When I was 9, I played AYSO soccer on a team called the Rockets. Since I wasn’t the most aggressive kid, the coach put me on defense. One particular game, an opponent kicked the ball toward me, and in trying to stop it, I somehow spun it into our own goal. That’s right–I scored a goal for the other team. Needless to say, despite our winning the game, I didn’t get to go out with the other kids for ice cream that day.

Unlike that display of, um, athletic coordination (or lack thereof), most of us don’t accidentally reach our goals. In fact, sometimes it takes a lot of hard work.

In 2009, I was about 28 pounds away from reaching my Weight Watchers goal. I had lost 70 pounds over 4 years, and thought I could make it the rest of the way on my own. Why not? That goal was so close…I could almost taste it! I had the knowledge and experience to get me there. But I was very wrong. I reverted to my old way of eating, and when depression hit, I buried myself in food. Without the support of others on a weight loss journey, and the accountability of the scale, I regained everything I had lost–and then some.

I once again had become that person that I had tried so hard to leave behind.

In January of 2014, I realized that I couldn’t be fat and miserable anymore. I set out to change my lifestyle and attempt to lose the weight for good. Before me was a daunting task–I had 115 pounds to lose–practically another small-framed person!

I changed my eating habits and started exercising again. In April, I started racing again, even though I was well over 200 pounds. As I lost weight, I ran more, and my 5K times gradually got better. My energy and endurance improved, and I started to feel better about myself. My progress was slow, and I had setbacks, but I kept pressing on toward my goal.

Now, it’s January 2017. I’ve lost just over 81 pounds, and I have 34 more to lose. I feel like I’m in the last couple miles of a half-marathon. I can’t see the finish line, but I know it’s there, and I’m getting closer to it. I know the reward waiting for me is greater than the struggles I face getting to the finish.

The problem is, the finish line isn’t the end. Once I hit my goal weight, I would like to maintain it for the rest of my life.  I will have to continue the pattern I set in motion three years ago. Sure, there may be days when I feel like I can’t eat one more apple. There might be the occasional lapse in judgment when I can’t control a craving. But I have to remember why I started this journey in the first place. I hope that I will always recall how awful I felt at my heaviest when I’m tempted to binge.

It’s going to be hard work, but it’s going to be worth it.

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