I have often referred to myself as a Crockpot - the longer I go, the more I heat up and then I cook steady. (Sprinters are more like microwaves - they zap! their runs.) I am at peace with that. Maybe it's because I didn't even start running until I was 42 years old and didn't try a race until I was 43. On my very first training "run" I had a 75 year old runner come back around to look for me because everyone else had finished the loop. Humbling. And eye opening because I had to decide right then and there if I was going to stop running or if I was going to be at peace with my pace. Ultimately, I did make peace with my pace and found out about 10Ks, 10 milers, Half Marathons and Marathons. Not that I became like a fabulous Kenyan runner or anything but the longer distances allowed me to settle into my pace - to be in it for the long haul and actually enjoy what I was doing.
Every night I read a little bit when I go to bed. Currently, thanks to a lovely blogging friend, I am in the midst of reading The Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl. This is Shauna Reid's memoir of losing half her body weight. She composed the book in a diary form by week. After the introductory segment in which she explains her background and her thought process to deciding to do something to lose weight, the entry starts:
By last Thursday I had reached the point in the book where the entry read:
I don't know why I suddenly "saw" what I was reading but it dawned on me that while she had lost 129 pounds, which is a heck of a lot of weight - but it took her 110 weeks (averaging 1.172 lbs./week). Then I remembered that wasn't 110 uninterrupted weeks of weight loss. She had some ups mixed in with her downs. Suddenly bells and whistles and lightbulbs start going off in my head. Shauna is a Crockpot!
For whatever reason, this realization gave me hope. I definitely used to be a microwave when it came to weight loss. I was one of those people who would decide to drop 5 or 10 lbs. for an event and would do so, with a small amount of effort. I think because of that, this journey I'm on now has been extroardinarily hard. Now, due to years of dieting that messed up my metabolism, plus an uncooperative thyroid, plus midlife, I am not only a running crockpot, I have become a weightloss crockpot.
At this point I'm sure many of you are thinking, "Well, it's a lifestyle." Intellectually, while I know that to be true, I've had my secret deadlines like anyone else trying to lose weight. My perfectionist streak has been very angry because over the last 3 years, I never seem to make my ultimate goals and I have been involved in some pretty terrible behavior. No one is as hard on me as I am on myself. I have punished myself constantly. I have not let myself fully participate in life - by not enjoying things I should have, by not having the fun I should have. I have excluded myself from events and activities because I wasn't as thin and pretty as the other women involved. I have sat at the edge of the pool and refused to cool off on a sweltering day because I didn't want to expose my horrendous looking body to others at the pool party. Instead of buying something that fit, I have stuffed myself into too small clothes and spent many days in misery and uncomfortableness. I have even beat myself with food - at first by refusing to "allow" myself to even have a taste of something I really like, because I didn't "deserve" it, and then alternately stuffing myself with too much because I had been subsisting on steamed green beans and lettuce with vinegar for days on end.
Enough is enough. I am done with self flagellation. Lately, I've begun to realize that it doesn't matter that I started trying to lose weight in 2007 Maybe I haven't finished yet and while I've had some ups, I've never regained all the way back to my highest weight. As nutty as it might sound, I'm pretty proud of that.
I am stopping the attempt at a sprint right here and now and I am preparing myself for endurance. I am going to make peace with my pace. Like a crockpot, I may cook slowly, but I don't have to have a deadline to get to the finish line.