A friend of mine -- who lives out of state but has been keeping up with my progress by reading my columns -- asked me a funny question the other day about my Fittest Loser journey.
"I really expected you to be a lot more whiny," she said (Fair point. I expected me to be more whiny, too.) "How are you staying so cheerful about it all?"
Starting weight: 249
Current weight: 218
Weight lost this week: 1 pound
Total weight loss: 31 pounds, 12.4 percent
Before I could even answer, she continued: "It's not very motivating to read about somebody's weight loss struggle when they're happy about it all the time. You need to be a little more real."
I'm not sure I completely agree with that, but I suppose I see her point. Sometimes, you just want to know you're no different from anyone else.
OK, fine. I'll admit it: I sometimes get really frustrated with -- and occasionally even whine about -- this whole quest for fitness.
I had to completely change my schedule. I work second shift, and I used to sleep until after noon (usually WAY past noon) most days. Now I'm up by 8:30 a.m. on weekday mornings to work out, and at about 5:30 a.m. on Saturdays for boot camp.
I can't eat whatever I want to, and sometimes that's pretty annoying. Especially when I have super random cravings for things. As I write this, for no apparent reason, I really want a biscuit with mayonnaise on it. Weird. I've never eaten that in my entire life.
Every once in a while, when my trainer, Push Fitness owner Josh Steckler, asks me if I'm "ready to work," I want to say "Nah. But I am ready take a nap on that bench right over there."
I almost always procrastinate hitting the treadmill on the days I don't train with Josh. You know that ridiculous procrastination, where you suddenly decide I must learn all of calculus right this very second? Yeah. I do stuff like that.
I also expected to have ninja-level fitness skills by now. Unless a ninja trips over her own feet, I'm not one yet. Did I mention my knee hurts?
But I'd like to note what I haven't said. I've never said "This is not worth it."
I can unequivocally say that all of those small sacrifices I've made the past few months have been absolutely worth it. Sure, I have moments where I forget that, as well as what an incredible opportunity this is. Not to mention the moments when my inner critic looks at my reflection and thinks "You still look like the same fat person, no matter what the scale says."
When those things happen, I try on pairs of pants that fit a few months ago but now are much too big. I reread all the encouraging emails I've gotten from people throughout this process. I remind myself how awesome I feel after I've worked out for an hour at Push or at my gym, or how accomplished I feel when Josh reminds me how much more I can do in my workouts than I could when I started.
And when all else fails, I break one of my own rules: I step on my home scale. So far, I've lost 31 pounds since the beginning of February. The only other time in my life I've successfully lost a lot of weight in a relatively short period of time was when I was 14 and had mono.
This way is better. I may complain from time to time, but exercising and giving up crappy food is far less miserable than mono. And it is definitely better than weighing nearly 250 pounds.
• Melynda Findlay is a member of the night copy desk at the Daily Herald, where she's worked for 14 years. She lives in Arlington Heights and really loves grilled cheese sandwiches.