i'm right here

Wednesday was my six-month anniversary.

Six months ago, after months of feeling sick and being in constant pain, I learned my liver enzymes were slightly elevated and that I had non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. It wasn't the answer I expected, and other than diet, there was no other information given to me about why my enzymes were elevated. The doctor didn't really know why, and there was no real way of finding out other than having a biopsy. Instead, he decided I should come in once every six months.

So I went back to the doctor on Wednesday.

I was ready. I had lost 25 pounds in six months. The number wasn't as high as I wanted. But I was excited to step onto the scale in the doctor's office and then talk with him about how I had lost 25 pounds.

My first experience with this doctor wasn't the best, but Wednesday made up for the first experience. He told me I was doing great - that I was losing the weight the best way possible. He reminded me that it was better to lose the weight slowly - by diet and exercise - because I was much more likely to keep it off.

I left the doctor's office excited about my weight loss and with a bruised right elbow due to having blood drawn for another test on my liver enzymes. Both the doctor and I expected the levels to be lower. In fact, he even said we would test the enzymes just to see how much they had gone down, and he said he would then have his office call me with the results.

Six hours later, I got the call. My liver enzymes were higher now than they had been six months ago. The doctor wasn't concerned. I wasn't being prescribed any medication. But I felt the weight settle onto me.

I had a choice. I could give into the feelings that nothing I was doing enough. I could give into the thought that counting calories, sweating at the gym, and not eating fast food was no longer worth it. I could see this journey in two ways: the lack of weight lost on the scale and the liver enzymes being elevated. Or I could show everyone wrong and remind my body that no matter what it threw at me I was going to beat this thing and be healthy.

I took about 15 minutes to be upset. And angry. Frustrated. Sad. Worried. And confused. Then, I chose to show everyone wrong and remind my body that I was in control.

I had started the day off with a 30-minute work out on the stationary bicycle and burned 233 calories before even stepping foot into the doctor's office. When I stepped back into the gym that afternoon, I was determined to burn at least 600 calories.

Ninety minutes later, I walked out of the gym having burned 857 calories. Not only that, I walked out of the gym with a new outlook. As much as I loved that I burned 1090 calories for the day, I loved the outlook even more.

When I work out, I need to have music that pushes me and inspires me. Some days I listen to nothing but *N Sync and music by *N Sync members. Other days, I listen to a mix of Britney Spears and Pink. Today, I listened to what used to be my circuit training playlist. Fifteen minutes into my 40 minute elliptical work out, an old song came on. A song that not too many people know called Girl From The Gutter by Kina.

As the words came through my earbuds, I increased my speed and focused my attention on the wall in front of me. Memories of people who had hurt me, things people had said, things I had told myself I could never do rushed through my head. I pushed myself faster and moved my hips and my arms even more. When the song ended, I hit the back button and started it over again.

I still have work to do. I think I will always have some work to do. But I know that I have less work to do now than I did last week.

I'm letting go of the things that have held me back. The fears I have. The worries that sometimes consume me. The reasons I've eaten too much at some points in my life and too little at other times. The excuses I have made and the things I have said I could never do.

Because I can do this. I can lose this weight and keep it off. I can make good choices and correct the damage that has been done to my body. And I will do all of it.

Every day is a choice. A choice on what to eat and how much to eat. A choice to go to the gym and how hard to push myself. A choice to drink water and how much of it to drink. A choice to put myself and my journey first.

Wednesday I made the right choices. And I made a choice not to give up. I'll make the same choice today, tomorrow, the next day, and the next day.

Because I am going to do this. No matter what.

(title from "girl from the gutter" by kina)

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