I received an email from a reader asking how I did it. How did I begin to lose weight? The answer is between the lines of lyrics George Strait crooned in 2006 “(She) drove down to the beach he always said was too far. Sand sure felt good between her toes...she let herself go…”
Too many of us let ourselves go in the wrong direction. In the early twenties, we begin to put on weight and slow down our physical activities. We’re done with high school athletics, we head off to college or settle down with a first child…for a number of reasons, it’s common for women and men, both, to start adding pounds heading into the thirties. I can tell you the why’s and how’s we put it on and take it off, with statistics and data to support my claims, but this week, I’m going to tell you about me, because you’ve asked.
After the birth of my 9th child, I weighed 297 lbs. For too many reasons to go into here, I realized the time had come to claim my body and my life. The 23 years leading up to that moment had been spent much the same as the woman in the song George made famous, “She spent…days raising babies…Ironing his pants,” and such. We know the song, and the life of which I speak. I didn’t come home to read a note written by a man who had left me, but I did have a moment of rude awakening, so to speak. And when that moment arrived, I realized I had to let go. I’d been holding on to things that weighed me down, in more ways than one. When I realized I needed to let go of those things, I was free to take hold of myself. Hear me: we too often lose ourselves in clinging to the wrong things. When we allow ourselves to be free from those things to which we unhealthily cling, we become enabled to reclaim the hold on ourselves.
I let go of trying to be what I thought others expected me to be. I let go of trying to find comfort where there is none. I let go of beating myself up for mistakes or failures. I let go of unhealthy relationships. I let go of self oppression. I let go. And then, I got a grip…on me. I let go of that which I cannot control and took control of what I can. I can put one foot in front of the other and walk out the door. I can put that fork down and turn away. I can throw away food. I used to think a little bit of walking did no good. I used to think I should finish what was on my plate and shouldn’t be wasteful. But the truth is: every step takes you closer to where you want and need to be. And if I put something into my body that is too much or unhealthy in any way, IT IS WASTED already! So whether throwing it in the trash, or storing it on my belly or thighs, it’s a waste. Just as we must learn to hold on wisely, we must learn to let go wisely…even to waste wisely, if it comes to that.
The woman in the song let herself go by claiming herself. I’m doing that, too. It’s a constant effort to get and keep a grip on myself. Maybe that’s all we can ever do; just keep trying to get a grip, and accept we’re always a work in progress. The very first step in claiming yourself is self evaluation. Discover the emotional WHY you are where you are. Address that, and allow yourself to feel the sand between your toes. Let yourself go to that beach you’ve believed was too far. It’s not too far. It might take a while to get there, but you’ll never regret letting yourself go there.
Sally Windham is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Instructor in Blanco, TX. Please send questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org