This past spring, I decided to focus on my health and fitness goals. I took up running and intermittent fasting. It’s been an excellent journey that has tested my resolve, through sore limbs, irritability, and hunger pangs for unhealthy snacks. There have been times when I wondered if and when I would see results.
I set a conservative weight loss goal of ten pounds. As I got closer to reaching that goal, I added five more pounds and then another five pounds. Four months have passed, and I am healthier, stronger, and leaner than I have ever been. It’s an amazing feeling to walk up a few flights of stairs and not feel out of breath. I even signed up for my first 10K race in October.
Yet this excitement about the leaner me has been tempered with the nagging feeling that this “leaner me” is just temporary. What if I regain all the weight I’ve lost? What if I can’t sustain the results? What if my progress regresses? Is this how every woman who loses weight feels? Moreover, what happens after you have the body you want?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, especially after I tried on all my work outfits this past weekend. It’s been over two years since I wore real work clothes and I was curious to see if the dresses fit (the last time I wore any of them was in the spring of 2019 – prior to my pregnancy with my second child). I used to gauge how good I felt about my body based on the way my clothes fit. If they felt tighter, I ate a little better. If they fit well, I could maintain the weight. In short, if the dress fit and made me look good, I felt good.
What I wasn’t prepared for was just how loose the dresses and skirts had become. I tried on at least a dozen dresses and a few skirts. Seeing how differently my body fit in my dresses stirred up a bunch of mixed emotions, from joy to angst to relief and worry. Is this new body sustainable? Do I save the dresses for the day I may regain the weight or do I get them altered? These were not the emotions I was expecting to feel. I expected to feel elated and excited to throw away the “fat clothes” and fill my closet with new clothes to fit the slimmer me, but the reality was just the opposite: I was a little terrified.
The romance of my fitness journey had given way to the reality that maintaining my more svelte body would require prioritizing health and fitness over my own complacency. It’s easy to revert to old habits; it’s hard to maintain healthy ones. But I am determined to stay on the course of my fitness journey. The last four months have transformed me into the athlete I never knew I could be. So perhaps achieving the body I want should not be the end game, rather it should be the beginning of a more active lifestyle and healthier mindset.