Thursday, October 27, 2011

Seasons Come, Seasons Go

My Back Porch - April 2011

My Back Porch - October, 2011

I haven't written much lately about my ongoing quest to reach, stabilize and maintain my weight where my body functions best.  So many periods of renewed enthusiasm followed by times when it simply doesn't seem worth it.  In some ways, I might allow myself to think I'm doing well if you can define "well" as maintaining over a period of time.  There have been lengthy periods of time when that would not have been the case.  I was either losing or gaining - there was no middle ground.  And I am grateful for that lesson which seems to have stuck with me.  I have maintained a stable weight for well over a year now.  But it is not the weight at which I want to stay.

And that most vividly manifests itself when I am on the hiking trail.  Yesterday, my best hiking bud and I enjoyed a beautiful 9.6 mile hike on a trail that is rated easy.  Believe me, those are few and far between in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  You are either on a breath stealing ascent or a knee killing descent.  Three years ago, a 10-mile hike was a piece of cake.  Yesterday, the last mile was a killer and today, I've been worthless!  If you know me at all, you know that to mess with my ability to hike will get my attention quickly!  I began noticing this last spring when longer hikes took a greater toll than I remembered.   I blamed it on all the health problems I was having then and that probably had some merit, but I now believe I was also using it as a method of denying the role that extra pounds play in energy and stamina.  

But spring hiking season came and went.  I don't hike much in the summer, so didn't pay much attention until yesterday.  Autumn hiking season is here.  I have huge goals for covering new trails and completing my 2011 mileage.  I don't like admitting that my lackluster attitude toward achieving my weight and fitness milestones are going to interfere with my hiking season, but they are.  

As I often find here in BlogLand, one of my much-loved blog friends came through with a most timely post this morning.  Cammy at Tippy Toe Diet  wrote about not looking back, but pressing ahead.   I read this just as I was on the couch bemoaning how difficult yesterday's hike was and what a mess I'd made of the fitness level I had achieved three years ago.  But that's looking back and accomplishes nothing.  That was then - this is now.   Seasons come - seasons go!  The flowers that were on my back porch in the spring are gone.  If I continue looking back at them, I'll fail to see the full beauty of the mums on my back porch RIGHT NOW.   As you can see from today's pictures, my back porch didn't change.  What was on it did!  

It may be that I'll not be able to hike 12-15 mile hikes this season.  But you better believe, I'll not fail to enjoy the hikes that I CAN do and be filled with gratitude every day that I can hike at all.  And I'll look forward to next season when those longer trails will be waiting for me.  

Change is good.  I've always been one that enjoyed change rather than fighting it.  I'm learning lots from you and from writing this blog.  Just when I need it most, someone always comes through with the words I need on that particular day.  It's time to quit looking back.  It's time to remind myself that yesterday's goals might not be practical today.  Yesterday's weight might have been achievable for someone five years younger who had not yet been through the deaded "change" or been diagnosed with thyroid disease.  Tomorrow's goals will better serve who I am today and maybe it's time to rethink those.   Maybe it's time to develop new ways of reaching them.  Maybe it's just time to relax, enjoy the present and let the future take care of itself.

Seasons come, seasons go.  The flowers on my back porch in the fall are equally as beautiful as those on my back porch in the spring.  But they are different and they are cared for differently.  Just like me.  And just like you.  

Is there anything you need to rethink? 


  1. Isn't it interesting how the same situations can be viewed through different lenses -- providing quite different views. Interestingly though, the feelings are often still the same, and the facts haven't changed either.

    I hope you'll have a wonderful autumn hiking season --- and take note of all of your accomplishments large and small.

  2. I'm so happy I provided something useful, friend o'mine. I love your additional insight in that the nature of his p.o.v. is like the seasons, ever changing and part of life. I'm excited to think of what all you might accomplish as you approach the days and trails ahead!

    (Side note, I covet your porch!)

  3. Pragmatic. Practical. Upbeat. Your ruminations have done you good. But it is also an acceptance that we change, both physically and mentally as we age and of course in our efforts to become healthier. I think what you are really getting at is a new realism. That is powerful and uplifting.

    Yes, there are many things that I am currently thinking about. Now that I am nearing 40 pounds off, I am trying to imagine, realistically, what my target weight should be. I have never pinned down a number. I know my number will not be what the charts say, at least I do not believe so, but more what I feel is right given my size and age.

    Happy hiking.

  4. Like you, I probably ought to rethink my goal weight. When I started the Atkins diet in 2003(just after my 32nd birthday), I had no idea what I should weigh — just what the weight charts said I ought to weigh. I picked a number in the middle (160) and went with it. I got 9 pounds away before I met the Boyfriend and started regaining.

    Now that I just turned 40 and I'm doing Atkins again, the weight isn't coming off as quickly. Maybe it's because I'm older, but I wonder if 160 is still attainable.

  5. This post has so many lessons hidden beneath the layers, Sharon. I think many of us do this exact same thing - we look at what has already happened and have difficulty in accepting the fact that we change just like everything else around us. The truth is, all any of us can do is the best for ourselves today.

  6. Sharon, I've been thinking about this post since you wrote it. A 9.6 mile hike is a tremendous amount of exercise. I guess I want to hear more. What are your new plans/goals. I wonder about exercise that you can do during the summer to keep your conditioning. Or do you think that you will have to be content with shorter hikes as you age? (You know I can only say that because I am the same age and thinking/wondering about the same thing.)

    Anyway, I think I'd be exhausted the day after a 9.6 mile hike!

  7. Great post- and great reminders for all of us!

  8. I can always count on you to provide a thought provoking post Sharon. Love this!

    I have had a little set back with a weight gain but I am looking forward not back. I can't change what has happened but I do have some control over what will happen.