Challenging Fitness and Fears after Obesity
“At any given moment you have the power to say this is not how the story is going to end.”
Reclaiming My Life after Obesity
I defeated obesity in 2003 when I had gastric bypass weight-loss surgery. In doing so, I also defeated diabetes, hypertension, GERD, asthma, and depression. The weight loss saved my life.
But the magic happened for me after plastic surgery in 2013. That’s when I reclaimed my life and began living with vitality and passion and excitement. It was a matter of getting my “self” back. I was not this person who was afraid, and I’m really not sure where the fear came from. But it was there, holding me back from living life fully.
That was then and this is now. Now I face my fear. I dare to live boldly. I push myself out of my comfort zone, both physically and mentally. This summer I completed an advanced 4-hour ropes course challenge, pushed myself beyond my physical limits and conquered my fear of heights.
Ropes Course Challenges Fitness and Fears
A ropes course is a challenging treetops obstacle course that requires a belay for safety. Obstacles range from zip-lines, Tarzan swings, swinging surprises, hanging nets, wobbly bridges and more. Each of the four courses gets progressively more challenging and higher.
After a brief 30 minute training session, I began my adventure on the “green” course. Here I got comfortable with the equipment and the rhythm of moving through each obstacle — and the heights, let’s not forget about that. It was the biggest challenge for me in doing the course, to conquer my fear of heights.
After defeating the green course, I moved on to the “blue” course. It’s a little higher elevation and requires a higher skill set. Childhood memories of falling off rope swings and fear of climbing trees came back to me. But confidence in my agility and a sense of freedom overcame me as I conquered each obstacle.
I was tired but exhilarated after I completed the course. It was quite challenging and at this point in the course many people stop. My goal was to push myself as hard as I could. I wanted to see what I was made of. So I continued onward.
Up a long ladder and further into the trees, I headed onto the “red” course. This is an advanced course at a higher elevation and requiring advanced skills in balance, strength, and endurance. I refused to let my fear get the best of me. I felt confident that I could do this. But the first obstacle almost did me in. My arms hurt. It was cold. But the red course did not defeat me; I conquered it! I even laughed out loud as I easily went through some of the wobbly obstacles.
I made it through the entire red course, and I could have stopped there and been proud of myself. Very few people go onto the fourth and final course. Indeed only my husband and I remained out of our party of 10 who had begun the green course together.
But it was my time for the ultimate challenge in focus and fitness. I was tired and very cold. I was thirsty and in pain. But onward I went to the “black” course. Before I set off, I took in the natural beauty and harmony of the woods that surrounded me. Then my eyes fell upon the very long ladder climb to the black course. The ladders were the worst part of the course. It was slow going for me with my injured arms. I climbed up even further into the tree canopy and discovered “mind over matter” that I could move through my physical pain and self doubt.
The “black” course was hard and high and it hurt. The cargo net was extremely hard to cross and I thought I might not make it. At another point my foot slipped and I fell through one of the rings that I was attempting to walk through. I sat there dangling 40’ or 50’ in the air, my leg sanded up to my thigh in a cold metal ring. My arms hurt so badly and were so weak that I doubted I would be able to pull my body out of this trap. I sat there weighing my options: Do I call for a rescue or do I finish the course? I decided I would rest there to catch my breath and then complete the course. There were only a few obstacles left, and one was particularly challenging and wobbly. But I ended up finding my movements were surprisingly fluid going through it.
It felt good; a sense of victory and achievement washed over me as my journey ended. I left with a smile on my face and a limp in my gait and a curiosity of which of my fears I would next challenge.
Living larger than ever,
My Bariatric Life