Exactly two years ago I was weighing in at almost 170 pounds. I was wearing a size 12 in women’s clothing. The most exercise I got every day was going up and down the stairs of the apartment we lived in, and walking two miles to pick my son, Jack, up from his elementary school. It was one mile there and one mile back. That doesn’t really sound like much if you are used to walking a lot. But when you have to do that in a Texas April and May, that’s actually not a lot of fun. In April we usually are hitting temperatures in the 80’s and in May, they can reach 99 easy. With humidity being anywhere from 30-50% it’s a nightmare. It was hard and I hated every minute of the walk. I didn’t manage to lose weight but I didn’t gain that much either.
My personality was a little different as well. I didn’t say “I can” a lot. There were things I knew I could do but some of the hard things, like committing to losing weight or changing how I saw myself, well, I would tell myself “I can’t”. The problem was one of I wanted to change but I didn’t believe I could. I always had hope, and in some small aspect I knew I could do it, but I just couldn’t motivate myself to do so. I didn’t know how to even begin. The few times I even tried, I’d just get discouraged. So what changed?
For one, we moved into a two-story house in a good neighborhood in April of last year. The move itself caused me to begin losing weight, although I never noticed until November. A week before my best friend, Laura, came down from Chicago for a visit I noticed my clothes were a little loose. So, I stepped on the scale for the first time in a year. I was 148 pounds. That was just from walking up and down the stairs every day with laundry or to go to my room, bathroom, etc. I couldn’t get into a size 10 but it gave me a little hope. I was still out of breath when going up and down the stairs. Then the weekend before Thanksgiving my dad passed away. Even though I knew it was coming, it still threw me for a loop. I grieved (some days I still struggle with it) and I fought letting that grief become depression. By December, I had actually lost more weight and I could now see a difference. I felt better and I had more energy. It gave me hope.
I started watching how much I was eating and what I was eating. I stopped drinking sodas. Laura sent me an email about The Color Run and I began thinking about doing it. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do it. I was going to do it. I started planning. I emailed Laura and told her I would do it and I started thinking about how to accomplish it. I was so out of shape. On January 1, 2014 I weighed in at 137 pounds. That was a full 30 pounds difference in 8 months. I was encouraged. That same day I began my plan. I started walking around our neighborhood. I walked as fast as I could and I didn’t let myself slow down. By the time I got home I was completely out of breath and by the next day my legs and feet hurt pretty bad. Despite the pain I got up the next day and did it again. And again. And again. I kept going. Every day I could I walked around the neighborhood. Every day I watched what I ate and drank. I began drinking, and craving, water. I then added ankle weights of 1.5 pounds each when the walking became easier. I started hurting again. During all of this I was also doing squats, push-ups, and leg lifts.
There has not been a single day since I began that I have not hurt. Every part of my body aches and screams at me in pain. But I wake up every day and I get up and do it all again. The pain isn’t so bad anymore until I raise the bar, and then it starts all over again. However, I am getting stronger. My legs can take more pain now. I am breathing easier and sleeping better at night. I used to have migraines often, but I haven’t had one in a month. I started running,and now I don’t even feel the pain when I run. It completely disappears. I even conquered the incline that kicks my butt. The problem with that, though, is that every time I raise the bar I have to conquer The Hill. Yesterday, I raised the bar.
I’ve been doing intervals of run 2 minutes, walk 1.5 minutes. Yesterday, I ran 2 minutes, walked 1 minute. You might think that’s nothing but you should try doing it when you have to re-train your body to physical activity. I made it to The Hill but before I got there I changed my plan a little. Instead of walking for 1 minute before I got to The Hill, I walked for 1.5 minutes then I ran my 2 minutes up The Hill. I even thought of just continuing to do my 1.5 minute walks in between running but I didn’t. I continued doing my run 2, walk 1 plan. I couldn’t get past my house, though. Not yesterday. But that was okay. I pushed myself as far as I could and I succeeded. And then I took some Ibuprofen and tried not to cry hours later when the pain hit.
Today I woke up and did it again. It was easier than yesterday. I didn’t even have to extend my 1 minute walk intervals. I ran, I walked, over and over. I got up The Hill with no problems, and I went past my house. I went halfway around the neighborhood, in fact. I ran/walked for a full 30 minutes. The goal is to run for 30 minutes straight at the end of 8 weeks. Today when I looked at the training schedule for The Color Run I realized something amazing. I misread it. I’m supposed to be on Week 1 training which is run 1 minute, walk 90 seconds. Week 2 training is run 2 minutes, walk 1 minute. I’m actually ahead of where I should be right now. And tonight, I’m hurting but I’m not in pain. Today I am 134 pounds and I’m wearing a size 8 comfortably. But I’m not stopping there.
The whole point of this story is to correlate the above picture quote to the action. I used to be a person who said “I can’t”. I am not that person anymore. “I can” is a conscious thought every day now. I write these posts, not just for my readers, but to inspire myself and show the person I am how far I am coming. My current dream right now is to do that run. That’s all. I made a plan and I am sticking to it. I have other dreams and goals, and now I know that “I can” and “I will” reach them. It will take time and effort, sometimes painful effort, but I will see my dreams come true. I am working hard on them.
What could you do if you changed your “I can’t” to “I can”? Think about it. Make a plan. Make your own dreams come true.