Half-way to Pittsburgh yesterday, there was an accident on one of the most treacherous stretches of Route 28/66 and the emergency response team was directing traffic off the main road and on to a small rural road I’d never been on. The road was narrow and the posted speed limit was never more than 40 mph. There were only a few cars meandering down the road and I lost site of them on several occasions. I had no idea where I was going or where the road would take me (I don’t have GPS), but I trusted I’d know where I was eventually.
Several miles later, two firemen directed me to veer right. A few more miles, another fireman directed me to the left. The road took me through a little village called Belknap, home of Belknap Livestock Auction, an adorable white church with a tall steeple and a small picnic facility tucked in the back, and...well...that’s about it. Further along, I passed a sign for a town called Echo which was two miles down another road (I imagine it’s no bigger than Belknap), and the sign I passed that said “Winding road next 2 miles” was an understatement.
But rather than worry too much about where I was, I took in the amazing beauty of the landscape and trusted I’d eventually know where I was.
Over on Lynn’s Weigh on Facebook the other day, we “discussed” goal weights and how most of us aren’t really sure when we start out losing weight – or even long after we’ve started – just where the end will be. The unknown is always, “Can I sustain ____ pounds?”
I remember well what a friend had dubbed “The Black Hole” of my journey. I was uncertain about what goal really was, especially since I’d changed it from a scale number to a waist size. MAJOR detour. Here’s what I wrote in Jan. 12, 2007, on my original website, Lynn’s Weight-Loss Journey:
“Happy new year! I’m just a few weeks from my 2-year anniversary on Weight Watchers. I can’t believe how the time has flown. I especially can’t wrap my brain around 152 pounds gone so far. My body has changed so much.
“It entered ‘familiar’ territory at around 180, a weight I’d been for several years. (At) 170 and 160, I was feeling great, liking what I saw, etc., and then I hit 155 and I didn’t recognize myself. I’d started working out at a gym (at) 168 and so this ‘new’ body was unfamiliar, even though I was 150 pounds for several years in my 20s and early 30s. (My body) was sculpting into something I didn’t recognize. I developed muscles I didn’t know I had. This was both exciting and terrifying.
“Now at 143.6, I’ve become highly critical of my flaws. I have loose skin under my arm pits, along my belly and my inner thighs. It’s not bad compared to what it could be, but I find myself getting mad at it, like it somehow chose to be there, like it has a mind of its own. Accepting these physical flaws is something I work on every day. I remind myself to not obsess and to love my body for all it is, both the good and the bad.
“My upper and lower hip bones are beginning to protrude, which looks kind of cool. My stomach, despite the skin, is shrinking nicely due to a solid 10-minute a day ab workout. The key for me is patience, something I have very little of. But I’m working on it.
“I don’t know when I’ll get to goal since that will happen when my waist measures 32 inches. That’s less than an inch away. I’m starting to worry now about maintenance. I know, why worry about something I’m not even doing yet, but it ekes into my mind quite often and so instead of ignore it, I try to learn what I can from it. I have to trust myself, trust my body.”
When I finally got to that 32-inch waist three months later, I declared goal like I was sliding into home. Safe at 138 pounds! That feeling lasted all of five minutes before I remembered I’d never been successful at maintenance before. But having learned so much from those who’d gone before me, I walked into maintenance in much the same way I turned on to that rural road yesterday. I had no idea where I was going, but I trusted I’d figure it out.
When you’re feeling most uncertain about your weight journey, remember that with most things in life, what makes us stronger are the detours that weave us through the unknown. Enjoy your weight-loss ride, take in the beauty of you, and trust that you’ll not only find guideposts along the way, but that eventually you’ll know where you are.