This post was inspired, in part, by a journal entry I just wrote. I have finished, for the first time in my life, a journal. As a writer, I have always been intrigued by the idea of journal writing. Buying a new journal is so fun, probably because standing in the middle of a bookstore is one of the most inspiring, motivating feelings I have ever experienced. In the past, when I would sit down to write for the first time I was so ambitious. I envisioned myself writing down every day and keeping books upon books of journals. The first post was always the “start of something new…”, but I never followed through with it. I always gave up. Whether it be journal writing, weight loss, or any and all new hobby I ever got excited about, planned profusely, and ended up giving up for no good reason.
Let me tell you why.
This sounds so weird out loud and maybe I’m not explaining it properly, but I am going to try. Up until a point last July, when I was at an amusement park with my sister and brother and was worried about going on the rides, not because of the fear of the thrill but the fear of my weight, I never really lived. It wasn’t because of my weight that I was so shy and awkward and lazy and not “living,” but because of my fears, social anxiety, and the thought, the dangerous/all-consuming/crippling idea that I was not good enough, that I didn’t deserve anything, that I wasn’t worth fighting for, affected my weight. I was so consumed with my, not so much self-loathing as self-fears, that I didn’t pay attention to myself. I never really enjoyed life until I realized that in order to live, I needed to be active.
That day in July was a moment in my life that had been building for awhile. On my 21st birthday I was my highest weight, a number that I am still ashamed of, but will no longer hide, 268. Between then and March, when I joined weight watchers, I lost about 15 pounds, putting me at 258. My friends, Katie and Erin, had started weight watchers, so after a trip to Europe to visit my roommate, Stephanie, I thought it was time to give that a try. A real try, unlike in the past where I thought just having joined was going to help. It didn’t. I needed to work at it–the hard part. I started off strong and lost another 12 pounds, but once summer started I started to be more lax about it and almost gave up. But it was that day at the amusement park that woke me up. I was at 248 when it hit me. I didn’t have to be that weight. I didn’t have to live my life that way. But the only person who could do anything about it was me.
And I did. Between that day in mid-July and today, I weigh in at 178 pounds. A full 90 pounds down from my biggest weight on my 21st. I’m not done, I have about 35-40 more pounds I want to lose, but my ideal weight is not the biggest thing. It’s that I’m healthy. I may have more fat to lose, but I have healthy muscle, I have a healthy workout routine, and I follow healthy eating habits. I can do it, however long it might take, and I will because I refuse to give up on myself. I refuse to fall back. The biggest thing about weight is health, physical and emotional. But my weight loss is only the physical result of something much larger.
Sometimes I feel like I haven’t made any strides at all, but I at least have physical proof.
I fight for myself, I make myself proud, and I follow through with the things I want to do because I deserve to be happy. Of course I still struggle and fail, but the difference is now I know how to get myself back up again. I fight for myself and through that, I have had success and happiness.
And for the first time, I finished a journal. It’s not a big thing in the long run, but it’s a habit I started and followed through, and will continue to do, because I enjoy it. I don’t allow the mental block I sometimes feel overcome me, I push through it and will continue to do so.
I hope that in reading this, you don’t feel like I’m tooting my own horn. I don’t think I’m something extra special just because I did this. I know other people have done it too, but that’s the point. I used to read stories of people having lost weight and thought in my heart that I could never do it. But I did. And that’s the thing, whether it be losing weight, finishing a journal, being a lawyer, or doctor, astronaut, mother, father, WHATEVER IT IS YOU WANT TO DO, you can do it. So long as you believe in yourself and fight for yourself.
I am one of the lucky ones because I have the best support I can ask for in my family. I have amazing friends and even a cat and a dog who support, love, and inspire me every day. Each and every single one of them have been there for me every day and that’s incredible and unfortunately not the case for everyone. They believed in and loved me even when I couldn’t and that is something you don’t forget and you don’t take for granted. With and in their love and support I have flourished, but they couldn’t magically fix my problems, they can’t solve them for me or themselves because as humans we will always struggle. But you can help yourself, no matter what, if you just give yourself a fighting chance, in the big or little ways. Fight for yourself and the people you love. Life is a journey and every good, bad, happy, sad, frustrating part that happens makes you who you are. Just get out there and start living while you can.