Kathleen’s Journey, Part IX: The Light at the End of the Impossibly Long and Winding Tunnel

Image: Rahul Nair (Creative Commons)

When I first started workout out, I met an amazing person who had gone/is going through her own weight loss and muscle building journey. She said, “Weight loss isn’t a straight line,” and I agree. As someone who has gained and lost many times without long-term success, I know that her words are true. The real success is failing and getting back up to try again. At the time, four months ago, I was so committed to success, I could barely get out of my own way. Today, I humbly write to you because I have not only fallen off the wagon, I have taken a flying leap off of it and bumped my head on multiple blunt objects on the way down.

I ate pizza (Mellow Mushroom), candy (Dots and Tootsie Rolls), and even had a McDonald’s hashbrown (can I even say that on a health website?) last week. It felt so easy, like playing with an old friend who knew everything about me. That is not to say that I haven’t had any bad food in four months. I have. But those were conscious choices with an immediate plan to eat well at my next meal. So this week, I convinced myself that I needed to go back to ground zero and restart. By focusing on one hour, one meal, and one day at a time, I’m going to get back on track. I will not be convinced that four days of poor eating can negate four months of progress. I have packed extra food to take to work (I work about an hour away from where I live) so that I can eat more healthy things and not resort to trigger foods.

A few weeks ago, we worked out on the BeltLine so early in the morning that I could barely see 50 feet in front of me. We sprinted intervals of 100, 200, and 300 yards. It was grueling and, as usual, I was last. In complete darkness and around a curve, I wasn’t really sure how far I had to go or how I was doing. On the second interval though, one of our trainers put out a lamp to mark the end of 300 yards. I could see it, and it helped me focus on my steps, my breath, and my drive. Having the goal made me better. I could look up and immediately renew my energy by marking the number of steps I had left and knowing I had a break coming up.

It is hard because sometimes the light at the end of the tunnel is as clear as that lamp, but sometimes it isn’t. Though I’ve made poor choices lately, knowing my ultimate goal and the steps I need to take to get there is reassuring and helps me refuel my energy for this continuing journey.

I feel lucky to be writing this on a blog (as scary as it is). When I talk to people about my experiences, people often respond with “This is so hard” or “I know exactly what you mean.” It is a good reminder that everyone is going through a journey, even if they don’t have a public forum. So this week, dear WellATL readers, pat someone on the back, tell them you’re proud of them, and offer to help them see their own light at the end of the impossibly long and winding tunnel.

Unknown-1WellATL columnist Kathleen Lorey won one year of fitness classes from FitWit (disclosure: WellATL’s publisher is president of FitWit) and will be documenting her 365-day journey to better health. If her column inspires you, motivates you, helps you see that you aren’t alone in whatever struggles you face, or just makes you want to cheer her on, it has done its job and we hope you’ll let her know or share your own experiences in the comments.

Read more about Kathleen’s journey: