**This is navel gazing in the most literal sense. Might as well turn back now and look for cute cat pictures on the internet.**
I was at the gym today (the first time in two weeks, by the way, talk about feeling the loss of momentum) and I had just started pedaling. My mind was already floating, picturing my route home by bicycle, the wind, how fresh spring will feel. Checking my shoelaces, I felt like I had slipped into some Freaky Friday movie wherein I’d swapped with a much smaller person. My thighs looked foreign. Although I’m sure my thighs have looked like this before, they haven’t looked like this recently. I even checked the bike next to me, just to be sure I hadn’t dizzily careened off and was seeing someone else entirely. It was so weird it bypassed wonderful. I had to double back.
Me and my thighs just fell into looking this way. I don’t mean that in the sense that I didn’t work my ass off, I mean that in the sense that I didn’t resolve to change myself. I resolved to do other little things, like eating differently for 30 days and seeing the sun each day (usually on my way to the gym). I’m proud of this in a cautious way. In an I can’t believe this happened way. In a holy shit way. My doctor asked me how much weight I’d lost. I heard myself say “40. 60 since we met.” and realized that this wasn’t an exaggeration or something it took a lifetime to do. Even though I know that it took four years to lose the first 10, another to lose the second, and eight months for the last 40, it still feels like this whole thing isn’t true. Sometimes I look in the mirror and I see my sister. It’s weird not to recognize yourself.
When I left my previous job, I left with a ton of physical and emotional weight. When I took this position, I thought that surely I would shed that baggage in a year. That it would fall off like magic. That as soon as I could take a deep breath again I would return to myself. In fact, it took five and a half years to take that breath.
I’m reminded of this every time someone sidles up to asking how did you do it?! I’m pretty adept at looking so terribly uncomfortable that they quickly wind themselves back to isn’t it sunny today? But this thing is, what works for me probably only works for one in a hundred people. This article can be a bit preachy on the exercise front, but it captures something that I don’t always see in the latest article on being healthy or when people talk about how they did it. The salient part is this:
Find your “Secret Sauce”. A lot of people will tell you to “just put the fork down,” or “just get up and do it,” which is easy when that person a: isn’t you, and b: is sitting behind a keyboard. Don’t listen to them: minimizing and oversimplifying the challenge doesn’t help, and while hearing what worked for others can help you figure out things to try, it’s almost never going to be exactly what works for you.
Isn’t secret sauce a terrible thing to say to someone at 3:00 in the afternoon on a Tuesday? At least if that someone is me who, while going home to a super delicious supper of steak with red pepper pasta (don’t be fooled, this is squash), fresh broccoli and sautéed mushrooms, would take down some chicken nuggets right now like no one’s business?
Here’s your reward for both Secret Sauce and this post in general. The view from my window: