I started out doing well. I was on a good schedule, exercising, meditating, and doing some spiritual study everyday, when a minor tragedy occurred…
My oldest son’s college course was canceled on one day in April, and giving him the time to take our dog for his daily walk. I decided to take advantage of the little bit of freedom from my beloved canine, and drive to a local lake (above) and walk the paths….an hour walk, is what I decided to do…30 minutes one way, then turn around. (The path all the way around the lake is LONG, 5.3 miles to be exact, so I knew I couldn’t do the whole thing) Well, I had just hit the 30 minute mark and was about to turn around, when I stepped incorrectly on a bump in the asphalt path, sending me tumbling to the ground, pain shooting through my right ankle.
I sat for a few seconds, holding my ankle, taking deep breaths, tears in my eyes. I tried standing up, only to have my head start spinning, things getting blurry and dark. So, I quickly sat down. The last thing I needed was to pass out on the hard asphalt and crack my head open! My heart was racing, my ankle aching and I was more than a mile from my car (about 1.3 miles).
I think I sat for about 5 minutes, until the pain in my ankle subsided a bit. I think adrenaline kept me going during the walk back, because my ankle didn’t hurt that bad. When I got back to the car, it was beginning to hurt a bit more.
I had a few errands to run. My ankle didn’t hurt too much. (I’ve had sprains before, and this one was mild in comparison to some) So, I decided I could finish my errands, then go home and ice it for a while. Well, by the time I got to the store, my ankle hurt so bad, I couldn’t press on the brake! Pressing the gas was okay, but pressing the break hurt like a …. well, it hurt a lot. So, I used my left foot to break. Driving very carefully and slowly, I finally made it home.
My ankle never did turn black and blue or swell, but it sure did hurt. (It actually still bothers me somewhat) This really put a wrench into my sabbatical plans. I had just lost 4 pounds in 2 days when this happened. How was I supposed to exercise and do yoga with a bum ankle? Not to be deterred, I found online exercise videos for people with injured ankles. (See my journal here and here.)
Well, with my special exercise videos, I felt like I was back on track, only to have another issue. My oldest son sprained his back, diverting my attention away from myself, and toward my son, who couldn’t move much in the early days. When that issue subsided a bit, my better half came down with a severe case of the flu, leading him to be bed ridden for more than a week, requiring my focus on caring for him, instead of myself. During this time, I did my best to exercise when I had time, but my daily meditation and spiritual study were essentially thrown out the window.
In May, I implemented my own weight loss plan, which I had developed in school. It wasn’t working, and was causing me to lose weight a few days during the week, then gain it back on other days during the week. So, my weight loss was at a stand still. I realized I’d need to sit down and reevaluate the plan. My plan involved calorie/carb recycling. Some days were low carb/low calorie and other days were high carb/high calorie. I would lose weight on the low carb days and gain it back on the high carb days.
I adjusted the amount of carbs on the high carb days and was starting to lose weight. At this point, mid-May, I had lost about 8 pounds from the beginning of my sabbatical. This was well behind my goal, but at least I was losing weight. Through out April, I was also doing really well with my online journal, logging progress.
That’s when the next tragedy occurred, which threw everything out the window: my weight loss, my spiritual study, my meditation and my online journal. On Mother’s day, my beloved Grandmother died. She was 102, so it wasn’t completely unexpected. We just thought we had more time with her. So, my better half and I went back to South Dakota for a week for the funeral. (If you’re interested in a few of my Grandmother’s personal recipes, FOLLOW THIS LINK.)
I’m a stress eater, and I’m also a sugar addict, so going home, to all the good cooking, was bad news for my plan. Sad, depressed and stressed, I fell completely off my food wagon. I turned to my one weakness, soda. There was also so much good, home cooked food, which I dearly miss living so far from home. Needless to say, I gained back what little weight I had lost. I was back to square one.
By the time we got back from South Dakota I felt defeated and essentially gave up. I was in a deep depression, not caring about anyone or anything. I felt like such a failure. I had such big plans for this sabbatical, such high hopes, only to fail. I think the worst part of the whole thing is having to write this post, telling you of my failure. But, if I let this failure get to me, and stop me, that would be the worst tragedy of all.
During the final week of my sabbatical, my son attended the Congress for Future Science and Technology Leaders, in Lowell, Massachusetts. My better half attended with him, and I watched the motivational speeches, live online. The speakers ranged from inspiring teenage inventors, to MIT professors and Nobel prize winning scientists. The major lesson at the event:
In speech after speech, the delegates were told stories of failure, after failure, after failure. None of these people tried once and succeeded. Most tried dozens, even hundreds of times, before they ultimately succeeded. The lesson is not to give up. The only way to fail is to quit.
This was fortuitous timing for me and something I really needed to hear, after the incredible failure during my sabbatical. So, I’m back “on the wagon” and back trying to lose weight. The only way I can fail losing weight, is to quit. Since failure isn’t an option, quitting isn’t an option either.