Decide to live

The mirror is often the first place we become inspired to launch our weight loss journeys.  We notice the extra bulges here and there.  We poke and prod and frown and turn around in circles in frustration.  We imagine ourselves at that perfect weight or size like all the people on TV or in the magazines.  We hit the ground running in pursuit of happiness.

However, weight loss motivation based solely on what you can see in the mirror will fade.  You (and me in my 20s) will find yourself eating that thing (or things) you swore off while sitting on the couch as your gym membership fees vanish from checking account through the automatic withdrawal you set up.  Before you know it, you’re back in front of the mirror, poking, prodding, swearing off carbs forever.

Here’s the sobering truth that eventually got me off the vicious cycle:  how we eat and our lack of exercise in America is killing us.  This is not a scare tactic.  It’s the truth.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, obesity is directly linked to four out of the top 10 causes of death in the United States:  heart disease, stroke, diabetes and some forms of cancer.  The American Heart Association says heart disease is the leading cause of death, but 80% of those deaths are preventable with healthy eating and exercise changes.

Our choices can save our lives.  Our choices can end our lives, too. We have the power to decide to live!

After losing nearly 100 pounds on this health and fitness journey over the last five years, it is fun to wear clothes I dreamed of for so long, but that is the LEAST important thing about battling obesity.  It’s my health and what’s going on inside my body.  I had extremely high blood pressure and body fat percentage years ago, which put me at a high risk for heart attack, stroke, and diabetes.  My health and fitness journey removed those risk factors. THAT is the real reward. Anything else is icing on the cake.

Here’s another truth.  If I had based my journey solely on what I looked like on the outside, I would have given up a long time ago when it became clear my stretch marks, extra skin and some pockets of fat would never fade. My body is not, and never will be, “perfect” according to society’s standards.  That’s okay, because the real point of this journey is being healthy on the inside.

Is my journey perfect? Nope.  Do I make the right choices all the time?  Absolutely not. Those moments when I fall off the wagon with a missed workout or that extra piece (or two) of cake, I remind myself that it’s not just about keeping up an appearance of health, but about truly being healthy.