Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A Journey of Discovery and Weight Loss~ Part 2

Yesterday, I shared what I had learned two years ago. I've learned even more about myself since then. I want to focus today's post on what I like to call:

"happy movement" and healthy, intuitive eating.

I talked about how key running was in this weight loss journey. The running thing was a gift in so many ways. I was able to truly get to my edge. To see what I was made of. It brought me joy. You might have heard that running can be addictive. The phrase "runner's high" was and is so true for me. I loved the way it made me feel, and pretty soon I found myself running almost every day; averaging over 30 miles a week. If I couldn't get my run in, I was not a happy camper. It almost became an obsession. I loved pushing myself. I loved the freedom and power I felt.

I signed up for races. They were so much fun. My first was the Ragnar Wasatch Back Relay. Three legs of running (with 11 other team members) between 4-8 miles in a 24 hour period. Then, a 10K soon followed by a half marathon. The crowning glory was the marathon (all 26.2 miles) I ran last May. I was at my peak and thought I was invincible. Invincible, but dog-dead, all- the- time, tired.

The Ragnar gals. Team "Scrambled Legs and Achin' "

Freedom Run 10K with Dave and Stuart

at the half- marathon finish line with the Mowers

Boy, did I get dropped hard when that was over and done.

Marathon Glory

That marathon did me in. My battle with ITband and hip tightness/pain has basically put things to a stand still now for almost 9 months. I plowed away at it, though, pushing through the hurt that would never seem to end. It was one of the hardest things for me to deal with. My biggest fear, always at the back of my mind was: If I can't run, does that mean I'll gain all that weight back again? I had made so much progress. I had to cope with this loss and setback, both physically as well as emotionally. I then made the realization that I was using all that running to try to prove something, to search for something, to find something. I think that something was myself. Me. Emily.

That forced time- out really was a blessing in disguise. I was required now to slow down (in more ways than one) and accept my body's limitations. I needed to learn and develop patience with the things I have no control over, whether it was this situation, my body, or other people's behavior and actions. I needed to find other "happy ways" to move my body. I found joy in taking long walks. I relished that time; whether it was alone, with my dear sweet friend, or with someone in my family. Going slower now, I could think. I could pray. I could observe.

I also don't think I would have found yoga and all the benefits that came with it. I had found and became comfortable with stillness in my life. Like the running, I liked how my yoga practice helped me find my "edge". Finding ease in the poses transferred into finding ease in my life off the mat. I can't quite put it into words, but this gift of yoga became a catalyst for profound spiritual growth for me.

It looks like running may be coming back into my life now. I missed it and love it still. Through it all, I hope I learned what I needed to learn- and that is the lesson of having balance, kindness and patience with myself, my body, my limitations. One of the biggest lessons I've learned throughout this whole experience is that I'm not my body; fat or thin, fast or slow. This body, along with my mind and my spirit, form my complete self; my soul. There must be balance among the three. Each area's growth and development effect the stability of the others. The way I take care of my body, this temple my spirit resides in, profoundly effects the quality of my life. It can and has served me well.

As I'm approaching the three year mark of my 65 pound weight loss, I can honestly and gratefully say that I'm about the same weight I was back then. I've stopped weighing myself so I don't know for sure. I decided that standing on the scale everyday wasn't necessary. I was tired of the negative self- talk I gave myself if I saw that I'd gained a few pounds. I've learned that one's weight fluctuates daily. Hormones play a role. I think there's still fear there, though. I know that since I'm not running like I was when I was at my peak, I might have gained a few pounds. To see that difference on the scale is a frightening thought for me. I can acknowledge that fear. I am still wearing the same dress size, though. Still fitting nicely in the same clothes. To me, that's a better gauge, all-in-all.

As far as "diet" goes, I'm not on one. Yes, I did try to get back to discipline when I got off white sugar for the whole month of January. I really don't see much of a difference in the way I felt or in my weight. That wasn't what I was after, anyway. All the things I've learned about me these past years helped me see that I can make a goal and be disciplined with myself in doing what I set my mind to.

My eating habits have evolved. What was hard to change, has now become a way of life. I eat and crave whole, nutrient- dense foods. I lean towards a mostly plant- based, clean diet. (I can't get enough vegetables. I love them!) I do get hungry and I eat. That's okay. I've learned to listen to my body. I stop when I'm full. My desire, more than the instant gratification of stuffing my face and filling my stomach, is to nourish my body with what it needs, and that doesn't include junky, dead, overly-processed, greasy food. I've learned to respect my body. That doesn't mean I don't have my cravings, though. I think we all need treats once in a while. With this new month of February, I plan on maintaining the no-sugar thing just because I've made that my habit, my taste buds have adapted, and know that it's best for me, but I still will allow myself the chocolate and ice cream when I'm in those occasional social situations that present themselves.

It's about balance. It's about listening to your body. It's about being kind to your body.

Tomorrow's post: "Am I Beautiful?"


  1. (the puppy is eating!) this is just another really good post. I am so glad you did this. Every word you wrote rang to true for me. Yes, I am running again too. But there will be no more full marathons in my near future if ever again. Maybe a 1/2 marathon. I do like that distance.

    I have slid lately in my eating. Hence a detox coming soon which I am researching. Can't wait for your next post : )

  2. Emily, thank you for sharing! Reading your posts from yesterday and today has been like a ray of sunshine.

  3. You overcame! So inspiring to read what you learned in this part of your journey...and that you're teaching me so much. I could wait to came home this evening and read your blog. Thanks, Emily. xoxos

  4. Emily, I am so touched by your experience and your blog! (I have spent the last hour reading your wonderful thoughts) Thank you for being willing to share your true self. You are an amazing and yes, BEAUTIFUL person INSIDE and OUT! THANK YOU for being YOU!