Sunday, March 30, 2008

40 Pounds of Freedom

How much does change weigh? I'd say about 40 pounds.

Yesterday afternoon when Chris took a nap, I did a novel thing: I piled the kids into the new double stroller and went for a long walk. We hiked it all the way to the nearest park which is nearly a mile away. Ben's favorite park, he was so thrilled to see the slides. He didn't mind that we had to climb over a snowbank to get to them.

As I walked at a steady clip, I threw my shoulders back and held my head high. I felt strong and capable, fit and responsible. I felt like I was part of a community, even though I was nearly the only one out wandering around. I felt like I was doing something for the environment because I walked instead of drove. I felt ... free.

I pondered the change that has taken place in my home since January 5th. It's remarkable, but at the same time, it's so hard to describe the full range. We're working side by side towards our goals. The house is coming together, and we both feel proud of what we have and own. We're taking time to exercise our bodies and to really think about what we are eating. We trying new things and entertaining new ideas.

As for me, I feel like this 40 pounds was a cloud hanging over my head. I was so sedentary before. The house was in disarray because I didn't really feel like getting off the couch to do anything about it. I avoided the outdoors because it meant activity and more time away from my laptop. I seemed to have a wall built between me and the me I wanted to be but wouldn't let myself examine because I was scared of change.

So as I walked proudly down the sidewalk, pushing my babies, a bounce in my step, I felt free. I felt free of the apathy and inertia that ruled my life before. I felt connected with my body as it moved without strain and pain. I felt my lungs expand with the fresh air that comes with living in a tiny city in America's heartland. I felt like I had accomplished something, my Everest, and I felt like I had turned a page and started on the next story of my life.

The scale read 204 this morning. On January 5th, I weighed 241. I haven't been 204 since I was 20. Though I'm still far from my ultimate weight loss goal, I've made it this far, and I have the tools to keep going. I've developed new habits, and I have every confidence in myself that I'll take this all the way to the next summit. I wish I had done this sooner, but I'm grateful for all the mistakes I've made and the wrong paths I've taken because they've made this new freedom all the more precious.