30 Days of Gratitude – Day #17, Force of Will


Continuing with my 30 Days of Gratitude, I am thankful for the willpower to make things happen.

Day #17 – I WILL Do This!

As a kid growing up, lots of things came pretty easy for me – all of my classes at school, picking up musical instruments, and even baseball was pretty natural for me as a young kid. While that seems like all ‘upside’, the reality is that when it comes easy – you don’t have to work as hard. As a result ‘study habits’ were something I had to learn later on in life.

One thing that also came pretty easily for me as I hit puberty and beyond was gaining weight. Always a big kid with a late-to-arrive ‘full belly’ signal, during junior high, high school and college the pounds just piled on. I knew I should do two basic things: eat less and exercise more (duh). But I didn’t … I always put weight loss lower on the priority scale.

So when I made a decision at the beginning of 1989 to really get my stuff together in terms of being healthy … I was scared. I didn’t tell anyone because I assumed I would fail. I didn’t think I could do it.

But then I discovered something – willpower and control. I didn’t realize they were there all the time. All of those times I pulled an all-nighter for college finishing a project, writing up an engineering lab report or whatever – those were willpower moments, times of self-control.

But instead of feeling good about how I applied my strength of will like never before and lost nearly 200lbs in 1989, I felt ashamed … felt bad because what I was saw was that weight loss came easily like other things and was something I should have done years before. Maybe I could have … maybe not – but the important thing was I did it.

Losing 110lbs in 2012 showed me something – first that I CAN do it, and second that it is NOT trivial. I was so much more self-aware this time, partially because it wasn’t the first time, partially because I was more mature, and partially because now I was also training for a marathon and ramping my mileage.

Funny thing about fueling for a marathon while also losing an extreme amount of weight? It is a HUGE challenge! Just losing weight is much easier (for me) – I could just leverage my control and do unhealthy food restriction and celebrate my hunger and watch the pounds drop off as I was running just a few miles daily.

But when I was running 50+ miles, working to cut my pace and do weekend long runs … I needed FUEL. That meant eating things I KNEW were calorie and protein and fat dense. And THAT was hard.

But I did it … and I have maintained it for 2.5 years now, with no intention of letting it go.

Point is – I sold myself short by thinking it was easy. It never was … it was really hard, and I have my strong will and self-control to thank.

Do things come easily to you or do you have to put your all into what you do?

Not gonna lie – ran this song through my head more than a few times when I was first losing weight back in ’89 …

7 thoughts on “30 Days of Gratitude – Day #17, Force of Will

  1. I can relate to having to learn “study habits” later on, but it was only because I avoided things I wasn’t good at as a kid! Now I try to be really mindful to have my kids engage in activities that don’t come naturally, but it’s a challenge to get kids to do this!

    • Thanks Michele … it is a really hard thing. Our basic thing growing up was for them to try things, and no mid-season quitting. They both got karate brown belts, played little league and soccer and some basketball, made it through cub scouts and webelos and a bunch of other things. But they weren’t interested for what was involved getting to black belt, or towards eagle scout, or the more competitive soccer and baseball. It is hard to know when enough is enough, but for us it was mostly middle school when we started splitting ‘pushing’ for ‘passion’. We had them in a great drama program from when they were really little, and that has definitely translated through the years (they are actually going to an adult theater workshop starting today). So it is never easy …

  2. I think it’s remarkable that you managed these weight losses, especially when needing to figure out fueling for a marathon. I really commend you because we all have to eat and we live in a world that really likes to eat for all sorts of reasons. You did a difficult, wonderful thing that you should be proud of.

    • Thanks – and I know that ultimately what you say is true … but like most of us who have to work through challenges I have plenty of stupidity to fall back on. My big one was my first half-marathon where I was still heavily in weight loss mode and learned the reality of the nee to fuel by almost crashing completely! 🙂

  3. Pingback: 30 Days of Gratitude Revisited | Running Around the Bend

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