Embrace Your Inner Tortoise

October 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

I have once again been reminded that the tortoise is in fact my friend.  Christine commented the other day on how I used to talk about my collection of tortoises!  And how she had started collecting them too.  Even hanging one from her car to remind her that “slow and steady wins the race”.  This was my motto in the beginning and I embraced it fully.  I even dressed up as a Tortoise for Halloween  two years ago.

This was the tortoise shell we made for that costume (Out of a green toilet seat cover!)

My kids and I made a picture with my oldest as the Hare and me as the Tortoise

That was two years ago.  I just reread that blog post and I had lost 185 pounds at the time that I wrote it.  I lost that weight by embracing my inner tortoise! By believing that small wins become big in the end.  I refused to accept that I had to run marathons to make a difference. I refused to believe that “hard core” was the only answer.  I had compassion for myself.   I applauded others “bigger” efforts without allowing that to make me feel ‘less’. I saw what they did as THEIR PACE.  And what I did as MINE.  It wasn’t easy but when I adopted this mentality it made ALL the difference.

This mentality allowed me to keep moving forward and to even enjoy the process.  Yet the time came when I lost sight of that.  When I started feeling like it was not enough.  I had to do more.  Be more.  Suddenly my own pace wasn’t good enough.  That’s when the pressure set in.  To measure up.  To do what others do.  To stop being the tortoise and start being the Hare!

I fell off track and started feeling discouraged.   And you want to know why?

Because I am the tortoise.

That’s me!! And when I was no longer allowed to be that—when I was no longer “ok” with that—I benched myself.  Back to the bleachers!!

Because as much as I wanted to be those people who run triathlons and bring home the bling–it just isn’t me.  Not because those aren’t great goals.  Not because if I trained for that, I couldn’t probably make it happen.  But because that’s NOT what makes me tick.  That’s not what makes me motivated.  And when I felt like I had to work towards that in order to be “valid”—in order to be “acceptable”–the pressure set back in.  The joy was gone.

Now I walk/jogged the 5K  and THAT I enjoyed.  But training for more than that wasn’t a challenge that I personally wanted to pursue.  It did nothing for me but simply stress me out.  The idea wasn’t exciting.  It was burdensome. Only now I felt like I had to keep going bigger or it was pointless.  That I had to do more. Be more.  Or drop out of the race.

I once had a woman leave a comment on the blog where she asked me this.  “When is enough–enough?”  She said that she liked the idea of 30 seconds at a time.  She was encouraged by the idea of adding a little bit each day.  But she wanted to know when enough was enough.  When could you say “Good enough”.  That question came at me a long time ago.  And I had no idea how to answer it.  By that time, I had gone from 30 seconds to 5 miles.  I was doing Crossfit.  I had completed the 5K and I was supposed to be working on a half marathon goal.  But when would it ever be enough?

At that time, I felt like the answer was “Never”.  At that exact moment, I was beginning my descent.  I was no longer enjoying my workouts.  I was now under pressure to keep up with what others had achieved.  I had to be them.  It was as if being the Tortoise was ok in the beginning but now I had to shed my shell and become the Hare.  Sleek and quick.  And I was beginning to realize that in the deep recesses of my soul—that just isn’t me.

You see, I can lose hundreds of pounds.  I can shed the bigger version of myself.  But when I step out of that shell, I am still the tortoise.  I still prefer a slower pace. I still want to do things MY way.  I don’t want to measure myself by what others can do.

I liked being the tortoise.  I could get on board with that pace.  I even found joy in it then.  But somehow I started believing the lie that it wasn’t going to be enough.  That unless I progressed to Iron Man—it was pointless!!   So now nothing I did mattered.   Because it would never be enough.  Instead of taking pride in what I was doing, I had to now feel almost embarrassed by it.

I should be further along by now I should be running marathons by now

Why couldn’t I just be me?  Why couldn’t I just be the tortoise?

The answer was— I COULD.  But I had to learn that first.

In order to be successful on this journey long term–we must learn what we are willing to do FOR LIFE.   It’s not what you are willing to do temporarily that will yield lasting results.  It’s what you are willing to do for the rest of your life.  A lot of what I was doing for exercise was just not something I was ultimately willing to do for life.  I was willing to do it short term.  But eventually I quit because it wasn’t something I was willing to do forever.

This time around I am going to find out what I am willing to do for the rest of my life.  What that is—will be MY choice.  It doesn’t mean I’m not going to challenge myself.  It just means I will start respecting myself more.  Doing what works for me.  Not trying to live someone else’s journey.  Right now half a mile is challenging.  And until I determine that it isn’t—a half mile it will be!

As I once again embrace my inner tortoise, I feel hope growing again.  More than that—JOY.   For a long time, I was happy to go at my own pace.  To do what worked for me.  To not worry about the opinions of others.  Whether what I did was good enough for their standards. But when I started  looking to others to set MY pace….I failed.

And it was nothing THEY did.  My Crossfit instructor was amazing.  She modified everything to my pace. ALWAYS.  I was the one looking around the room at what others could do.  I was the one that decided I could never be good enough if my personal best was not THEIR personal best.

Do you think the tortoise did that??  Do you think that the tortoise felt the need to be the Hare?

Because if you read the story you’ll see that the tortoise acknowledged that the Hare had great abilities. It wasn’t like he didn’t see it.

He even said and I quote,”There’s no denying you’re swift!

But he still felt no need to compete with him! The tortoise wasn’t self conscious about being slow.  He didn’t care! The one and only reason he joined the race was because the HARE had an issue with HIM.  It was the HARE who couldn’t deal with the fact that the Tortoise CHOSE to go at a different pace.  In fact, the Hare was “forever teasing the tortoise for his slowness.”  The tortoise was sick and tired of being teased.  That is why he agreed to the challenge.  And when the race started, did the Tortoise try and keep up with the Hare? Did he try to be someone he wasn’t?  Did he sprint out of the gate trying to keep with the Hare’s pace?

NOT AT ALL!  In fact, the story says that the tortoise “trudged slowly off“.

That’s what the story says. FOR REAL


Does that sound like the beginning of a winner’s story?   TRUDGED?

Here’s the definition of “Trudge”—-to walk, especially laboriously or wearily  

How inspiring, right?

What a START!  But you know what? That sounds like me the other day.  I didn’t even have the mental energy to put on my SHOES! I just slipped them into flip flops and TRUDGED around the neighborhood.  It took me 7 minutes longer to walk the same path that day.  And I wish I could tell you that it was an isolated incident but it’s not.  I am the Queen of TRUDGE.   If anyone can trudge…it is ME!

So the Tortoise trudged slowly off.  And you want to know what happened next?  He was “painfully slow”.  That is how he is described.  Not slow…but PAINFULLY SLOW.  It doesn’t ever really seem to get much better than that!! Later in the story the tortoise is described as “plodding”.  YES–PLODDING.

PLOD (verb) , plodded, plodding.

1. to walk heavily or move laboriously; trudge:

2. to plod under the weight of a burden.

3. to proceed in a tediously slow manner

4. to work with constant and monotonous perseverance; drudge.

How’s that for inspiration??  If he’s not trudging then he’s plodding.  Walking heavily and laboriously.  Trudging.  Drudging.  Proceeding in a tediously slow manner.  Painfully slow.  But guess what else it means?  Perseverance!! Doing the same thing over and over again.  Perhaps slowly.  Perhaps PAINFULLY slowly.  But still doing it.  Still not quitting.  Still not giving up.   And you know what THAT is??

 That, my friends, is the story of a winner.

The tortoise knew the truth…”Slow and Steady wins the race”

They never tell you the Tortoise’s time.  He didn’t post anything on Facebook I guess about his stats.  How quickly he completed the race.  But I don’t think he cared.  He just wanted to prove his point to the Hare.  That he could get to the finish line.  But he would do it at HIS pace.   And that he did.

I’m back to being the tortoise. And you know what?  I have hope again for the first time in awhile.  I am not going to worry about the hares of this world.  I applaud them.  I cheer for them.  And I’m even inspired by them.  So long as I recognize that I don’t have to BE them.  That their achievements don’t have to mean I’m not enough.

My daughter bought me this ring last year to remind me to embrace my inner tortoise.  It’s a big ring.  And I don’t usually wear flashy jewelry.  But you know what I did when I first started out on this journey?? I wore tortoise/turtle jewelry.  And I didn’t care if it matched or looked ridiculous.  I wore a green sweatshirt.  Turtle Earrings, necklaces, T-shirts.  I was all about it!! I embraced “slow and steady wins the race” and I had fun with it.

It’s time to do that again!

photo 1-16

Maybe one day God will place it on my heart to train for a marathon.  But until that happens, I will cheer for those that do.  And be happy plodding along.

Some of us are hares.  Some of us are tortoises.  But no matter which one you are—embrace it!


******Update on This Week’s 5 Day Streak*******

Half Mile DONE 3 days this week!  Here is today’s ‘walking in cul de sac half mile circles’! And yes…I liked my own status again.  Because I can!





Here is my 5 Day Streak challenge for my food….Adhering to my food plan for 3 hours in the morning.


3 Days down!

photo 2-22



Victory boxes checked.  My day is a total victory already!!!



For those of you that are wondering….Allen’s dog walked 0.9 miles before I got out of bed this morning.  HE NEVER GIVES UP!

Last but not least….I bought myself a green sweatshirt and I am wearing my Tortoise ring.  I will plod, trudge and persevere.  Whatever it takes to not give up.  But what I will never do again is discount my efforts.  Whatever we do—it’s good enough.  As long as we don’t quit.




Tell me how you are doing?  I LOVED two of the goals I heard about in the comments:  Someone is eating one vegetable a day for 5 days straight.  Someone is walking for 2 minutes while watching TV for 5 days straight.   Give us an update and I’d love to hear others goals as well.


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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori October 22, 2014 at 3:18 pm

I needed to read this today for a whole different reason than weight loss. While that is still a major issue in my life, the bigger one for now is healing from surgery. It was three weeks yesterday. Somehow, I had in my mind that after 3 weeks, I’d be able to do whatever I wanted only now with no hip pain. That is not the case.

I am probably back to 80% of my capacity. The last 20% is going to take a lot longer to recover than the first 80%. I need to find a way to embrace that since I now understand that it could take as long as 6 months to get back to 100% and that is if I am doing well!

Thanks for the reminder that good things take time.
Lori recently posted..Still HereMy Profile


Mrs. Abella October 22, 2014 at 3:35 pm

The best things take hard work and perseverence, right? You’ll do just fine, one step at a time, one drink at a time. You’re not fighting a little fight , but in for the long haul.

Something I was told 16 years ago when I lost about 80 pounds and went into law enforcement….if it took years to put on, don’t expect it to come off in days. I believe that! For mine, it took 15 years afterward to pack on, it may take a bit to take off. But each day going forward is progress, each day with a calorie deficit, is a step in the right direction. I’m only 2 months in, but I’m so glad to have started the journey and found others who have been there or are going down the same road too.

During the winter months, what did you do for your exercises? Did/do you live in a warmer area, or did you find something for indoor or at home?? I’m searching out ideas to try for indoor/at home for when the colder months hit and the ice and snow comes flying. And to tell you the truth, I don’t want a skinny minnie with no body fat at all telling me how to pick up the pace. 🙂

Lots of hugs!
Mrs. Abella recently posted..Popcorn to the Rescue!My Profile


Christine October 22, 2014 at 3:42 pm

While seemingly small, my goal is working on my mood when I first wake up in the morning. Like you, Holly, I ALWAYS awaken with the fear of dread. As soon as I open my eyes, I even say aloud that I HATE getting up. The anxiety that plagues me makes me not want to face the day. However, if I can conquer that, then maybe the rest of my day will have a more positive twist. My plan is to go to sleep thinking of something that I have to look forward to the next day, and then thinking about it again when I wake up. We’ll see if that works out. I just can’t keep from thinking that waking up on the wrong side of bed sets the tone for the entire day.


Holly October 22, 2014 at 5:57 pm

The vegetable streak continues!! Day Three: success!!

I thought you might enjoy this poem I wrote last year, when I was juuuuust starting to feel changes in myself, and thinking about what that meant. It’s called “Thin”:

I can feel muscles I couldn’t before.
I can get up and down off the office floor.
I still feel fat swaying while I plod along,
but I wonder what it will feel like when it’s gone?
Thin is an is a strange place I lived long ago,
so strange to me, I’m glad the journey back is slow.
If I woke up back in Thin overnight,
I know I’d be shocked, too stunned to handle it right.
Lottery winnings spent wild and fast-
I wouldn’t have a clue how to make the dream last.
So I’m content to keep this pace.
I hear slow and steady wins the race.

I think sometimes I forget to be content with the pace, but when I come back to it, I am a happier and healthier person. I LOVE your tortoise ring!! I may have to follow in your footsteps on this collection!


tb October 22, 2014 at 8:01 pm

hail to the mighty tortoise!!! let us all wear the green!! besides, turtles are cute.


Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm

ahahaha I love this!


Calleigh October 22, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Thank you Holly! I’ve been struggling the past week or two feeling like I have to be better, or do more. I’ve neglected the good things I’m already doing.
When is enough…. Enough? <<< this question brought me to a halt. I've spent so long focussing on being "better" and changing myself that I've reached a point where I'm never satisfied with what im doing, like it's not enough. I should be doing more. Running faster, running further, working out harder, lifting heavy things like the "rest of the world", eating paleo, eating GF.
Thanks for reminding me that every small change is a good thing. I'm 10x better than I used to be.
Keep going Holly!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 22, 2014 at 8:18 pm

Thanks Calleigh. I am working through this too. I have a serious issue with being a perfectionist. It makes me basally do nothing bc I can’t do everything. Or I can’t do it right. Or I can’t do it all. So I end up doing nothing. Like you said…we are better than before. And that is a big deal!!!


Jane t. October 23, 2014 at 12:50 am

I love this! You’re getting your turtle mojo back! Also, my squirrel twisted ankle is feeling much better…thanks for asking


Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 23, 2014 at 1:10 am

I’m so glad your ankle is better. I am now forever on the lookout for dead squirrels!


Jane t. October 23, 2014 at 1:18 am



Anna October 23, 2014 at 3:18 am

Go you! Sounds like you are really taking off this week – in a ‘trudgy’ kind of way 🙂
I loved your post again today.
I am also someone who constantly measures my success against the success of others. Constantly comparing and as soon as I start doing well, I begin to nag at myself saying that I am not good enough and need to do more, need to be better, need to work harder.

I used to think this was a good quality to have as it meant I was never complacent and never stopped working hard and achieved great results especially at work… but then of course the constant pressure I put on myself had to let up somewhere in my life. My night-times after work was the only time I would allow myself time to just veg in front of the TV eating and eating and eating, thinking only about the motions of eating and the actual food itself until I felt a semblance of peace / relaxation.
Aside from this time I had no idea how to slow down or relax, and my life became a constant source of anxiety and I always felt ‘keyed up’.

Your post has reminded me that although I am now not at work anymore, so some of the pressure I put on myself has lifted (I am a stay-at-home mum now), I am still applying huge amounts of pressure onto myself in so many other avenues of life.
(I have to be a better mum, wife, cook, cleaner, earn more and more money from home, look after the garden, do more for my son, be a better daughter/sister/friend/person, I am bad bad bad, and NEVER good enough!!!) The inner nasty voice remains firmly in place, reminding me constantly that I don’t measure up to others.

Recently my good friend who is also overweight (but still around 35kg lighter than me – sorry I talk in kilos as I am in Australia, I think this is around 80 pounds?) has started losing weight as she had a gallbladder attack and the doctor has given her strict advice, and while I am happy for her, I quickly began to feel anxious at hearing her constant updates of how much weight she is losing as I felt left behind, like I would never lose weight and that what I am doing isn’t enough and I needed to speed up my weight loss ASAP.

But this post has reminded me that I need to take a step back and embrace my own (much smaller) success – I have not eaten fructose or wheat in almost a month!!! 3.5 weeks. Yay.
In doing so I have lost 1.5kg, not much – but it’s still a loss, rather than the usual gain I see monthly on the scales.

Plus I have stuck to my goal this week of marching for 2 mins at night in front of the TV… and out of nowhere yesterday I decided to spend my entire half hour of free time in the evening doing exercise in front of the TV also!!!!! Crazy. So it seems my success with the 2 mins of marching has inspired me to do more.

It really is nice to feel like I am achieving a goal for a change.
I constantly set massive goals that are really just setting myself up to fail. I have no idea why I didn’t see this before I read your post earlier this week.

I can truly see myself continuing to achieve my 2 minute marching goal not just for the next 5 days but forever. I have realised that there is absolutely nothing stopping me from doing that 2 minutes every night for the rest of my life. And the thought of this doesn’t daunt me or make me feel overwhelmed at all.
In fact it feels kind of good to have this 2 minute ‘thing’ as something I will do every day.


Cathy October 23, 2014 at 3:35 pm

I simply love your blog and your journey, and your writing~ You get right to the heart of the truths! Love that!

You are inspiring me to get back to MY journey, MY way!!! Thank you! Hugs~


Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 23, 2014 at 4:46 pm

Thank you Cathy!!!


Holly from 300 Pounds Down October 23, 2014 at 5:35 pm

Thank you so much Cathy!


John (Daddy Runs a Lot) October 23, 2014 at 6:14 pm

My dad retired from his job not too long ago . . . and, when he told me his plan, we had a rather frank discussion. Because, well, a lot of people die soon after they retire — and, well, the only reason seems to be that people “work for their job,” and, without that daily goal of “doing something,” they just flounder.

(now I’m thinking about baked fish rolled with spinach. Yummy.)


As soon as a goal is reached, be it retiring, or running such & such a distance, or putting aside $x in a savings account, or whatever, it’s really important to set that next goal. Personally? I think that next goal should, almost always, be completely unrelated to the just-achieved one . . . let’s just say that it’s “run a marathon.” Well, next, maybe, it’s to do a pull-up. After a pull-up, see how you’re running, and head back to that if you feel it’s lacking. If you’re happy with the way you’re running? Maybe it’s time to spend x hours working with a charity.

Always have something to push you.

But, yeah, be mindful that you’re not setting your goals too “out there” to be achievable.

And never begrudge someone who has different goals. Unless their goal is to smoke more or hurt people . . . then it might be time for an intervention.
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted..Where I write about things that have bothered me this week.My Profile


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