Finding Hope in an Inhaler

“No one ever loses weight and feels worse,” the expert doctor proclaimed on YouTube. Umm, except for me. Since September, I’ve lost 60 pounds, and honestly, I can’t remember a longer period of my life where I’ve felt sicker with a constant cough, major fatigue, and shortness of breath. I struggle to get through most weeks. With each passing month, you start to abandon any hope you’ll feel better soon.

My (lack of) health is a source of sadness and sometimes despair. Unhealthy is nothing new, though. I’ve been overweight or obese for 35 of the last 43 years. This latest period, though, has been hella hard, but some of my pain is self-inflicted. Instead of celebrating my wins, like consistently logged all of my food, made better food choices, I often ruminate on my misfortune and wonder when the end of me feeling so bad will be.

After a reset in nature on an unseasonably warm day, I realized I had another solution to what ailed me: PERSPECTIVE. So many things are outside of my control. Perspective and mindset, though, are all me. I continue to make myself the victim, or I can instead frame my current struggles in a more empowering way with a perspective that will propel me forward instead of one that keeps me stuck.

Reframing my situation starts like this. My breathing troubles are happening FOR me, not TO me. I’m being given a chance to show the universe how fcking determined I am to get healthy and make the best of this one life. Reduced lung capacity, fck you, I’m gonna work towards getting healthier regardless.

No mention of perspective and a lack of progress would be complete without mentioning another idea that I often struggle to apply: “non-attachment to the results.” I first discovered this idea in Dan Harris’ 10% Happier, but it’s based on the Buddhist principle of “non-attachment.”

Dan Harris on “why non-attachment to results”

This idea is applicable to all aspects of life, but especially when you embark on a journey to lose weight and get healthy. There will be times that the scale won’t budge despite you staying In a calorie deficit and laying off the sugar and carbs. Or, despite losing a significant amount of weight, you look the same. Or you have significantly less aerobic fitness despite losing a considerable amount of weight.

If it were all about the expected outcome, it would be easy to get discouraged, play the victim, and quit. However, eating healthy, focusing on my health isn’t about the results, but it’s a way to reaffirm my self-worth and practice self-care.

Despite the lack of apparent improvements in aerobic fitness, I’m staying the course and consistently take action on the things that move me towards a healthier me. I’m worth it, and my goals are that important. Old Becky might quit when the scale didn’t move fast enough, life got too messy, or walking up the stairs got me too winded. Not this time.

Becky Elliott

After dropping out of a liberal arts college that focused on reading and discussing the “Great Books”, Becky Elliott found her way to a career in IT. For 20+ years, she has held a number of roles in Dev and Ops, and the area in between the two. In working for organizations in which poor security practices can cost lives, she’s an ardent believer in integrating security through the entire design process. Becky holds a number of industry certifications including the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP).

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