i ain't lost - just wandering

I started my weight loss journey with one thought in mind. And that thought was that I would make no excuses.

I did well with no excuses for a few months. There were morning workouts and everyday afternoon workouts in the pool. I tracked almost every morsel of food that I put into my mouth. I weighed myself weeklydaily and saw a consistent (slow) loss.

I struggled through some of the first months, but I still did something almost every day. There were days when I ate more than I should have, as well as things I shouldn't have, but I continued to track the calories.

I saw a stall in my weight. I found it more difficult to wake up in the morning. I stopped having someone to meet at the gym. And then I stopped going to the gym in the morning. I stopped tracking what I ate. And I started making excuses.

For the past several weeks, I realized that the excuses were getting out of hand. Every night, I set my alarm, and every morning, I woke up with the alarm but made the choice to reset the alarm and fall back into a not so very restful sleep. And every day, I regretted the choice and promised myself that I would wake up the next morning for a workout.

My excuses were vast. No one to go work out with. Dogs who wanted to cuddle in the morning. A late night the day before. The fact that I could go work out after work or during lunch. Needing a break. Letting my muscles rest.

In moderation, those things are good. There does need to be rest. Some mornings it is okay to feed my soul by cuddling with the dogs instead of lifting weights and sweating through my sports bra. But when the reasons for not working out overpower the number of workouts in a week, there is a problem.

I saw the problem, but I didn't see a solution. I wanted motivation that just wasn't coming. I also wanted it to be easy, but it wasn't easy. It was really hard.

But that's the point. If exercise and weight loss were easy, then no one would sit on the couch and contemplate heading into the gym instead of actually heading into the gym. Because it's hard, a person has to make a daily choice to exercise and an hourly choice to eat well and eat for the right reasons.

Armed with a week off work, a pair of new shoes, and a new heart rate monitor, I am back into the game of making no more excuses.

It started on Friday. I left for the gym and concentrated through a 30-minute circuit work-out. And then, on Saturday, I dropped my husband off at the golf course and then made my way to the gym. A little over an hour later, I was sweaty and had burned off almost 600 calories. I felt invigorated and excited to be back at the gym. Sunday morning came, and I promised myself I would make it to the gym that day - whether in the early hours of the day or later in the day.

It didn't happen this morning, and when the afternoon rolled around, the skies continued to drop several inches of rain and partially flood the roadways. The easy thing would have been to said it wasn't safe to drive. The easy thing would have been to change into a sweatshirt and cuddle up on the couch. But I didn't want to do the easy thing.

So I started by putting my shorts and tee-shirt on. Then I slipped my feet into my new shoes and jogged out into the rain. I took the drive slowly, but I made it to the gym. Nothing was going to hold me back.

The heart rate monitor I received tracks my workouts. It also suggests how many hours a week I should spend exercising in order to lose weight,  and it informs me of what "zone" I am in as well as how much time I need to spend in each zone every week to meet my goals. It's like a personal trainer but without all the yelling.

I wore it on Saturday, and I wore it on Sunday. And already I don't know what I did without it. Seeing the number of calories I've burned as well as knowing what my average heart rate is inspires me and makes me want to push myself more. I'm able to let go of the handrail on the treadmill and actually run for part of my cardio work out.

Now, I want to make a workout plan and stick to it. Now, I am excited for pressing the "train" button on my heart rate monitor and then pushing myself to run for a whole minute and then walk and then run again for a whole minute. I lose seeing my heart rate get above 158 and knowing that I did it on my own without someone pushing me and forcing me to work off the pounds.

And then, when I sit down to eat, I want to make better choices. I don't want to eat something greasy and fried just for the sake of eating something greasy and fried. There are moments when I will make the decision to have pizza for dinner, and those moments are okay as long as they are just moments and not every single day of the week happenings.

So what is my plan? I want to work out once every day for the next few weeks. But if a work out doesn't happen one day, I want to be okay with that. And I want to work out for the sake of working out - not to make up for the poor choices I made earlier in the day (as I've had a tendency to do). I know that food plays just as much, if nor more of, a role as exercise does. But I also know that the more I exercise the better I will eat. So I will start with time spent in the gym, and I will finish with better choices in the kitchen.

My exercise plan is as follows:
Is it ambitious? Yes. Impossible? No.

This time it is up to me. There will be no one to meet at the gym in the mornings. No one to decide when I complete each work out. No one except for me. And as much as I want that assistance, that accountability, I know that this journey is a solo journey and every decision comes down to me.

I'll either succeed because of my hard work and determination. Or I will fail. No one else can make me do it. And while it's a difficult realization to come to, I'm excited that no one else will be able to take credit for my success.

(title from "hometown glory" by adele)


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