Building Confidence

Last week, after stepping on the scale and realizing that I weigh more than I have in over twenty years, I realized that I had quietly been using a word I despise for months. FAT. I hate describing anybody, even myself that way. It is a demeaning word. It is a demoralizing word.

I realized that with the use of that word I have beaten the confidence out of myself. I walk with stooped shoulders. I wear clothes that cover my fat and worse than that I avoid going out where I might run into anybody who knows me. (On a side note, when meeting someone you notice has gained weight please don’t say, “So, are you still running?” We know what that means. We know you recognize how much weight we have gained. It is not helpful.)

After seeing this new Ann in my mind’s eye, I knew I needed to do something to help build back the confidence. Yes, I am working out. I am eating better and I know this will get me back to a reasonable weight but what about morale? How do I go about feeling better about myself? The more I thought, the more I realized that gaining confidence is not easy. But still, if I have learned anything in training over the years it is that every little bit counts. Every ounce of positive I add to my life reduces the negative by just enough to start tipping the scales.

Saturday morning I was sweating bullets as I prepared for my longish run. I had agreed to meet some RWB Annapolis members for a run. Some were people who know me, people who would see how far I had fallen. Others were people who did not know me and would make certain assumptions about me based on my weight. My lack of confidence almost made me cancel. But I did not. I pushed through the discomfort and headed out the door.

As we stood beside the trail trying to decide who would run with who, we started sharing the distances we would be running. When I said I would be running 8 miles, jaws dropped. The group was almost all newbies, people for whom 8 miles was a feat. Instantly, I realized that even at this weight I am still a runner.

Even better, as I started running, I understood just how much it takes to carry this much weight around and I was able to find a positive. If I am carrying this much around now, I am my own resistance trainer. I will get stronger with every run and eventually the weight will come off. And best of all, when it does, I will be carrying around this lighter frame with the same body structure that carries this bigger one, making running so much easier in the long run.

I understand there is a long way to go. But I have said it before and it still stands. There is only one way to eat an elephant – one bite at a time.