Two weeks ago, my sister and brother-in-law traveled to the Rocky Mountains for a socially-isolated vacation. They stayed in a cabin and did a lot of hiking in their week away. While they were there, an old friend of mine from high school also traveled up to the Rockies to meet a friend for a week of intense hiking. And while he was there, an old memory from the cruise Jason and I took in 2018 popped up on my Facebook timeline, with pictures from the day we walked nine miles and roughly 65 flights of stairs (in hills) around San Francisco.
The Facebook reminder was a stark one for me. I loved that day in San Francisco, but by 2pm that afternoon, I was exhausted, my feet were killing me, and my hips began to act up and twinge with pain. We went back to the ship to rest, with the plan to go back out the next day to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. Unfortunately, I was so sore and exhausted the next day that I didn’t even leave the ship. For someone as large as I am, I’m in pretty good shape, and I didn’t have a problem walking those nine miles or hiking up all those insane hills. But I’m also carrying around a good 75 lbs of extra weight, and that puts a lot of strain on my body. Especially on my feet and joints.
Which meant that the excitement and longing I felt on seeing my sister’s and friend’s photos from the Rockies suddenly fell flat. If I went out to Colorado right now (pretending the pandemic didn’t exist and I felt safe, of course), at least half of whatever time I had would be spent recovering, rather than being able to hike daily. I don’t even know if I’d be able to complete some of those larger hikes. And that’s disheartening.
There have been a lot of disheartening moments lately. The thing is, I love and respect my body, and I’m proud of the things it can do – but realistically, there are some things that are just more difficult in a larger body. When I went on my first weight loss journey in 2011-2012 (ish), my focus was solely on getting to a size where I felt that I looked like myself again, and where others would treat me with respect. Nowadays, I don’t feel the same about my body, and my personal respect for it helps strangers to treat me with dignity. Imagine that! Still, I want to lose weight – I just have different reasons now.
I want to lose weight in order to hike longer without tiring. I want to be able to run faster and longer, and for my running shoes to last for more miles than they currently do. I want to travel without worrying about airplane seats, weight limits on excursions, exhaustion, or injury. I miss decent bras and a wider variety of clothes to shop for (at decent prices, too!). I’m sick and tired of listening to doctors tell me that I need to lose weight despite my good health. I get frustrated with the lack of options in sporting goods, like hydration vests or running shorts, for larger women. One day I’d like to be able to buy fun and silly things like Seahawks gear from the NFL shop, or qualify for breast reduction surgery with insurance coverage, or lift my own body into a pull-up again.
My body can do so many things, but in some ways it’s also holding me back. Which really means that I’m holding myself back, because I know now what I need to do. I know, but I haven’t done it yet, because frankly, a weight loss journey is long and hard and exhausting, and I’ve spent many disheartening years trying and failing to make progress. Not to mention life is hard enough right now without extra burdens. But if I want to get to all those things I listed in the last paragraph, I have to commit and work harder. Maybe the written reminder of the things I want for my body will help me to do so.