Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself...and swimming caps

Let me just say that I have almost had a heart attack twice this morning while writing this entry. My computer decided that it needed to update (and therefore have to restart with no warning) not once, but TWICE, while I was in the middle of writing this. Luckily, I guess the entries get saved automatically. 

I went into this little weight loss adventure of mine with a lot of expectations. I did indeed expect to lose weight (shocker), although the amount has been an awesome surprise. I expected to get in a lot better shape. I expected to be hungry a lot, which has fortunately not been true. What I did not expect was all the different emotions that would come into play as I dropped the pounds. Seriously, sometimes I feel like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. It's a rollercoaster a lot of the time, but I wouldn't trade this ride for anything.

One of the emotions I was really surprised about was fear. I had no idea how much I let fear rule my life before. I let the "what ifs" completely control the decisions I made. At 328 lbs, I aspired to be invisible. I feared other people's judgments about my weight if I allowed myself to be seen. People can be so cruel. Even they did not say anything to me, I could see the judgment in their eyes. So anything that even could remotely cast attention on me was out. I lived in the background of my own life.

Even though weight loss is generally a positive experience, I have had to face a lot of fears now too. I was terrified of the treadmill at first, both because I feared running and because my foot was run over by a treadmill when I was little (yeah, weird story). I think I also feared the treadmill because it made me feel out of control when I was going fast. But I hopped on anyway, and now the treadmill has become a dear frenemy (because we all know that machine can be a little evil sometimes). I was pretty scared of putting myself out there with this blog too. My struggle with weight has been such a secret shame before, and the thought of just putting everything out there for the world to see was frankly terrifying. I mean, duh, I did just tell you that my aspiration before was to be invisible. But I did it anyway, and it has been so rewarding and cathartic for me. I'm still pretty scared about attempting a triathlon. It's no easy task. But I'm thinking about that the same way I've thought about losing weight; I'm breaking it down into smaller pieces. It's not so scary then. The sight of me in a swimming cap and goggles however, remains terrifying. This is mainly because I honestly look like a big-headed alien. It may sound weird, but it is also kind of scary for me to think about getting below 170 lbs. I have never been smaller than that as an adult. It's uncharted territory. But it's a good kind of scary, if you know what I mean. I'm ready to go someplace I have never been before.

In the beginning, I would scold myself for being scared. I thought the best way to overcome a fear was to not acknowledge that I was afraid in the first place. It was like I equated being afraid with being weak. But I think I had that all wrong. I have found that the best way to overcome fear is to let yourself feel that fear. Give yourself permission to be afraid. And then just do whatever it is that you're scared of doing. Actually doing it is almost never as bad as what you imagined it would be. Hey, it's worked for me. It's like a Nike commericial: "Just do it!" I actively challenge myself to face some fear of mine all the time.

Like I could even think of ending this entry without an inspirational quote!

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