July 2nd, 2010

Running

Pain

As I ran an easy run over my lunch break I was struck by the amounts and kinds of pain one endures on a weight loss journey.

It was an easy run but after a tempo run yesterday my knee is a little tender. It happens when you are overweight and running or biking. It's hard on the body and unless you want to wait until you lose the weight to get fit (making both processes longer) it's something that is to be endured. Tonight will involve weight training so my arms, shoulders and back will be a little sore by morning. Not horrible pain but just one more thing that we deal with. I'm honestly one of the lucky ones. It's really easy to get a sports injury as well. Our joints were not designed to carry this much weight under stress and parts fail, blisters come up, tendons pull and occasional even bones break. There is a lot of pain in exercise.

There is also the pain of hunger. To be overweight it is almost required to eat past the point of satiety. Going into any eating plan, most of us are total strangers to the feeling of REAL hunger. The uncomfortable dizzy that comes from the low blood sugar, the gnawing in the pit of our stomach and in some cases mild panic can set in. Retraining our brains to walk past that food stand is painful. This is a source of not only nourishment but joy. The delicious tastes and textures comfort us and bring us small moments of happiness and now, when we need that happiness most...we must turn away.

and after all of this...it's still worth it.

There is the pain of having kids giggle, having people look at you with disgust, of having to special order clothes that fit. The pain of eating in secret, feeling you are unworthy of love or happiness or in some really bad moments...even life. I could see it in the face of two women who looked up at me as I ran past. They were alone on benches, eating their lunch looking up at me with pain in their eyes that is all too familiar, I've seen it in the mirror. These are the pains I can no longer endure.

There is a T-Shirt marketed at runners. On the front it says "I Run Because..." and on the back it lists reasons and one has long resonated with me: "Because stopping would hurt so much more than a lost toenail or blister."  It seems that with weight loss there are a lot of things that would and have hurt so much more than what I'm doing now.

Think on this this weekend. Live your life but be mindful of how far you've come, how far you want to go and how where you have already been is so much worse...and that's why you will NEVER go back.