“Wow, I can’t believe how much weight you lost in so little time! How did you do it?”
I’ve heard at least ten people say something similar to me in the past month. I always get the feeling that they’re looking for some revolutionary advice or that there’s some crazy secret to how I did it, like I got struck by lightening and my new super power is that I dropped weight.
“Oh, it was super easy,” I usually say.
“In January, I stopped eating excess sugar.
In February, I started working out.
In March, I got serious about working out and did six days of HIIT a week, ramping up the difficulty every two weeks.
In April, I maintained.
In May, I started counting calories.
In June, the weight finally started coming off.”
People seem disappointed by this response.
Along the way though, I started looking at my health a little differently.
I’d always been a pretty slender person. It wasn’t until my 30’s that I started putting on weight, and because I had a lifetime of unhealthy habits (I could definitely put down half a pizza in my 20’s without thinking about it), my slowing metabolism hit me hard. Coupled some chronic bronchitis that required me to go on steroids multiple times, I put on about 40 pounds in the course of one year, and had no idea how to get rid of it.
Years ago, my older brother, when he was teaching me to play Dungeons & Dragons, described elves to me as looking much like…me. Slender, on the short side (These were D&D elves, not Tolkien), an affinity for the forest, and with superior agility. I took a lot of pride in that. Now, in my 30’s, I went from being able to climb trees with ease to wincing in pain when I had to squat down to get into my locker at work because my knees weren’t happy with me due to the excess weight and general inactivity.
It was depressing.
On top of that, I’d started thinking about my beloved grandmother more often. I love my grandmom. She was sassy and stubborn and I take pride in the fact that she and I are a lot alike. But by the end of her life, she also was wheelchair bound due to complications with diabetes, unable to do the things she loved.
I want to be like my grandmom, but not in that way.
I wanted to be able to go for hikes in the forest. I wanted to be able to do obstacle course races. I wanted to be able to feel as strong as my blood elf paladin in WoW.
I wanted to feel like myself again.
So in January, I made a promise to myself. This was the year that I wouldn’t bother with New Year’s resolutions. I just decided to see if I could go thirty days without sugar. I took small steps. I stuck with it. And I learned a lot about myself along the way.
One thing I noticed during this process is that a lot of the Instagram #fitsperation posts didn’t really inspire me. I didn’t see myself in these women. I wanted to see more like women like myself, geeks who find their inspiration in the stories they read and watch and play, as well as from every day life. I don’t pretend to be the only geeky lady out there with something to say about their quest for wellness, but if what I have to say helps just one person find their inner Brienne of Tarth, I’m happy.
And so here we are. Daily Quest: Fitness. Anyone who’s played a MMO in the last ten years has probably done a daily quest or five thousand. And that’s how I look at my quest for wellness now. It’s a daily quest and a lifestyle to get me to my goals. And my goals are no longer a number on a scale, but instead being able to do the things I love, like raiding a castle to kill the dragon and get awesome loot.
Or, you know, completing a Spartan Race and getting a cool medal at the end.
Trust me, it’s basically the same thing.