Five years later and writer is back on track
The last time I wrote in this space was nearly five years ago after completing the Fittest Loser program in May 2013.
I'd learned so much working with Push Fitness owner Joshua Steckler! I'd lost 45 pounds! I'd accidentally walked 12 miles in a single day! I loved spinach! I was excited to continue the journey! (I said "journey" a lot back then)
So what am I doing back?
A fair question, and one perhaps best answered by a lyric from the song "Fred Astaire" by suburban rockers Lucky Boys Confusion: Circumstance gets in the way.
Things were on-track for quite a while. The weekend after Fittest Loser ended, my boyfriend, Brian, and I hiked about halfway around Geneva Lake in Wisconsin. FOR FUN.
We were eating really well and experimenting with lots of new, healthy recipes. We were both exercising daily, either at the gym or by going for walks in the neighborhood or hikes in Busse Woods.
But then my mom died at the end of October 2013 from Alzheimer's disease; she was only 66. That same weekend, Brian's grandpa had a heart attack and then died shortly before Christmas. Brian's grandma died the following July.
I'm sure it's not surprising that I was getting pretty depressed at this point.
I also was starting to have a problem with anemia. My iron and hemoglobin levels were really low, and all I wanted to do was sleep all the time.
Exercise? Ugh, forget it.
There were days when taking a shower sapped all my energy, plus I would sometimes be short of breath (hemoglobin transports oxygen in your blood).
And let's be real here: I tend to eat my feelings, McDonald's fries are delicious, and cookie butter is a thing.
So, five years later, here I am. But please know all was not lost. (or re-gained as the case might be).
Sure, I gained weight back, but only some of it. I may not have been exercising daily, but I still was more active than I used to be. My eating habits took a detour, but they never went back to where they had been.
We still eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats. We don't keep emergency pizzas in the freezer (this was totally a thing) and no fast-food restaurant employees recognize me (this used to happen).
The problem wasn't the Fittest Loser program or some super-secret thing Josh forgot to tell me in 2013; the problem was me. I knew I should be exercising and what I should be eating. I just didn't for a whole bunch of reasons. Some good, some bad, some just reasons.
Here's the thing: Getting fit and losing weight is rarely a trip from Point A to Point B and BAM, YOU'RE DONE. It's a process. Because circumstance gets in the way.
But circumstances don't dictate my path -- I do. Things happened, and now it's up to me to get back on track. It may have taken a while, but I'm here. And I'm ready to work.
• Melynda Findlay is a multiplatform editor at the Daily Herald, where she's worked for 19 years. She doesn't have emergency pizza in the freezer, she swears.