Weighty Matters

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Breaking Through the Plateau

I have a theory. As you know, after a year and a half of stellar, fairly rapid weight loss, I entered a lengthy period of plateau sometime last fall. It was agonizing to me emotionally. So frustrating to work so hard at being clean with my food plan and physical fitness and achieve only painfully slow, small results. I really hit a low last December when I’d only lost a ridiculous four or five pounds in three months! That’s when my surgeon recommended I cut my calorie intake by 25%, which would have put me somewhere in the 600-750 calorie range per day.

I certainly whined and complained about it here often enough. I engaged in some periodic small rebellions, ate more sugar and carb things than usual from time to time. Bitched a little more about the plateau and so on. From October to mid-January, my weight fluctuated from 211 to 216, depending on if I’d eaten more carbs. My body really likes to hold onto carb-induced weight gain.

I did great on my cruise, then hit the fluctuation pattern again for a while. I also got a temporary, “Screw it” mentality and stopped worrying about whether I ate some freaking carbohydrates or good chocolate. As long as I stayed in that five pound range and continued to exercise, I wasn’t going to agonize.

About two weeks ago, I took a deep breath and told myself that playtime was over. I’d reached the allowed time limit on the “Screw it” mentality and knew it was time to bear down again. With a better quality of cleanness in my food plan, including fewer carbs and higher quality in the ones I do it, plus the continued commitment to exercise, I’m now seeing weight loss at a good rate. I’m down from 215 to 208. I feel great not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. It isn’t a struggle to eat a balanced food plan with the appropriate amount of protein and allowable carbs, even that treat of high quality chocolate when I need some. Recovery is alive and strong.

Here’s my theory. I think that after losing so much weight so fast in the first year and a half after weight loss surgery, my body put on the brakes. Maybe it got too used to the high protein/low carb intake and stopped responding. Maybe I developed a new set point. I don’t know, but the body wouldn’t budge. I theorize that taking the break from the strict adherence for a more extended period, helped me readjust. Now my body is responding again to the formula of low calorie/low carb/higher protein/ample exercise and is giving up the pounds.

I don’t know if any of you have experienced something similar. If you have, I’d love to hear about it from you. I only know that I feel that I’ve truly broken through the plateau and am once more on a great losing pattern.

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Own Your Awesome

Years ago in OA, I learned that binge can be an acronym for B.elieving I.’m N.ot G.ood E.nough. That perfectly applied to me. I had lousy self-esteem and, as I’ve discussed here before, never really felt like anything I did or accomplished was good enough. Nothing was as good as it could have or should have been. I wasn’t smart enough or charming enough; my personality and persona weren’t attractive or nice or funny enough. I was obese so, naturally, I wasn’t pretty enough. The answer I never quite figured out was the comparison point, the yardstick against which I unceasingly measured myself and decided I was lacking.

It took me a long, long, freaking-long time to accept that I’m not just good enough, I am more than good enough. In fact, I am capable of being absolutely awesome.

Okay, I just fought a little battle with myself over that last sentence. I wondered whether I should delete it or leave it. Since you read it, you know which choice won — and that’s the whole point of this blog post.

I need to own my awesome. Everybody does, but this blog is about me. For now anyway. I’ll get to the rest of you in a minute. 🙂

Today I was able to finish the project that’s been driving me nuts and causing me stress for the last couple of weeks. This was outside my normal job responsibilities but our president asked me to take it on for our national organization because it needed to be done and done well. She asked me to do the project because she knows I’m awesome and would get it done. For a lot of those decades that I believed I wasn’t good enough, there were many people in my life who thought differently. They believed in me, loved me, thought the absolute best of me but I could never internalize that into self-belief and good self-esteem.

These days, I promise, I’m not turning into some egotistical blowhard but I think that it’s healthy to understand our own awesomeness. In fact, I think it’s absolutely necessary. If we don’t acknowledge, accept, internalize, celebrate and own our awesomeness, we damage ourselves. For whatever reason that I developed the crappy self-esteem in the first place, I spent years not doing anything effective to counter it. At some point I had to take responsibility for allowing the mindset to continue. I’m going to own that too, but it’s old water under an ancient bridge, so I’m not going to beat myself up over it either. I am, however, refusing to let it dam up the flow of my recovery.

I think it will help my continued recovery if I make the time to acknowledge my good qualities. I need to remind myself of all the positive things about me so that I don’t ever fall into that believing I’m not good enough state again. If I own my awesomeness, I don’t need to overeat in order to suppress the bad feelings because, hey, I won’t feel so bad anymore.

Okay, you know that I don’t urge you all to comment, although I am always thrilled when someone does. I know that you’re here reading, even if you lurk. However, I’m going to take part in a little exercise and I would absolutely love it if you all would participate with me. Let’s all own our awesomeness and list some examples.

I’ll go first. I rock my job. I’m a loyal friend. I demonstrate caring even to strangers at the store or on the street. I’m not afraid to try new experiences. I look for ways to positively reinforce and empower other people.

Those are five ways that I’m awesome. What are five ways that you can claim? Come on now, please share them with us so that we can all celebrate together.

Own your awesomeness!


Success Breeds Success

The better that I do with my recovery, the better that I do. Profound today, aren’t I? 😉 This goes along with a couple of other old saws such as it’s easier to stay on the wagon than to climb back up, better to stay on top of the pain than try to catch up to it, and, what the heck, I’ll throw in that it’s harder to hit a moving target.

Okay, perhaps I have some silliness mixing in with the profundity. Here’s what’s going on. I’ve have several really good days, back to back, with both my eating and my exercise. My body is responding by not sticking to its plateau so I’ve had great weight loss over the last four days. This success helps my mindset when I’m tempted to indulge in carbs or overeat chocolate. Temptation is always all around me. What differs is my response and resistance. When faced with the opportunity to eat inappropriately, if I stop and say to myself, “Self, you’re on a roll. Don’t stop the momentum. Stay on track”, I can usually keep from indulging. That helps me build another successful day which can lead to more positive emotions and additional weight loss. And so it goes.

The better I do today, the more likely I am to see results which motivates me to do well tomorrow which leads to… you get the idea.

Recovery really is achieved one day at a time or, sometimes, one meal at a time. I want to stay on the wagon rolling forward so that I can lose the remaining weight and transition to maintenance. At this point in the progress, pounds come off in fits and starts instead of one long, lovely, constant progression. Better to keep fueling the momentum and let success continue to breed success.


Blowing Past Limitations

Okay, you know that I’m a big fan of entertainment reality shows like The Voice and Dancing with the Stars. Not only am I entertained, I am frequently inspired. Never more so than tonight’s season premier of DWTS.

One of the dancing “amateurs” is Amy Purdy. She was terrific with pro partner Derek Hough. Sharp, snappy, quick footed, graceful, energetic. Really great. Amy Purdy is a double amputee and wears prosthetics below her knees on both legs. She’s a bronze medal winning snowboarder who competed in the 2014 Paralympics while also training for DWTS.

She’s my new hero. Here is a beautiful young woman who doesn’t believe in limitations. I’d venture a guess that if someone told her she couldn’t do something because of her physical challenges, she’d laugh in their face and then show them that they’re wrong. She doesn’t have any disabilities. She’s missing her legs below her knees but under no stretch of the definition is she disabled.

Then there is comedian/actor/game show host Drew Carey. When he first became famous, or at least when I first heard of him, on his television show, he was 80 or so pounds overweight. He was diagnosed with Type II diabetes and he had to have an angioplasty procedure to open a clogged artery. In 2010, he committed to losing weight, cut out carbohydrates, did 45 minutes of cardio most days each week and ended up losing 80 pounds. When he appeared on tonight’s DWTS, he looked terrific. He talked about how, now that he’s lighter and fitter, he enjoys finding out what he can do in his body. He’s thoroughly enjoying the new freedom he’s experiencing, including the greater ease of movement. Ohhh, boy, do I ever relate!

So in one night, I witnessed the stories of a woman who refused to let anyone define her in terms of limitations and a man who experienced limitations and did something about it.

Color me inspired. This helps me remember that the only roadblocks in my way are the ones that I either manifest or that I permit to remain in my way. I, too, can blow past them as I continue on my recovery journey. That’s just what I’m going to do.

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Feeling Financially Grateful

I’m watched the Chopped – Tournament of Stars tonight. Singer Carnie Wilson was one of the episode’s contestants. She’s part of the trio Wilson Phillips, although in recent years, I’ve seen her more frequently on a variety of celebrity reality shows. She’s also pretty famous for having gastric bypass surgery several years ago. (According to her tonight, 14 years ago.)

I remember a few years ago, she’d gained all of the weight back that she’d previously lost with the wls and went back for another procedure. She had a lap band added to help her lose weight again. I remember at the time thinking that must have been a horrible experience for her — to have fought so hard to lose weight, had success, and then backslid to the point where she needed another procedure.

That is something that I never, ever want to experience. However, she’s a really good example for the rest of us. It can and does happen. We are really never free of the food issues and if, for whatever reason, we no longer manage to stay in recovery, we can gain it all back. I’m glad that she’s still in the fight and hasn’t given up on herself.

The stars on this Chopped tournament are all playing for charities they’ve chosen. When asked Carnie said that she’s playing for the Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America, an organization that raises money to fund grants for people who need bariatric operations but they either don’t have insurance, or their insurance won’t cover the procedure and they don’t have enough money to self-pay. www.wlsfa.org

*Dragging out my soap box, stepping up* I know that I have a personal viewpoint in this debate, but I firmly and unequivocally believe that every health insurance plan should offer coverage for bariatric surgery. I believe the operation saves lives and, ultimately, saves money for those same insurance companies because it leads to healthier lifestyles in the patients. *Stepping off of the soap box*

I have a decent health insurance plan, but mine didn’t cover the weight loss surgery. When I found that out, I was both bummed and disappointed. Then, the reality of my particular circumstance took over and I was overwhelming grateful. I had enough money in investments that I could pay for the operation out of pocket. The hospital also had a self-pay plan that was less expensive.

Thankfully, all of the tests and evaluations that are required prior to the surgery were typical of diagnostics that a doctor would order to determine conditions in an obese patient. I blew through my high deductible pretty quickly and every other procedure was then fully covered by my insurance.

For me, finances did not enter into the decision as to whether I could move forward with the operation that would finally help me successfully battle my super obesity. That is not the case for everyone. I personally know someone who thinks about having the surgery but he doesn’t have the right insurance plan or the savings. Just yesterday, someone else I know came up to me and asked if she could talk to me about my surgery. She recently went to an orientation/workshop to find out more. Her insurance plan will cover bariatric procedures if she qualifies under certain conditions such as her BMI or the presence of a co-morbidity for more than two years. She wants the surgery and is crossing her fingers that she’ll qualify.

Looking back, I am even more grateful today than I was at the outset of the journey when I first began investigating the procedure. I cannot imagine if my greatest chance for recovery, for regaining my health, for saving my life wasn’t possible because I didn’t have the money.

After the show tonight ended, I went online to look at this Weight Loss Surgery Foundation of America. They’re a 501 (C)(3) charitable organization so my donation was tax deductible. They seem to be legitimate and have awarded several grants to people for the bariatric surgery itself and some for the reconstructive surgery afterward. Carnie Wilson is now one of their ambassadors. They’re having a fund raising event in Florida in April, but unfortunately I have another commitment that weekend or I would go to check them out in person.

The WLSFA does not seem to be a giant organization but appear to be growing up from grassroots. I’m grateful that they exist so that others who need help can get it.

**** Edited to Add ****
When I woke up this morning, I’d received an email from one of the WLSFA founders, Antonia, to thank me for my donation. She also wanted to make me aware of the Tampa event in case I could attend. Nice gestures on both counts! We chatted a little via email and she clarified something that I did not have right, based on my research. Antonia told me that Carnie Wilson did not gain back all of the weight that she lost after her first wls and that she has maintained a 100 pound weight loss for 14 years — even after two kids. Good for her!

Antonia also told me more about her organization. They are indeed grass roots and have funded 11 surgeries so far with two more scheduled to be funded in April. She then said that they are 100% volunteer driven with no paid staff. I work for a nonprofit organization and serve on the Board of Directors of two others. Accomplishing all they’ve done on a totally volunteer basis is impressive indeed. Thanks for the additional info, Antonia!


Food Judgment

I have a hang up about people judging my food — what and how much I might put on my plate and choose to eat. Even if people don’t notice and couldn’t care less, I imagine that they do and, in judging my food are also judging me.

No, I’m not just paranoid. In the past, people did indeed judge what I was eating. Not everyone, probably, but enough that I noticed. Still others actually verbalized their judgments. One instance stands out in my memory. Mom and I were having dinner with another family member at our house who’d brought a home baked pie with her for dessert. After we finished eating the main dish, the family member offered each of us a slice of pie. She specifically asked me if I wanted a piece. It was good pie and I said yes, please.

I went out to the kitchen to bring in coffee and tea. I plainly heard the family member say, “I can’t believe Mary’s going to eat dessert.”

Is it any wonder that I was such an accomplished sneak eater? I developed that ability at a very early age. It didn’t matter if people were right in the next room, I could open the refrigerator, a cabinet, or a squeaky drawer, open a package, and eat with nobody else hearing me.

But I digress.

During every diet I’ve ever been on, I know I ran into times when people monitored what I was eating or just looked to see if I was on track. I think when I wasn’t on diets, people probably looked at my plates. Maybe they wanted to understand how much food it took for a woman to get to my size. I don’t know, but trust me, no matter how subtle they might have tried to be, I was hypersensitive to it, so I picked up on the glances or outright looks. I also automatically assumed that they were critiquing my food choices, or my amounts. Whatever the case, these were not positive experiences. As a result, I rarely ate openly in front of other people. I took what I believed to be a “normal” amount of “proper” food and consumed it at the table and then pigged out when I was alone.

Ever since I had my weight loss surgery, I’ve noticed that I still wonder whether people are watching my food. I imagine that now they’re curious about how much I can physically eat and that they’re also assessing whether I’m eating what I “should” or eating stuff that I “shouldn’t”. If I’m out at a gathering and there are sweets, I assume that people will think I’m being bad if I take a cookie.

I’m much better off at work around my friends and people who know me well. They understand that, sometimes, a person just needs to have a small piece of chocolate. Nobody scolds me or smacks my hand. Nobody gives me disapproving looks. It’s safe.

Honestly, the whole question of whether people around me continue to make judgments about my food and eating could be an entirely false issue. I likely stress myself out about this without reading. Maybe my fear of being judged breaks down into False Evidence Appearing Real. At this point, I don’t know, but I realize that it’s better to live with less stress.

So, I need to be aware of my thought process and call myself on it. When it comes right down to it, my choices are my choices and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks, does or says. Probably what I need to work on is to stop categorizing food choices as bad or good, inappropriate, or appropriate, etc. It’s like I’m the one that starts the judgment process and then anticipate that everyone else will do the same.

No matter what I choose to eat, I need to make it okay. My choices are my choices.


Photographs and Memories

I was on a hunt last night for photos of a particular friend. I’m not one of those people who has old packets of photos neatly boxed in date order with labels on the boxes. So I had to dig through a lot of photo store envelopes, haphazardly piled. This meant that I went through many photos from mostly the last 13 or so years. I wish I could say that I was carrying around a warm, fuzzy nostalgic feeling after the experience, but that isn’t the case.

Mostly I’m sad. I’m huge in the majority of the photos in which I even appear. It doesn’t matter what the photo portrays, whether it was a party, a gathering of friends, a fun event, an exciting occasion — if I’m fully in the photo, I can’t see anything else or feel any of the happy that should be part of those memories. The only shots where I experience the joy are those where enough of me is concealed behind other people.

How pitiful. Miserable. I am mired in the sludgy realization that my obesity most likely robbed me of some of the happiness at the time the photos were taken and the way I looked then still steals the joy of the memory from me today. There’s a photo of me with my younger nephew at his bar mitzvah. We both have huge smiles on our faces and must have just shared some really great moment. Damn it. I know I was happy right then when the photographer took the shot, but looking at the picture years later only brings me pain and that regret.

There was one exception. I found a photo from 11 years ago of me with my dear friend Chrissy. Chrissy comments here at the blog and has mentioned her own weight loss surgery/journey so I’m not blowing up her anonymity. Anyway, in that photo, we’re both obese, but it didn’t make me sad to look at it. I was able to look objectively at where we were and be really happy that we’ve come so far. We both have achieved significant weight loss and regained a great amount of quality health. These things I can celebrate.

I need to process this and make my peace with the photographic evidence of my past. I want to reach the point where I accept and forgive myself for the effect my previous obesity has on my memories. I want to not cringe when I look at old pictures but recapture the pleasure and joy in those experiences.

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Positive Food Mind Games

Remember when I talked about buying a few high-end quality, handcrafted chocolates over the weekend and said that I planned to eat them one a night?

Raise your hands. How many of you are expecting me to say that I totally messed up on that plan and stuffed them all into my mouth the first night?

It’s okay if you raised your hand. I pretty much expected me to do just that despite my plan and great intentions. I’m happy to say that I surprised myself and that I also discovered something useful and important in the process. This commitment and practice helped me control other impulses. Let’s face it. I love chocolate. There is no way that I would willingly give it up unless you told me that eating even a single, minuscule piece would kill me faster than a dose of cyanide. Even then, I’d first ask, “How minuscule are we talking?”

I know that it is a mistake and completely sets me up to fail for me to keep a bag of M&Ms, or a bag of mini-candy bars, or anything like that in my house. I do not have the self control to limit myself on those particular versions of chocolate. If I’m at the supermarket and give into the urge to buy a small bag on my way out (You know, the bags they place right at the checkout line so you’ll see them, feel the urge, and buy?) I can tell myself forever that I’ll only eat some of the M&Ms and save the rest, but that’s complete b.s., even if I believe it at the time.

However, when I have good quality chocolate around, I absolutely can limit myself to one treat in the evening. I’ve now successfully done this enough times that I see a definite difference in my behavior pattern when the chocolate is high-end, as opposed to whether it’s the stuff I can grab at the supermarket. What’s more, when I know that I have that quality chocolate available to me for the one scheduled, permissible treat in the evening, it acts as a deterrent. I can talk myself out of other urges to buy and consume other candy or other sugary sweets like cookies, cupcakes, and ice cream. Seriously, I’ve had actual internal conversations with myself that go something like this.

Compulsive Me: What a stressful day. Ohhh, look at those cookies. They look yummy. I want one. (Hand reaches for package, about to put it in shopping cart.)

Healthy Me: They look yummy, but they’re junk. Don’t forget you still have those good chocolates at home and can have one tonight.

Compulsive Me: Oh, right! Those chocolates are so much better. I don’t need these processed things. (Hand withdraws from package.)

Healthy Me: Good choice. You’ll enjoy the chocolate so much more.

Compulsive Me: And I’ll feel better about it after, too.

Healthy Me: Smart woman!

Really, folks, as strange as it sounds, that’s my thought process sometimes. Sure, it’s a mind game to divert from the compulsive act, but it works. There are additional bonuses and benefits, too. When I buy good quality chocolate, I end up with food that has fewer calories and less sugar, but more of the healthy qualities for which chocolate is touted. I also eat less of it. That’s an extra win.

Here’s another food mind game that I discovered this week. I love certain nuts. Walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, and almonds top the list. Nuts can be a healthy, nutritious snack — as long as I don’t totally pig out on them eating multiple handfuls. With the exception of walnuts, which I prefer to use in cooking instead of snacking, I have learned that I can’t eat nuts in healthy ways if I keep a jar of them already shelled in the house. The habit is there to eat them mindlessly.

Thanks to the baseball game last weekend, I realized that I exercise good portion control if I buy the nuts still in their shells. Sounds simple and logical, doesn’t it? I can’t grab handfuls of nuts and eat them when I need to shell them first. Yesterday and today, I measured out an appropriate portion of shelled pistachios, brought them in a container to work for my mid-morning snack, and ate them in a healthy, appropriate way. I didn’t overeat and I was completely satisfied. Booyah!

My takeaway on these lessons is that while we were taught as kids to not play with our food, developing and playing positive food mind games can actually aid my plan and recovery!


The Shortest Distance

We all know the truism that the shortest distance between two points is the length of a straight line between them. I find this to be logical, practical and also a calming approach to more than just traveling distances. In fact, I’m embracing it in my attitude toward a stress-inducing situation at work. I was asked to coordinate a project that involves collecting information and articles from a whole bunch of other people, proofing/editing them, and getting to a designer for layout in a very short amount of time.

The clock is ticking on our deadline. While I have some of the material, I’m still waiting for a number of articles from various other people who are scattered around the country. These people don’t work for me. They don’t work for the organization that’s producing the report. They volunteer for committees for that organization. It’s not like I can crack a whip on them to get the material written, finished and submitted. So, there is a lot about this project over which I have no control and no power.

Enter the Serenity Prayer — Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change. Every time I start to get tense, fretful and stressed over what material is still outstanding, I’m trying to step back, breathe and stay calm.

Some of the material comes to me in rough form, or in forms that I can’t use verbatim because the items are too long. Now, I could send it back to the writers and say, “That’s great, but could you cut it down, please?” However, mindful of that deadline, I decided to enact step two from the Serenity Prayer and incorporate the shortest distance-straight line approach. I find the courage (and the will) to change what I can, and take the shortest path to accomplishing what I need. In other words, I extrapolate information, shape it into the length we can use, and send it back to the writer with a nice, “This is great information. We needed it a little shorter. Is this okay?” message. I’m respectful of their original material and, let’s be honest, I’m saving them extra work to boot.

Judging from the response, this approach is working. I feel that I’ve struck a good balance. The extra work for me is offset by the reduced time needed to end up with a useable piece. This means less stress overall. It’s a win.

As I write this, it occurs to me that the Serenity Prayer is pretty linear and matter-of-fact. Accept what you can’t change; change what you can; be wise enough to discern the difference. This all serves to clear out the mind clutter. I don’t have time to worry. I just need to get the project done to the best of my ability. I also don’t have either the time nor the inclination to doubt that ability. Self-confidence is not the issue although that could get undermined by stress if I allow it to happen. I’m not. I’m just staying on the straight, A to B path from project inception to project completion. No detours.

Since I’m doing such a good job of not letting stress block the road, I’m also having good food days. This means that my recovery is also on that straight direct path.

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Keep Calm and Be Well

I was going to continue the idea started by Hope in the comments and go with Keep Calm and Eat Kale as a title. Then I decided that Eat Well was more universal.

That realization yesterday that these slow months of remaining weight loss have been necessary in order for me to build lasting recovery has done me a world of good. It’s like my emotions can stop fighting each other, or my emotions and my mind can quit blaming each other — or something. Today I’ve been extremely calm and matter-of-fact about eating, food, and the weight I still want to lose. It’s no surprise to me that I haven’t had to struggle to stay on the food plan either. No white-knuckle abstinence today, thank goodness. Lack of obsession over food, absence of compulsions all further advance the calmness. There is a lot to be said for serenity.

I had another realization over the weekend. More accurately, I finally accepted something that I realized a while ago. Yes, I am incredibly more fit and much more physically active than ever in my life. However, I also need to be aware of some limitations. Remember when I talked about not needing to take over-the-counter pain meds very often anymore when I used to take them a couple of times every day? That continues as long as I respect my body, specifically my right knee, and not push it further than it’s good for it to go.

The Saturday of the 5K walk, I logged more than 16,000 steps. That evening, my knee throbbed a lot and I finally took some ibuprofen tablets so that I could sleep. All week long I stayed in the 10-12K steps range with walking and some bike riding. Occasionally my knee got stiff or twinged, but at no time was it really bad, nor did it interfere with my life. This past Saturday, I topped out at close to 16K steps all with walking, no bike riding. I also pushed my intensity on the treadmill that night.

Small wonder that when I tried to sleep, my knee really hurt. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any ibuprofen with me at the hotel. I did my best to adjust, cushioned my knee with a pillow, got some ice for a while. Eventually, I fell asleep but discomfort woke me up a couple of times before the throbbing eased.

Yesterday with the long drive home, I didn’t reach the usual 10,000 steps. Mentally and emotionally, I need to remind myself that taking a day off is not only okay, it’s a good suggestion. Today, I am back on track, beginning with a 40 minute walk before sunrise.

I’ve been trying to gradually raise my step level to average 15,000 steps every day. Now I get that this is an unrealistic goal at this point. It is one thing to encourage myself to work out and make sure that I don’t get lazy and complacent. It is another thing to push myself to the point of pain. If I do that too often, I risk truly messing myself up which could make it so that I can’t keep up with my fitness regimen at all. That’s a worst case scenario that I want no part of. So, I’m going to continue with my average of between 10K-12K steps per day and make sure that I ride my bike as much as possible, which greatly reduces the impact on my knee. With this approach and my Tai Chi, I can continue improving my physical condition and remain fit.