Going to extremes

7 Oct

Five years ago, 2 friends and I decided we would lose 30 pounds in time for our upcoming October birthdays (we were all turning 30 within 3 weeks of each other, hence the 30 pound target). We met up to walk, weighed in once a week, and tried to be encouraging to each other. I have no idea if any of us were successful. I know I wasn’t.

Flash forward to this summer. I was somewhere between 20 and 30 pounds down and I started thinking about a weight goal. What if I lost 35 pounds by the time I’m 35?  It sure sounds catchy and would make a dreaded birthday something to celebrate. First I did the math and looked at my current average weight loss.  35 pounds would be a doable, as it was just a little above what I had been averaging already. I asked my trainer and he said it was doable.  I told myself that if I did it, I would buy myself a new car. Okay, it’s on. Let’s roll.

Three weeks in I was struggling. The overachiever in me was worried…what if I couldn’t do it? I had a few weeks of low weight loss because of some poor eating choices. I was discouraged. October 14 was sooner and sooner and the weight was coming off slower.  I didn’t meet the goal 5 years ago, and I didn’t want a repeat disappointment. At the same time, my own expectations were becoming a barrier for me. It was torture…not measuring up, eating crap, feeling bad, worrying…Why am I holding myself to this random weight goal and worrying about it if it is making me crazy?  And so I let it go. Either way, I knew I would be close. I bought the new car and got along with life.

Last week (or 2 weeks to my birthday), I stood 10 pounds away from “35 by 35”. Mmmm….this is tempting. Do I give it a try? 10 pounds in 2 weeks is aggressive. I knew it would be extreme no matter what I did, but I wasn’t sure if it was possible. I talked to Tony.  He said it is doable, but I would have to do exactly what he told me. HA! Yeah right, me listen? Well, I did. I worked out like crazy and was in “bland land” eating wise all week. I took fish oil and even tried coconut oil. (TOTALLY disgusting…it’s like eating super sweet crisco). If I can do anything for 10 weeks, I sure can do this for 2 weeks.

Thursday night I went to my dad’s house to get on the treadmill. I resented every minute of it. I was tired and hungry and sick of eating chicken and spinach. I seriously thought about stopping for an ice cream cone at DQ on the way home. That is when I knew this extreme is no longer good for me.


I handled it well for a week, but I also didn’t like the mid-workout crash or feeling hungry throughout the day. I proved to myself that I could do it if I want to. I knew it paid off before I even got on the scale. But nothing, NOTHING is worth going back to food, the success I had gained, and the confidence that has grown. Friday night was weigh in…down 6 pounds. HOLY MOSES! That’s a lot. The greedy, overachiever thought about the possible number next Friday…that would be awesome!  The rational, healthy me knew that another day of bland land would send me in to relapse. I no longer cared if I didn’t make 35 pounds by 35….what was more important to me was to maintain the sustainable, healthy life I had found. I’m not in a race.  What is amazing is that this is all now my choice and in my control.


Tony delivered exactly what I asked for, but the minute bland land changed from a tool to a barrier it was done. There are reasons to go to extremes and there are reasons to not. I still might hit “35 by 35”, who knows….you will have to come back next week to find out. What I did learn is more important…I can do what I set my mind to, I am in control of my choices, I can identify and use the tools I need to help me, and my new life is sustainable. I want something different and so I do something different. I try new things. I challenge myself. I go to extremes, but I also recognize my limitations and I adjust accordingly.


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