting line with 210 other runners, and ran my first 5K race. I RAN. And I RAN. And I RAN. With every step I took, every touch of earth with my feet, I reaped the benefit of all the minutes and miles I had spent getting to that point. I was a racer, and all of those cheering people, were cheering for me. When I crossed that finish line, my husband snapped my picture with his Nikon camera. My finish-line photo shows me all sweaty and red-faced, but across my face was the biggest smile you could ever imagine.
I was my own HERO. I was a 5K racer. When I crossed that finish line, I was 45 years old. I weighed 209.8pounds, I had lost 67.4 pounds, my blood pressure was normal, my blood sugar was normal. And I finished in 37:47:07. I finished 68 out of 84 women. I finished 184 out of 211. I finished.
So in life, the practical truth is that numbers do define you. But the silver lining is — YOU get to choose which numbers define you. And these new numbers are numbers I can proudly live with. They define the new ME…..for now 🙂
Ciao for now…..Diane