The finish line

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Weight loss is often referred to as a “journey” or a “marathon.” People focus on the long, arduous, difficult nature of the process, but also the sweet satisfaction that comes from crossing that ultimate finish line. At the beginning of my weight loss, that “finish line” seemed impossible: 200 lbs away! More than half my original bodyweight! That goal, the end zone, the destination seemed like a pipe dream.

Except it’s not. Now, I have just 30 lbs to go until my goal weight. And while that is still not an insignificant number of pounds, compared to where I’ve been, it feels more like a certainty that I will at some point get there.

I know in my heart of hearts that one morning, I will wake up (probably after snoozing my alarm at least 3 times, making my sleepy husband think murderous thoughts about me at 4:30, then 4:35, then 4:40… you get the idea. Morning me is always convinced that those NEXT 5 minutes will SURELY make the difference between groggy beyond all hope and awake.) and drag myself out of bed. I will go through my pre-gym routine and then, right before I put my gym clothes on, I will pull the scale out from underneath the bathroom sink, line it up to the correct spot on the floor, and I will step on it.

I will wait for the numbers to settle on the morning verdict. Some mornings, I get good news, some mornings it’s disappointing. But on this day, this day that I know is coming eventually, the scale is going to settle on a new number.

My goal weight.

I’ve visualized this scenario plenty of times. This is the scenario that forces me out of bed at 4:30… okay 4:50 in the morning more days than not. This is the scenario that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other. This is the scenario that encourages me to choose not to take out my frustration, depression and anger out on my body by injuring myself with food.

The image of the scale settling on my goal weight has become as real in my brain as some legitimate memories I’ve created, even though it has not happened yet. Because I know at some point, it will happen. I’ve come too far to fail now. The shore is too close turn around now.

But that day, that image, that salient moment, that very real scenario is not the sigh of relief nor the finish line.

More and more, as I meet people who have seen that scale settle on their goal weight, I am struck by one overwhelming thought as they tell me their stories:

There is no finish line.

When the scale settles on my goal weight, I will have accomplished a major goal that I really had very little faith I would ever experience. But that moment will be far from the end.

A hard truth that I am coming to terms with at the moment is that these mental demons I’ve been fighting with and the habits I struggle to break are going to follow me. They will always be the devil on my shoulder. Always.

Reaching my goal weight will be many things, but it will not be a magical turning point that means I no longer have to worry about the fears and insecurities that plague me. It isn’t the cure-all to happiness and self-love. Even at my goal weight, there will be days where I want to turn to calories for comfort. There will be days that my depression whispers its doubts into my ear.

There is no finish line. There is no moment where I just get to declare this journey to be at its end. Sometimes, especially in those doubtful moments, that thought is overwhelming. But if I have learned nothing else along the way, I have learned this:

No day matters but this day and what I choose to do with it. I start fresh at the beginning of the game today, regardless of yesterday’s successes or failures. It all starts new today.

And again tomorrow… And again the next day… This step. This decision. This bite. This breath. This morning.

It all starts over new.

Step by step. Decision by decision. Bite by bite. Breath by breath. Morning by morning. Day by day. Just this one.

And then one more.

And then one more….

Always one more.  Never finished.  Never complacent.

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