As of this evening, I am officially done with the first part of my weight-loss program and have graduated into the more independent maintenance phase. Such a moment lends itself to reflection, since my graduation certificate even included a “before” and “after” photo. What have I learned on the journey to “after”?
- Change is comprised of a million, mostly unseen, steps. Countless meals I did (and did not) choose to eat. Literally hundreds of thousands of steps. Choosing to show up to my meetings every week, especially when I was afraid what the scale would say. I need to recognize that even though I had the benefit of a structured program, it was still hard work. I have fought hard to get to this place, and that work neither can be done nor undone in a day. Making the decisions I needed to means I am not the same person I was when I began. Bad days don’t mean I am the same person I was 30 weeks ago (this is particularly hard for me to believe). Small victories need to be celebrated because when piled on top of one another, those so-called small victories win the war.
- I am not the exception. I’ve heard all of the basic weight-loss tips: track your eating; get accountability; exercise on most days; don’t bring junk food where you can easily get it; weigh in regularly. For some reason, I assumed that I could somehow get around them, as if I were the exception. I’m not. If I’m going to be successful, I need to take seriously the advice/warnings of people who’ve been in my shoes or worked with people just like me. This is a surprisingly comforting thought, since that means there is a bevy of good information and tools at my disposal. I just need to make sure I use them because…
- There is no “after”. Even though I’ve graduated, I’m not done. I’ve spent the past 30 weeks preparing for the rest of my life. Now I’m here. I’ve taken countless steps in this direction. I’ve built in the habits and tools to help keep me going. I just need to keep going. I absolutely believe that I could end up right where I was. Of course, it won’t be overnight, but it’s possible. If I believe that I’m done, I’m done for. As I told the director of the program, “Graduating from here is like graduating kindergarten. It’s a real graduation, but if I quit there, I’m gonna have a hard time.”
All in all, I’m very glad I made this decision. It has stretched me and shown me that I’m capable of more than I thought I was. I’m healthier than I’ve been as an adult. I’m wearing a size I haven’t worn since junior high! I’m excited about the possibilities. It’s a good place.