I Hope You Dance


It’s no secret, by now, that my weight loss has been at a plateau for a good six months. And six months can seem like an eternity.

I know there are likely a certain number of my readers that aren’t interested in my blogs unless I’m talking specifically about having lost more weight; everyone loves a success story. We’re drawn to them like moths to light. It’s one of the reasons why I don’t publicly post photos of my progress; on the Internet, there are plenty who would steal progress photos to misrepresent a product or diet. There are even more who would take the opportunity to use a photo of an obese woman to scorn or mock.

(Don’t worry. When I feel I am at a point in my journey where it’s appropriate, I’ll post more than headshots.)

There’s also a certain number of folks who think that if you’re on a weight loss journey and your loss isn’t at a constant, you’re a failure. And frankly, while waltzing across a six-month plateau, I get the niggling feeling at times that I may not be able to progress past where I am at this moment.

Most of actual steps, not stunt steps.

Sure, that concerns me, but not enough to throw my hands up in the air and just say screw it and go back to my old habits. Every day is a choice, and choosing to willingly go backward is the wrong choice. Instead, I’m learning more about my body, with the determination to continue moving forward.

In my journey, weight loss is only part of the story, not the whole story. A journey toward better health must be comprehensive; sure, I’d love to look great in a dress, but more importantly, I want to feel good, move with confidence, improve my lifestyle, discover new capabilities, and live life to my fullest. It’s easy to let the scale be the only focus, at times; and while it’s important to include that as one of the indicators of moving in the right direction, it is, by far, not the most important.

This weekend, I’m on an annual writer’s retreat with a dear friend. (*waves to dear friend!*) The cabin we stay in every year is at the bottom of a hill, directly on the lake; the porch is on stilts over the water. Both of us have to carry our things down a long series of steps to get to the cabin.

The first year I came here, I really struggled with those steps. It took me forever to go up and down them. Imagine carrying a couple bags of concrete, and that’s what I felt like — without even carrying my things. Moving forward a couple years to last year, I was extremely proud of the progress I’d made in handling those steps.

And then there’s this year. Last week, I injured my knee, and it took the better part of a week for it to return to a normal enough state for me to feel confident enough to take the steps. My friend even offered (okay, insisted) that she carry my things down for me; she’s much more fit than I am. But I beat her to the cabin, and I decided I’d give the steps a try.

Mind you, because of variances in my weight at the moment, I’m roughly 15 pounds less in weight than I was this time last year.  (I’ve weighed less.) But I’ve been walking, and I really hadn’t realized how much of a difference that made until I took the steps. Down with a load; no problems. Up, towing an empty cooler on wheels (hey, yes, I cheated a bit, thanks to my hubby for the tip), no problems; just perhaps a 30 second catch-my-breath moment halfway up to the parking lot. Second trip down, no big deal. Trip back up with my friend to go to dinner later? All the way to the top with no stops, somewhat out of breath.

Last year, it took me the better part of an hour to fetch everything, including breaks to rest. I didn’t need to do that this time, and I also took fewer trips. I certainly wasn’t Rocky Balboa running the streets of Philly (I hope I have that movie reference right!), but my fitness level this year far exceeds even last year. And that matters — a lot.

I still harbor thoughts of taking myself out of things because of perceived discomfort or the possibility of not being able to do something, but I’m more of a risk taker these days. These may be small risks in the light of what normal people do on a daily basis, but the more I do them, the more they become my normal. It is, as they say in the diet world, a huge non-scale victory (NSV).

As a follow-up to last week, I’m happy to report that I’m moving forward with plans to increase my ability to walk. I’m breaking in a new brace that will hopefully extend my abilities while stabilizing my knee in the interim between now and surgery. While I’m not crazy about having to use another brace, since this is my third one, I’m willing to do what it takes to get me further to my goals.

I’m not gonna sit it out. I’m gonna dance.


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