Three weeks ago my brother and I went to the opening ceremony of the inaugural Invictus Games. For those of you who are not in the know, this is a sporting event where injured and ill servicemen and women from all over the world compete in a format very similar to the Paralympic Games. Those of you that know me will know that I have an enormous soft spot for our armed forces and as such I jumped at the chance to buy tickets to go and be apart of these games. What I hadn't anticipated is just how inspired I would feel.
Those of you who were regular readers of this blog, I apologise for not writing in over four months. I also apologise to any one who I have inspired for seemingly giving up after a first year undergraduate called me fat whilst we were on excavation together. If this made anyone feel alone or frustrated or worried that I fell unceremoniously off the bandwagon, I'm here to tell you that I didn't. But I very, VERY nearly did. The final weeks of university were hard. I took every opportunity to spend time with people that I could and as such I struggled to lose any weight. Over the months that followed I had a wedding to go to, birthday parties to attend and more than one barbecue to contend with. Every time I fell down I'd pull myself back up by the bootstraps and recommit but unfortunately this only really happened for a week and then I'd fall right back down again. Finding out that I hadn't got onto the postgrad program I wanted, severe tendonitis and plantar fasciitis resulted in my having to pull out of the Great North Run and then the death of my beloved (albeit ancient) cat caused me to slip further and further into the hole I was digging for myself.
Every day I would put more shit into my mouth and every day I felt physically unwell. My skin was sallow and greying, the rest I had been prescribed for my ankle left me weaker than I'd been in months and restless to the point of distraction and I have never wanted to track less than in those few weeks. I thought about giving up every. Single. Day. And then I went to the Invictus Games. And I saw individuals who had had limbs blown off, been shot through both hemispheres of the brain and had even been put in a body bag before the weakest, tiniest signs of life were noticed. These, truly extraordinary, individuals were competing at the highest level of athleticism and the fact that they stood their before us, proudly displaying their injuries and turning their disabilities into capabilities shocked me to my core. Here I am, in the prime of life and I'm giving up because it's 'too hard'.
Don't get me wrong, losing weight is incredibly hard. At this point in my life losing weight, or rather maintaining the commitment to lose weight, is the hardest thing I have ever EVER done. And yet, I know that this mission CAN be accomplished. The GB team captain David Henson, a double amputee and the gold medal winner of the 200m sprint, said in the BBC documentary prior to the opening ceremony that real legs are great things. And here I was bitching and moaning about a sore ankle. I resolved that I would return home and make a change because if these titans could return from such tremendous adversity and be winning gold medals and setting new records then I could certainly bounce back from all that I was struggling with at the time.
The time since then has been difficult, I cried in the kitchen to my mum because I was so frustrated to have been where I was months ago and no amount of motivational speeches gave me the confidence back that I had at the beginning of the journey, and yet I plodded on. I'm 9 lbs back on track but I know that it is still early days. However, as painful as it may feel and as frustrating as it certainly can be, the only failure will come when I turn off my scales forever and stop caring all together.
What I do know is this:
'I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul' Invictus William Ernest Henley
And it is MY fate to succeed. This fight is not yet over.