This blog is an accounting of my personal journey to find fitness. All the content on this blog should be read as a biographical piece of literature, not a medical resource. I am a physician, but I am in no way giving medical advice or establishing doctor patient relationships with my readers. I am simply keeping a diary. If you are starting a diet or exercise program or require medical evaluation or advice, please see your own family physician.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

It's a Struggle

Every day.
Every Single Day.
Some days every hour, every minute, every second.

It's a struggle to stay on track. It's a struggle not to eat those chips. It's a struggle not to take a bite of that cake. It's a struggle to exercise. It's a struggle to stay motivated. It's a struggle to believe I can do this.

Don't get me wrong. I'm doing it. Some days are a breeze and I'm on top of the world and I know I can do this and I can't wait to see the scale.  Others I feel like this is quicksand. I'm trying to wade through, but I'm just not moving.

Yesterday not less than 5 people asked how much weight I'd lost and how I'd done it. They told me how great I look and that they didn't recognize me at first.

I gave the answer I always give. "I'm eating right, counting my calories, and exercising."

The thin ones smile and say, "Oh that's so great. You look wonderful."
The not thin ones say, "Oh....wow....wish I could do that."

Without fail this is how people react.  And I always feel good that they noticed my weight loss, but then I get mad. You CAN do it. You think this is easy? You think I just did it, like snapped my fingers and the weight was gone. You think I just got LUCKY?  You weren't around for the day after day. The days when I wanted nothing more than to bury my head in that chocolate cake. Drive through whatever fast food restaurant is nearest and order the first 3 comb meals.


If you want to.

Stop wishing, part of me yells. STOP hoping. Stop DREAMING of a time when you'll be thin or when you were thin. If you want to be healthy and lose weight, then do it.

It's a struggle. It's a battle. It's not easy. But then, what worth having is easy?

It's hard to make myself go to the gym. It's hard to find time in my overly scheduled and busy life to exercise. Would I rather watch TV and rest? YES. Sometimes anyway. But, will doing that get me to my goals? Of course not. Is it hard to push through a work out when you're tired and muscles hurt and you feel like you can't go on? YES! Is it hard to have trouble sleeping because my arms and chest hurt so bad I can't roll over? YES! Is it a struggle to then get up the next day and stretch and work out? YES!

Is it all worth it?

Of course it is. I can do things now I never dreamed I could before. I can run. Actually run, albeit slowly and not far, but still I can RUN. I can bike for an hour. I can do the elliptical for an HOUR. (I WOWed a patient with that info yesterday, btw. A thin one who was telling me they just can't find time to exercise. BS!) I can jump. I mean really jump in the air. I can SKIP again with my kids. I can run after the ball when we play catch instead of watching them run after it and waiting for them to retrieve it. I can break a board with my FOOT. I can defend myself if someone attacked me. I can do push ups. REAL ones. Lots of them. I can do sit ups. I did them yesterday, 30 of them while holding a 20lb medicine ball. 

I can buy clothes in a regular store. I don't care if I EVER darken the door of Lane Bryant again. I am in a size 14. A size which a year ago was a dream from my freshman year of college. I can even wear a size 12 in a few things. A TWELVE. Never have I done that.

Am I done?

Not even close. I have a long way to my goal. 60 pounds or so. My body is changing. I don't like the hanging skin on my arms. It's like I got more muscle and lost weight and they look worse-wigglier (is that a word?). And it's a struggle not to get discouraged. Will I ever be happy with how I look? I don't know. I have to focus on how I feel, not the numbers on the scale. But, even that is a struggle.

It's a struggle when I step on the scale, like today, and it's up 4 pounds. WTF? How does that happen? I ate some extra food yesterday. Food not on the plan. Before you freak out.......I ate an orange and a few cherries. That's all.  How in the WORLD can I be up 4 pounds? I worked out hard yesterday. Really hard. Lifted a lot of weight. I'm assuming that's it. Maybe I didn't hydrate after enough?

It's a struggle not to freak out. It's a struggle not to go off the deep end and just say, "screw this."  It's a struggle not to fall into old habits and give up.  It's a struggle not to listen to those negative voices.

It's a struggle I say, but not impossible.

I know that now. It's hard, but not impossible. There is a price to pay. Not much different than the price I paid to be fat. It's not like being obese is free of struggle.  I paid the price of not being able to move, not having cute clothes to wear, not being able to play with my kids. Those are the price I paid for doing what I wanted to do and eating what I wanted to eat. Now, I pay a different price. I eat less. Sometimes I'm hungry. Sometimes I'm tired. Sometimes I'm sore. Sometimes I have to make a choice between a candy bar and an apple.

Poor me.

So now I'll welcome the struggle. Welcome the pain, welcome the ups and the downs.  I know I may be struggling, but this struggle is the best I've ever felt in my life. The best thing I've ever decided to do.

Truth be known if this is the only struggle I have to deal with in my life, I'm pretty damned lucky.


  1. I need a cigarette, Thanks... Awesome

  2. Amen!!!!! It's freaking hard but worth it!!! Excuse my language but this just gave me a kick in the ass!! Love it!!!!

  3. ITA! It's never easy, but then again, the things that are most worthwhile in life never are. Congrats on your continued success!

  4. This post is awesome. Simply awesome. And you're so right: you CAN do it. Anyone CAN do it. They just have to really WANT to do it and then actually DO it. And I get those same responses now: "I wish I could do that." It makes me want to slap the person saying it and shake them and scream "YOU CAN DO IT" in her face.

    It's not always easy. It can be a hell of a struggle, but we are SO worth it. Every step of the struggle!

    Why wouldn't anyone choose health & fitness over the possibility of an earlier death? Right?

  5. Wow, this was a powerful post! And yes, I remember being the fat girl who said, "i wish I could."

    It's hard. Every day. Hard to stay in new habits, keep old ones at bay. Most days are doable. Some days...you fight it. Old habits always want supremacy again.

    I think you're doing great. You're so strong now and no one better try robbing you. ; ) Sore muscles are a badge of honor.

    and I totally feel ya on the horrible upper arms. I'm got more muscle there than ever in my life...and that hanging skin still ruins the whole thing. Sigh.

    Again, great post. Honest and potent and every fat person who thinks there is an easy road to weight loss should read it, accept it's gonna be tough, and just put on the big girl panties (or big boy boxers) and get to it...


  6. "Truth be known if this is the only struggle I have to deal with in my life, I'm pretty damned lucky."
    Physicians know this too well. We have seen so many who live with chronic illnesses and even worse, have added unbearable social stressors. What is that compared to the effort to stay healthy? Put in that context, our effort (eating right, exercising) sounds so trivial, but changing a life-time of behaviors is amazingly hard. It certainly can be done. Look/read all the maintenance blogs out there!

    I confess that former patients of mine are role models for hanging in when times feel tough. My parents have also become role models. If they can age gracefully with chronic conditions then I can dig down for the same strength.

  7. It is hard, but not as hard as being fat. I have learned this over the last year. I'm at my original goal now, and I remember last year when a spin around my neighborhood left me red face and winded. and it took an hour. now I can run two laps around the place and it takes about 40 minutes.

    Great post Ann.

  8. I fell your angst completely. I struggle,too. Almost every day. It is HARD to stay under 1200-1400 calories!!! But, you and I we are doing this. No magic. Just hard work, discipline, being honest with ourselves and saying "NO" (!!!) a million times a day to all that crap. The rewards are tremendous. Just like you, I can do more now than I could in 20 years. Like cycling: I can jump on my bike and hardly think about going 15-20 miles. 15-20 miles, I would never have dreamed I could do that. We are in this together, dang it. And we are going to make it. You will see. Both of us. This is for life. This time, this is it!!!!!!!

  9. Absolutely Perfect.

  10. You rock, Doc :) My body-change issue is I apparently just NOW lost weight around my ribcage, thus affecting my bra band size. I'm now humming "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" every time I catch myself in profile. I've got to get to the store and get a new bra fitting... sigh.

  11. You should print this out and have it in your waiting room for your patients to read. And please, bold print your last sentence. GREAT WRITING, Doc! :)

  12. You said it, girl! I've been there with the envious, but totally unmotivated comments. Don't you just want to take people by the scruff of the neck and just talk sense to them sometimes? Great post. Hope that 4 just fades away with you 8 glasses of water tomorrow.

  13. Many of my patients benefit from a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and a mindfulness approach to eating. Losing weight is difficult, but definitely possible!

  14. All I have to say is.. AMEN!

  15. This is a great post. I have friends who've commented on my weight loss so far and asked how I'm doing it and when I reply through watching what I eat and exercising they tune out, or say "I couldn't do that" just like you hear. Admittedly there are days when I feel down and wonder if I can do it too but I keep at it. Some days I'll slip but more days I'm good but it really is a struggle. Keep on keeping on, you're doing great.

  16. Great post, Doc. It is a struggle. Getting out and exercising before work is certainly a struggle for me. But you're right, if this is the biggest struggle, we're fortunate.

    2-2. Good luck to your Mavs!

    The Little League Rangers in Washington State lost the championship last night. :-( But my son's OK.

  17. Whew! What a post! This is my first visit to your site and I am completely enamored. I agreed with every word - I have felt every (almost every feeling - instead of chocolate cake, I want to bury my head in chips and beer) I hated when I was thin and fat people said - you're so lucky - by golly it wasn't luck it was sacrifice and I hate it now that I am fat and I am too lazy, complacent and tired to make good choices so I make excuses instead. I love your honesty about the struggle. I think I will print and post this and I am defintely going to start following you. Thanks for loosing that weight! Thanks for not giving up! Thanks for giving Lane Bryant the finger - oops that one is my goals. rock on sister weight loss - rock on!

  18. This should be your Christmas letter next year! Brilliant!

    Like my Grandmother always says, "Anything worth wanting is worth working for."

    You are so right that some days are easy peasy and other days are a huge struggle to make healthy choices.

  19. Amen, Amen & AMEN!!! Preach it sister! What an amazing post, you spoke the things I have felt and motivated me to hang in there. I have been having a downswing in my motivation this week and you gave me the kick in the pants that I needed. Thank you for sharing your heart!

  20. I just had to post a link to "It's A Struggle" on my blog. I hope that more people come and read this post because it will revive the lagging motivation of anyone who reads it.


  22. I linked here from Mallwalker. Wuz up doc? Not your weight obviously. Ooo I will return! That post hit the soul!
    The last doctor I saw was also overweight. I feel comfortable with her and did not really think of it as bad for a doctor. It is real as a person. If I saw her in the smoking section...again real as a person. If I saw her dancing on the bar singing wasted on tequila...I'd find another doctor.


Progress to TouchDown and GOALLLL!!