Weighty Matters

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On Not Getting Discouraged

on May 28, 2012

Last year around this time I was out at the sandbar on my boat with friends.  We were there at a higher tide so my boat was “up” in the water.  After swimming and walking around for awhile I went to the ladder to climb back aboard.  I couldn’t do it.   Even though I could get my foot on the bottom rung of the ladder, my center of gravity (aka my ass) was too low for me to get enough push power from my legs.  I was too heavy to pull myself up using arm strength.

This was a sobering, upsetting, and defining moment.  I had been considering weight loss surgery to this point, but considering and doing are far apart.  At that point, so were considering and investigating.  That day I drew a line in the sand, or sandbar.  The realization that I was too heavy to get back on my own boat hit me hard and I decided right then and there that I was definitely going to have surgery.  I started my investigation into options, methods and doctors that very week.

It’s like the event brought home to me in terms as crystal clear as the water that day that my excess weight was disabling me and keeping me from doing things that I loved to do.  I couldn’t imagine how miserable my life would become as the situation deteriorated, but knowing that it would indeed get worse became an excellent and powerful motivation.

I’ve been looking forward to getting back to the sandbar to see if I’ve lost enough weight to haul myself out yet.  The weather this weekend has been gorgeous.  Yesterday, friends and I headed out at a higher tide.  We enjoyed a wonderful ride, speeding across the water, picked a spot at the sandbar and anchored.  We slid into the water, floating around, swimming and talking for awhile.  When I was ready to climb on board, I again had to put my foot up pretty high — let’s say a height between my hip and my waist.  Unfortunately, in that position I still didn’t have enough strength to make it the rest of the way.  The immediate disappointment was sharp and discouraging.  I asked my friend onboard to let out a little more anchor line so that I could pull the boat back to a little more shallow water.  Now my foot was probably just below hip height.  This time I was successful in boosting and pulling without much trouble.  Whew!

Back on board, I processed the situation and my disappointment.  There are a couple of things at play.  One of my knees does not operate at full strength, so I’m a little low on boost power.  I also know that I haven’t done much work on building upper body strength.  I might have lost almost 80 pounds, but I still have a lot to lose.   When all was said and done and thought about, I realized that I cannot let this discourage me.  I’ve made great progress and, before too long, this won’t be an issue.  I’ll be able to go up that ladder, regardless of water depth, like the most agile person around.  In time, I’ll be able to jump off that boat, even in water that’s over my head, and be completely confident that I can climb out again.   I know this in my heart.

Instead of taking this as a setback, I’m going to use it as an indicator tool of goals.  1) Keep to the food plan and continue to lose weight.  2) Work on strengthening my leg muscles which will support my knees overall and help me with boosting. (The Tai Chi I do is excellent in this regard.)  3) Add some upper body and arm work.  (Tai Chi helps with some of that, but I need to add some light weights, which I can do at home.)

In the past, any discouragement or disappointment was an excuse to overeat.  Not this time.  It’s a mile marker and a reminder that this is a process.  I’m on my way and the more that I do, the more that I’ll be able to do.

Since I’ve spoken a few times about the sandbar, I thought you might like to see what I’m talking about.  Here’s a picture that I took early in the day.  Boats continued to arrive during the three hours that we were there, so by the time we left, there were twice as many vessels stretched along the space.  Quite the floating party!

A beautiful day in a beautiful spot.


Edited to add:

Shortly after putting up this post, I was chatting with a friend on the phone.  She’s a Zumba instructor and told me she was leading a Zumba Gold class (for ages 50 and up) at 10:15.  Doing Zumba is on my Promise List.  I figured this was a great opportunity to give this exercise class a shot.  I rushed out and got there on time.  Whew!  What an experience.  I am extremely surprised, and happy, to find that I can keep up with the aerobic activity and toning.  I lasted the entire hour and didn’t pass out.  🙂 Maybe not all of my steps are perfect, but I gave everything my best effort, worked up a sweat and had fun!  Yay for me!

Unfortunately, the current class schedule only offers Zumba Gold weekdays when I’m working but my friend hopes to start a class on Saturday mornings.  Count me in!




4 responses to “On Not Getting Discouraged

  1. Hope says:

    One of the water aerobics instructors at the Y apparently does a zumba type aqua class. It’s in the heated pool, so I can’t go in my delicate condition. But sounds like you’d love something like that!

  2. londonmabel says:

    Photo looks heavenly. Another thing to be grateful for! 😉

  3. robena grant says:

    Gorgeous photo.
    You’ve come such a long way. Congrats! I’m proud of you for trying Zumba. They offer it at the Curves gym that I attend. I also have a bad knee and tweak it often. I’ve been too scared to try Zumba but now maybe I’ll give it a shot. ; )

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