Learning From the Past & Moving On

Several weeks ago when I visited my family, my mom told me that when I had my surgery (the day before my 13th birthday), I was 140 lbs. The doctors had me try three different scales because they couldn’t believe I actually weighed that much (my body has always had a knack for “hiding” the evidences of excess weight). That was sort of interesting to me, because like I’ve said before, I lied to myself all the time about how much I weighed, so I really don’t remember my actual weight throughout middle school and high school.

That little piece of information doesn’t mean much; or at least it doesn’ make much of a difference in my efforts or goals. I do think, though, that it sheds light on how far I’ve come. I’m now 21 years old and 144.8 lbs (as of last Friday). While I can’t truly compare my physical build today to that of my barely-13-year-old self, it does make me feel like I’m actually changing my life. I spent most of my high school years as a size 12, and today I’m happy to say that I’m packing up all my size 12 pants and putting them in my trunk with the rest of the clothes I’ll never wear again.

I’ve discussed this with a friend before, but I feel like with my motion toward a healthier lifestyle, I’m both turning back time and changing the future. I feel like I’m reversing all the effects of poor eating habits throughout my adolesceces as well as the effects of college life. I’m now just six measly pounds away from where I was when I moved into my first dorm room in August of 2006. Six. That’s almost one hand! All those extra cookies and ungodly number of glasses of Dr Pepper … gone. Years of eating a whole pan of brownies in two days … gone. I feel like they’re being erased from my record. But that being said, those habits are still a part of my behavioral history, and I must learn the meaning of moderation. I like to think I’ve learned it, but there is still work to be done. So I moved forward to change the future.

As I sit here I have brought my weight and body fat percentage to a healthy level. I’ve lost 36 lbs of excess weight and significantly reduced my risk for heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and cancers of many kinds. I’ve encouraged healthy habits in myself and in my family. I’ve become more selective of what I buy at the supermarket. My tastes have changed. I’d like to say that I’ve put an end to a sedentary lifestyle. I’m encouraging others.

I feel like I’m changing the future because perhaps the changes I’m making in my life now will be the difference between dying at 55 and dying at 85. It may not eliminate my chances of getting cancer or some other fatal disease, but it could mean the difference of being diagnosed at 40 or 65. It could mean years gained in life, mobility, and financial stability. The change my not even be in myself. Perhaps the habits I form will encourage someone else to make a change, and THEIR change makes all the difference in their lives.

Healthy living will never be a cure-all, but the movement does change lives drastically.

I’ve asked myself recently, how would my habits change if I were to “fall off the wagon,” if you will? Frankly, I wouldn’t anticipate much change. I’d probably eat the same at home, but in greater quantities. I think my outside habits would probably change for the worse, and there would be quite a bit more Dr Pepper consumed. But really, that’s more or less maintenance. And even then, I think that I would get so fed up with a sedentary life and too much indulgence that I’d kick myself back into gear before long.

I’d like to think that.

But I’m still movin’.

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