Take your time

file_000-22All of us who reach the point where we want to make a change in our lives to get healthy and/or fit want those changes to happen immediately. I know; I wanted this to happen, too. However, it’s neither realistic nor safe to do it too quickly.

When Sherry and I started our first Whole30, we decided that we weren’t after huge or incredible rates of weight loss. We wanted slow and steady. We wanted to be safe, and we wanted our weight loss to be sustainable long-term. We also wanted to avoid some of the side effects and risks people face when losing weight too quickly. It turned out to be the right decision, because neither Sherry nor I suffered from any of the ill effects some people suffer when losing weight too fast.

Ironically, there were people who admonished me about losing weight too quickly. They saw me losing weight on Facebook or here on the blog, and they didn’t realize how long ago I started the process. To them, it looked like I had lost weight overnight. I can confirm that my weight loss was definitely not overnight.

I lost 20 lbs in the first month, but I was nearly 300 lbs. Losing that 20 lbs was not noticeable to anyone; not even to me! I had lost 50 lbs before anyone noticed, and 80 lbs before I could really tell. At 100 lbs lost, I felt like I looked really different, and now at 110 lbs lost, I’m a different person. However, I didn’t get here overnight. I didn’t even get here over the period of a few months; it took over a year.

We don’t always see the progress we make. It’s hard when you see yourself day after day in the mirror. Those changes become invisible to you. That’s why status photos are so important. I took them every few weeks, and only then was I really able to tell how much I had lost.

My fitness has been taking the same route. I started running over five weeks ago, and I’m just now starting to get to a point where running is effortless. On my run this morning, I ran the entire three miles without pain, and without feeling like I was exerting a whole lot of energy. I wasn’t taking it easy; I had set a pretty good pace for myself (a record pace for the first half mile, even!) yet my body was rewarding me with all the work I’d put in over the past five weeks by making this run easy.

It didn’t happen overnight either. It took weeks of running slowly, of building up the distance and the pace to get to where I am today. I’m nowhere near where I want to be, and that’s what I will work on over the coming weeks and months, but I am very happy to be where I am today. I’m a runner, I’m no longer overweight, and my health is good (just had a physical last week!).

Take your time. You’ll get there. Concentrate on being good and eating the right foods now and taking exercise when you feel that you can do so without hurting yourself. Even then, take it slow. You’re not in a race. The good changes will happen, and the results you’re after will come. It just takes patience, discipline, and determination.

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