We often stare in wonder as we watch the latest team to conquer Mount Everest or climb Kilimanjaro. Our bodies can sometimes physically ache as we consider how difficult it must have been to go up such a monstrosity. Trying to figure out where to put the next pinion or where to slam in the icepick on the end of your boot to keep your stability.
And we might even say to ourselves, “I’ll bet they will be glad when they start going down!”
Quite frequently, heading down the mountain is easier than going up. But there are exceptions.
A few years back my friend, Tom, and I went hiking up near Gatlinburg. “Come on up and join me!” he said. “We’re heading out to Charlie’s Bunion,” he said. “It will be fun!” he said.
And it was. Mostly. OK, partly. Well, mostly in hindsight.
I don’t remember how many thousand feet we went up from our starting point. I do remember the trail went up, then down, then up again, then steeply down. I mean steep. And we laughed about it as we neared Charlie’s Bunion. It wasn’t until after we had rested and realized just how incredibly tired we were, and how sore we were going to be the next morning, that it dawned on us. The very first part of our journey back would a steep, steep, steep climb uphill.
Suddenly the trip wasn’t as fun as it was before lunch.
And we walked (I wouldn’t call it hiking) silently most of the time. Later, we would admit that we didn’t speak because we didn’t want the other one to know how out of breath we were.
But somewhere along that last trek back down to the parking lot, my feet told me I was done. Actually, not so much my feet, as my big toes. I was wearing a brand new pair of hiking shoes, so there was that. But I had also chosen socks badly. I’m not a hiker. What did I know?
Every step slammed my big toes into the front of those boots on the way down. And that sent a sliver of pain up the back of my legs that circled around to my shins. I was incredible pain. I was covered in sweat. I was out of breath. I was overweight. And I was having a blast! <insert sarcastic head tilt here>.
My weight loss journey, in fact probably like most weight loss journeys, is much more difficult than the weight gain. Its painful at times. OK, let’s be honest. It hurts like the dickens. A lot.
“Let’s go out for a cheeseburger,” they say. “Do you want the rest of this, I can’t eat it all,” they say. “How about ordering a pizza? Pan with everything!” they say.
But you know what? The mountain climb isn’t complete until your back at home base. The hike isn’t over until you reach the parking lot.
And no matter how painful this weight loss is, the climb down isn’t over until I reach the goal.