Tuesday, May 27, 2008

New Heights

Ten months ago, when I weighed 278 pounds, I was severely limited by my weight. Actually, it seems like something terrible happened to my body somewhere between 245 and 278 pounds: it became difficult to just LIVE. Even though 245 is far from skinny or even healthy, I was still able to do a lot of things (even if it took more effort) like go up and down stairs. But there was a major breakdown of sorts by the time I hit 278. It was hard to walk. It was hard to breathe. It was hard to sleep. The only thing that wasn't hard to do was to eat.

At 278 pounds, this seemed like a huge summit for me to climb:


Just to get into my house, I had to get up a dozen stairs. Last summer, I had to take these stairs *very* slowly. It was painful for me. I had to take one step at a time, placing both feet on each step and holding onto the wall like a toddler. My knees would crackle and snap. My legs would almost give out. By the time I got to the top, I was out of breath and exhausted. As you can imagine, I went out as little as possible.

Last weekend, I took my kids on a little vacation. We traveled to this beautiful location:


This is one of the tallest waterfalls in America. We went here last summer, too. I remember sitting on a bench near where this picture was taken, waiting while my kids and husband hiked up there to that bridge. See that beautiful stone bridge up above the lower falls, between the trees? My family hiked up there last year, and I waited with all the other fat people on benches below. But this weekend, I hiked up there with my kids. All the way up to that stone bridge, where I could feel the mist of the waterfall and hear the water roar. It was beautiful. Amazing. And I walked all the way up there without stopping to rest, or falling over dead, or hurting myself. Granted, it is only about a quarter mile hike, but it is STEEP, and it took a lot of exertion for me as well as some thinner looking people who were going up there. For someone who less than a year ago could hardly make it up their front steps, this is a pretty big improvement. And I am proud of myself for making the changes that enabled me to do this.

The rest of our vacation was nice as well. We walked more than I have walked in years. We ate our meals out, but I did not go nuts. When my kids had bacon burgers and chicken fried steaks, I got a half order of barbecued chicken salad, with the dressing on the side. It was wonderful, with greens, barbecued chicken breast, cheese, jicama, roasted corn and tomato salsa, and black beans. I drank lots of water. We had a "free continental breakfast" at the hotel, and my kids went down and brought me back a big, fresh donut. "Look, Mom, they had your favorite kind! Custard filled with chocolate frosting! We brought you one!" Argh!! But I sweetly declined and the boys wolfed it down for me as I ate my slice of wheat toast with peanut butter and a banana. The kids ate CHEETOS in the hotel room, and I ate low fat microwave popcorn. We all had fun together. I indulged a bit, enjoyed our weekend, and came back at 223 pounds.

You have it in your power to change your life. I have a new goal. I noticed when I was at the waterfall that there is another hiking path. It goes to the TOP of the falls. It is one mile of steep trails but I imagine the view would be fantastic. My goal is to hike to the top of the falls next summer. I will have to clear it with my orthopedic surgeon because of my knee issues, but I think he will not object unless I am in pain. Riding my bike has really strengthened my knees and stabilized them so much. The last time my ortho saw me I was about 260 pounds and limping. Boy is he going to be surprised!

Reach some new heights. Start now. The journey begins with just one step.

22 comments:

Laine said...

Every time I read one of your posts, I think "She is so inspirational" and I want to comment and tell you. You just get what needs to be done, and you do it. You don't say "oh, I'm on vacation so I'll throw my health out the window, and eat that donut and those cheetos and not try to climb that path, and then when I get home I'll be good again."

You have the skills to keep going on this journey, and to get up that path next year, and more and higher peaks after that.

I just love your blog. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

Kathy said...

I think a lot of people feel they have to lose all their extra weight to feel better and this is just not true, as you pointed out so well.

Looks like a beautiful place to visit.

Trisha J. said...

CONGRATS on the changes you have made and the difference it has made in your life! I KNOW you will reach your goal of climbing the higher path! And good for you for not "throwing in the towel" just b/c it was a vacation! These changes have become a life style! Good for you.

Heather said...

that is wonderful! I am so happy for you, and it looks like an amazing time.

Deb said...

I loved reading your post. I am just re-starting for the millionth time and I can't wait to see what changes I will see in myself in the next year. I completey understand how there are certain weights where things just seem to go from "OK, not great" to "Holy crap, life is HARD!" I passed that weight 15 pounds ago and am looking forward to making the same changes you did. Thanks so much for blogging your journey. It raelly is inspirational to those of us who are just starting out.

Ceres said...

Beautiful post, thanks Lyn! I'm sure the view will be lovely when you get to the top :-)
I admire how you stick to eating healthily during holidays. I still find that really challenging.
By the way, I posted a couple of recipes (tzatziki sauce and greek-style burgers) on http://cereslosesweight.blogspot.com/ some time ago, and I plan to post new recipes soon.

Dawn said...

Great job! You will be able to do that bigger hike next year. You are doing great.

TB--Milwaukee said...

One step at a time...someone on the WW message board was talking about how the "big" numbers seem so unachieveable while smaller numbers like 10% or 5 lbs. sound so much more achieveable. Your 5 lbs. are adding up and you got the right motivation too.

Roxanne said...

What a fantastic goal to set for yourself. I can't wait to see the beautiful pictures you'll be able to take from the top. :)

e said...

Your journey is so inspirational. I love your blog!

Nykky said...

I'm always feeling frustrated and right now I am in a slump. You really help me to want to keep going. Thank you.

I bet feeling that mist was so wonderful.

I read your blog all the time, you are kicking butt!

Poonie said...

What a wonderful post. Very inspiring and motivational. You are doing great, good luck with your continued success.

nicole said...

I've been to where your talking about and it is a huge walk. I've always wanted to be able to get to the top, maybe one day!! keep it up and good job at doing well w/ eating on vacation!

RunningNan said...

I love reading your posts. You always make me want to get out and do stuff right now. It's a shame I'm at work!

This just validates what I was planning last night. I know of some steps that I can train on that I will run up and down. Keeping things different for my body.

I'm so proud of you!

Anonymous said...

Lyn, what a great post! Congrats on your awesome NSV! I started my journey at 245 and was beginning to really notice how my world was shrinking. I completely understand what you mean about those stairs. Now a year later I celebrate all the things I can do that I couldn't do then. One of my big goals has been an arduous mountain climb to a beautiful spot near us that I have always wanted to see. I hope to do it soon. And I can't wait to see your pictures when you climb your mountain!

Dottie said...

Wow, that is an incredible achievement! I deal with awful knee pain and it's limiting me. I weigh lots more than 278. I've never seen an ortho before, what other types of things has he recommended aside from bike riding? I really want to lose weight and even walking gets difficult. I walk for a little bit, but then the pain kicks in and many times I give in. It totally sucks. Great job on your victory.

Lyn said...

Dottie,

I had the most incredible and constant knee pain for so long. I could barely walk across the street to the mailbox. The ortho told me to try swimming but even the "slow" water aerobics put my knees into severe agony. Try swimming. I have bone spurs in my knees, severe degenerative arthristis, and a torn meniscus. Also the ortho told me to ride the recumbent exercise bike which I love and which I credit for strengthening my muscles, stabilizing my knees and allowing me to be able to walk up to about a mile without a lot of pain. Losing the weight takes a lot of pressure off the knees too. Also you could do quad presses in some form to strengthen the quads and stabilize the knees. Good luck and check back in :)

Honi said...

look at you go girl.. you and I are on the same page .. you made some healthier swaps in the food zone .. and you did not miss the greasy stuff I bet.. and look at you going on that Hike how cool is that.. congrats on all of your achievments and I so love this blog.. it always inspires me to keep on keeping on!!

Kirsten said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mal said...

You're a really, really good writer. Thank you so much for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Boy, I really admire your tenacity.
I am doing the slow method also.
It is best, and it is wise.
There really is no hurry. I love your posts.
Best wishes.

Paula

Anonymous said...

I have searched for a person who has embarked on this journey "Back to Life" from Obesity. Like you I have been obese for over ten years. Kids are are in their 20's and I now have grandkids. The moment of devastation, came when my 4 year old grandson said "C'mon grandma get on the slide with me" at a playground and I could not fit on the slide to go down with him. I weigh 245 and its an all time high. Thank you for expanding on so much... that those of us on this journey can use as tools to aid us in "staying the course" What you wrote about the difference between motivation and commitment in particular truly has helped me. Your experience has given me hope. I think I can do this.