May 18 – Making a heart-felt promise to myself

“A true commitment is a heart-felt promise to yourself from which you will not back down.” (David McNally)

On this blog I usually resist writing about my weight loss journey, but today I cannot. The lessons of the last 11 weeks fit this quote perfectly, and fit my overall view of what it means to truly commit.

As I have written on my health blog, I had made faint-hearted attempts to lose weight and be in better shape many times in the past. I would join family members and co-workers in weight loss challenges, make proclamations about increased trips to the gym, and make a point about avoiding this food or that. With one exception, all of these previous attempts failed, some more quickly than others.

In my mind, the reason they failed was that in all cases I was making a commitment because of an external force. My doctor wanted me to get my blood sugar under control, others around me were looking to lose weight, there was a monetary gain to be had, and so on. It wasn’t until I made that “heart-felt promise” to myself that success became an option.

Back during the holidays, I knew that I wasn’t happy with what I saw in the mirror, or what I felt when I was active. I was seeing far more me than I wanted to, especially if I turned profile. When I would do something simple like climb a flight of stairs, it would cause joint pain and loss of breath. At work I would take the elevator to go up just one floor because I didn’t want to feel out of breath, and didn’t want to deal with knee pain. I was putting myself in a death spiral – more pain meant less activity, and less activity meant more pain.

I had a doctor appointment on February 28th. In the days leading up to that appointment I was sure I wanted to do something about my situation. I weighed in the morning of the visit, and was at the highest weight I had ever seen on the scale. (To be fair, I wasn’t weighing myself very often, so it is possible that at some point I had weighed more and accidentally dropped some before that morning). When I saw 345 I was saddened. When I went to the doctor, my A1C was up for the 3rd time in a row, not significantly up, but up nonetheless. She attributed it to the holidays, which might have been a convenient excuse, but that day I was having none of it.

It was at that visit, and in the hours immediately after, that I made the commitment to myself to become healthier. I re-started Weight Watchers, launched my blog, and started going to the gym. The difference this time from previous times was that I was doing this out of a commitment to myself. I wanted to be a better me, and I knew that the best way to make a big improvement on my self-image was to take charge of this part of my life.

In the 11 weeks since, I have shed 10% of my body weight. Today I feel better than I have in years. I no longer avoid the stairs at work, and even will take extra trips up and down just for the fun of it. I still have a long way to go. If on the morning of February 28th, I had woken up at this weight, I would still have wanted to make a radical change. So, my story is incomplete.

But, I am confident that the success of my story will continue. The reason I am confident is that this commitment I have made is to myself, and it is heartfelt, and I have no intention of backing off. I have seen some success already, and I know there is much more to come. All because of this commitment.

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