Expectations can be a difficult thing to deal with. On the one hand, it means someone thinks highly enough of you to anticipate a specific result from your actions. On the other hand, there is also an added pressure on you to meet those expectations, which can cause emotional damage if we fall short. This can be even more detrimental if the failure happens when the expectation is placed on us by ourselves.
At the beginning of June, though, after a particularly unpleasant dating experience (it wasn't even a date, weirdly), something possessed me. I had attempted losing weight in the past (see previous entries in this very blog), but this was different. It happened at a time that I felt I had very little power over what was happening in my life and I needed to get things under control somehow. So, with my brother Blaine in full support, we started doing the Power 90 workouts (which are the precursor to P90X, the famous hardcore workout) every night. But this wasn't enough for me. I was done being overweight. I've never really known what it was like to not be embarrassed of my body, and I was going to find out. I was, to put it dramatically, driven. So, when we decided to do this, I set my goal; an expectation. I was going to be under 300 pounds by July. 9 pounds in 4 weeks was not going to be easy, but that was my goal. To achieve this, I was not only going to work out every night with my brother, but I was also going to alternate between running and biking every morning around the lake near my house (about 4 miles around) as well as stay to a 2,200 calorie a day diet. I knew weighing my self every week was one of my weaknesses in the past (any time that I would not lose an amount equal to the effort that I put in that week, I would get really bummed out and stop working out). To compensate for this, after I weighed myself to start out (309 lbs), I put the scale in the closet and wasn't going to use it until the end of the first month.
While I was in the hospital, I had a lot of time to think. All things considered, I am incredibly grateful that it happened. Life was suddenly put into stark perspective. I was beyond lucky to even be alive. I met many incredible people that I might not have otherwise had the chance to meet and every one of them, whether they knew it or not, taught me things about myself and the amazing resilience of the human spirit. I was able to reevaluate what my goals (both in fitness and in life), had been, and what they should be. All that plus I got a sweet cane out of it.
Once I got out of the hospital, I was told it would take about 6 weeks to fully recover. Though I was recovering, I still had this end of the month weigh in over my head. A silly thought, I know, considering what had happened. But, truth be told, what I was really afraid of losing what taken me years to gain: desire. Everything that I was had been focused on a goal that now, due to circumstances beyond my control, was out of reach. It was disheartening, and my expectations for what I could accomplish fell. I did everything that was within my control over the next week to aid in the weight loss (which was limited to sticking to the diet and walking for a maximum of 10 min each day due to the injuries), but I did not expect to get anywhere near the 300 pound mark.
So, with the beginning of July here, it was with much trepidation that I stepped on the scale. My expectations were set very low. I actually assumed that I had gained weight, due to how limited my movement had been these past few weeks. While the scale calculated my weight, I looked up at the mirror, resigned my self to my low expectations, and with a sigh, looked back down. I weighed 293 lbs.
Wait, that didn't sound right. I stepped off, reset the scale, and checked again. 293. It took a moment for this to process for me. This not only meant a 16 pound weight loss for the month, but it marked for me a much more important point. This is the first time since High School that I weighed less that 300 pounds, and I even though that was the goal all along, I wasn't really prepared for the possibility of success. As stupid as it sounds, I weighed myself twice more, just to make sure, smiling the whole time. Even through the excruciating pain (I don't know if you've ever sneezed with a broken collar bone and several cracked ribs, but I would say "pass" on that experience, if at all possible), I couldn't wipe that stupid grin off my face all day. Though in the grand scheme of things I still have a long way to go, it's the proudest I've been in a long time, made ever better because of the people I was able to share it with, both new friends and old.
So, what's the plan now? Aside from continuing to heal over the next few weeks (I'm still rather sore in place that I didn't know I had), I'm going to keep up what I can of my healthy lifestyle, transitioning back into exercising once I'm able to. If my time in the hospital taught me anything, it's that I need to be grateful for everything I have and to express that as often as I can. I also hope to, should I heal quickly, participate in my first 5k at the beginning of August (Link here, for anyone interested). Finally, I plan to, as my new friend from the hospital John taught me, smile as much as I can because hey, why not? And that, I feel, is a pretty good expectation to have.