At the heart of who I am, I am a very different person now than I was 20 months ago. Some parts of "me" are and always will be unchanged I think. I am a person who loves and trusts easily - perhaps TOO easily at times - and although that has caused me a great deal of hurt, it's brought much more joy and is unlikely to EVER change. It's essential to my character. I am also a fairly positive person...a real "glass half full" kinda girl. Again, pretty core to who I am and not really something that I think will ever be different inside of me. But this determination I've recently developed has been something that was a long time coming. It hasn't always been this way with me. I'm not sure I ever really recognized that I needed it to be until recently. But now that I have, it's becoming elemental to who I am, just as love, trust, and positive thinking are.
I was remembering this morning a conversation that I had with one of my best buds about 23 years ago. (I do have a fairly decent memory!) She and I had joined a very popular weight loss group together - I'm betting you know the one! Silvia was meeting with GREAT success. She weighed, she measured, she lost weight. Lots of it. It seemed so easy for her. I'm sure it wasn't, but at the time I was hugely jealous. I didn't weigh often, didn't measure well, and didn't lose (much!). In other words, I got just what I was aiming for. Lack of determination, example #1! In time, though, I did manage to lose enough weight to get just back below 200 pounds...to 198. It is the lowest I can ever remember myself being as an adult...I was 22 years old.
In the conversation I remembered having with Silvia, standing right in the kitchen of my home, I told her that I would NEVER weigh more than 200 pounds again now that I had gotten below that horrible number. Those of you who have been here on the blog long enough to know may be chuckling right now...because not only did I not have NEARLY the determination I needed to make such a claim, but over the next 20 years, I COMPLETELY blew away 200 pounds...and then 300 pounds...and then added 28 more for good measure! (Lack of determination, example #2!!!)
Fast forward 20 years to 20 months ago when I was sitting in a doctor's office about to be written a prescription for a motorized scooter. I remembered this conversation that day, too. And every other conversation I'd ever had about losing weight before I caused irreparable damage to my body from carrying so much excess baggage around with me. I've mentioned before that something changed in me that day. It was like a switch was flipped in my head. Well, I believe that determination was part of what took root in my life that day, and I believe it's what has carried me to this triple digit weight loss, and what will carry me on for the rest of my days. I finally wanted something bad enough to sacrifice WHATEVER IT COST to have it. I wanted my mobility, my freedom, my LIFE enough to do whatever was necessary.
I have these things now that I call "Cold, Dead Fingers Moments". As in, "You can get me off this treadmill when you pry my cold, dead fingers from the bar, but not before then!" When I first started working out in the gym, the pain was intense. Every time. Not sometimes. Always. But I knew...KNEW...that this is where my salvation would come. On the treadmill. In developing the kind of determination needed to suck it up and gut it out through the pain to get to what's on the other side.
One of my favorite quotes of all time is from the actor Will Smith - The Fresh Prince himself - and it's about treadmills.
"The only thing that I see that is distinctly different about me is I'm not afraid to die on a treadmill. I will not be out-worked, period. You might have more talent than me, you might be smarter than me, you might be sexier than me, you might be all of those things you got it on me in nine categories. But if we get on the treadmill together, there's two things: You're getting off first, or I'm going to die. It's really that simple, right?"THAT is determination! THAT is exactly how I feel in my CDFM's (Yay! A new acronym!) I am not afraid to die on a treadmill...or an elliptical...or on a track...or in the lane at the pool! I know what my pain feels like, can accurately and honestly measure it, and I know when to push through it and when to sit it out. Angie has taught me how to be safe that way. I know how to suck it up and gut it out. I know how to keep my goals in my sight and not let ANYTHING come between me and them. In short, I've found determination.
Friends...I'm just gonna say it straight up. If you DON'T have Cold, Dead Fingers Moments...you need to. About SOMETHING in your life. Perhaps not about your health and wellness, but about something! You need to understand what that kind of determination feels like, what it can accomplish in you, and even more, what YOU can accomplish when you have it. I am a better person because I learned this lesson. I am stronger mentally, physically, and spiritually because I developed the backbone and tenacity that I have over the past 20 months. My prayer and my hope is that you live with this kind of determination, too!