In the Beginning!

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reprinted from kidaround magazine © July 2007

One Christmas Day several years ago, my brother-in-law unveiled  an unseen vacation video from the previous summer's trip to Yosemite.  I nearly choked on my eggnog as I watched myself romping on the beach in a  black minimizer bathing suit that had not worked the magic promised on the label.   I was SO BIG!  It was mortifying to see myself displayed on the big screen!

It's not that I didn't know I was overweight.  It had been quite apparent for at least 6 months that my rump was spreading.  I had been preoccupied with food.  Each morning it felt as though someone had taken an air hose and inflated me to another size larger than the day before!  No tucked in blouses for me, only empire dresses!   I only had one pair of green shorts and I looked like a tent wearing them.  I chose green because I figured that if I was going to buy shorts as big as a tent I should look like one too.

Somewhere along the way I had become preoccupied with my family and had forgotten to look after myself.   My mother had passed on and my children were working hard at getting into their teen years.  And my husband and I looked at each other one day and said, "Wow, this till-death-do-us-part thing is getting to be a long time."   So I fed every  feeling triggered by each of these events, along with every other feeling I experienced.  As a result, I accidentally gained 60 pounds.  

On that Christmas evening I made my decision.  By my fortieth birthday I would not be overweight.  No longer would each meal be the Last Supper.  I began to tell anyone who would listen that I was going to be forty next year and I wasn't going to be fat. 

By mid-January most of my friends and family had heard the mantra and had dismissed it.  As January came to a close, I found myself sitting with other parents at a wrestling tournament for my son.  Surrounded by ice chests filled with snacks I began to spout my line once more.  Then one very slender woman asked "When is your birthday?"  When I replied that it was Halloween, she pointedly stated "THEN YOU HAD BETTER GET STARTED!" 

Ouch!!   Obviously I was so big she didn't think I could lose all that weight in less than nine months.  Worse yet, I don't think I truly believed I could either.  I was scared!  I had talked a big game but could I really do it?   Since I was eleven years old I had joined and quit Weight Watchers at least four times that I could remember, and I had never made goal.   When I was thirty pounds up I'd feel sad and join, then I'd lose 20 pounds and quit, figuring I could keep it off on my own.   Then I'd promptly gain it back!

So despite my fear of failing yet again, I marched myself back in.   But this time I was determined to truly embrace the program.   This time it was all about ME!  Taking one day at a time, with the unfailing support of my family and my Weight Watchers group, I began to lose.   By my fortieth birthday I had lost forty-five pounds, and so on that day I wore a leopard-print t-shirt tucked into my jeans.   And over the next few months I disposed of another fifteen pounds for a total weight loss of sixty pounds.

In retrospect, my initial motivation came from the avoidance of pain - thanks to the humiliating experience of seeing that awful video I was spurred to action.   But now my motivation to maintain comes from the pursuit of pleasure -  I was delighted to discover that the woman I had forgotten still exists.  When MY dreams and goals resurfaced I learned that they can coexist with those of my husband and children.   And it is their pursuit that provides the pleasure to keep me motivated! 

I believe it is possible to be the healthiest you that you can dream of.  It is never too late, EVER! 


June 3, 2007