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Susie Ekberg Risher, Published May 06 2014

50/50: The old and the restless

It’s May and I’m a third of the way through my yearlong challenge to lose 50 pounds in 50 weeks.

The good news? I’ve lost 26 pounds. The bad news? I’m bored.

I’ve gotten to the “good enough” stage. After all, I’ve been doing this for four months – that’s good enough. I’ve lost half the weight – that’s good enough. I look good enough. I exercise kind of regularly and eat clean most of the time. I should eat more vegetables, but I’ve lost my appetite. My knees hurt when I was walking on the treadmill every day.

I’ve lost my focus, and I need to get it back because I almost ate a chocolate-covered pomegranate yesterday. And we all know what a slippery slope that is – once I start on the chocolate I just can’t stop.

Part of it started when my Jawbone Flex broke. Using the health tracking wrist device was fun because my friend Deb’s on my “team,” and we comment on each other’s activities.

“Hey – great sleep last night! What’s your secret?”

“Wow – 15,235 steps? You’re a ROCKSTAR!”

I’m an expert sleeper and Deb walks a lot. But once my Flex broke, I didn’t think about the quality of my sleep or how many steps I needed to walk before I hit 10,000. I could guesstimate and say, “Oh I’m sure that walking out to my car was at least 1,000 steps.”

So what do we do when we want to keep going but the thrill that an organic carrot one brought is no longer there? I need to step back a bit and regroup.

Why did I want to do this in the first place? To feel stronger, healthier and more in control of my life.

When I look deeper into my “why,” I discover that I think if I’m strong then I’ll have to bear more burdens. If I stay weak, I can always say, “I’d love to help you but my back’s out,” or “I’d be there if I didn’t have this killer headache.”

I have trouble saying no, so I keep myself weak as a protection. It’s the next thing I’m want to change, so for the month of May I’m going to loosen up on the weight loss focus and name May “Strength Month.”

I’m going to commit to strength training. My warrior body is craving it, and I think this may be a big next step for me.

Do I feel healthier? Definitely.

Do I feel more in control of my life? Not so much.

I just finished a three-state work trip last weekend – 1,500 miles in five days. You may be shocked to know there is not much organic food in any gas station in North or South Dakota. I survived on cashews, coffee and water for most of my travel time. By the time I got to Oacoma, S.D., that’s exactly how I felt – Oh … a coma.

It’s tough to balance everything, and usually anything related to health is the first thing taken off my list.

I don’t really need to get on the treadmill – I can take Meesha for a walk later (only I don’t take her for a walk later). I don’t have time to do great meal planning, so the boys have been fending for themselves, usually something involving ripping open a frozen package. I open a can of salmon and eat a salad. It’s now almost midnight, and instead of sleeping I’m writing this column.

I need to lighten up, but I don’t know what that means. What I actually should be doing is getting back to the basics of good sleep, good exercise and good food. I’m tired of my “good enough” mentality.

I’m not bored with all of my great changes – I’m tired of my old attitudes creeping back into my life.

So with a deep breath and renewed vigor, I pledge to walk those darned 10,000 steps tomorrow, Deb – Jawbone sent me a replacement Flex. I’m going in to train with Andrea in a few minutes (and work on getting rid of my bingo wings – you know, when you raise your hand and wave your arm and scream “Bingo!”), and tonight I’m making a beautiful dinner.

I remember why I started this journey four months ago – to show myself that I am worth it.


Susie Ekberg Risher is a writer living in Fargo. Follow her on a yearlong journey to lose 50 pounds – half through emotional work and half through physical effort. Readers can reach her at tall_susie@yahoo.com.