A Size to be Thankful for!

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reprinted from kidaround magazine © November 2007

Gotta love Thanksgiving.  What a great holiday!  No gifts and almost everyone agrees on having turkey for dinner.  Like most years, nearly thirty of my dearest family and friends were coming to our home for Thanksgiving.  All week I had cooked, cleaned and chosen the perfect clothing for my family to wear.  There is nothing like a pristine home, adorable children and a well-­coifed spouse to show that you are a superior stay-at-home mom.  Even the spotless bathrooms were adorned with sticky notes banning any pre-Thanksgiving use.

With the turkey safely roasting and the table immaculately set, it was time to dress everyone and get ready to receive our guests.  That's when it suddenly hit me:  although I had planned for my three kids and husband, I hadn't chosen anything for me to wear!  Now this may not seem like a big deal to most people, but at the time, I had one single pair of dress slacks that I had worn to a school board meeting a few months earlier, and I hadn't even checked to see if they still fit!

I had been aware for at least several months that my weight was out of control.  Every recent social encounter had included food and I had become preoccupied with it.  In the morning, I'd lay in bed and think about getting up quickly so I could get to the left­overs in the fridge before the kids got them.  I felt pretty confident that other moms weren't trying to beat their kids to the kitchen for food, but that was my mental state.  No wonder the numbers on the scale just kept going up and up!

Having to think about my attire on Thanksgiving Day was incredibly stressful. Normally, I'd have checked to be sure I had something to camouflage my chunky body, but I had been so preoccupied with making every­thing perfect that I had neglected to check if my bottom would still fit into my one grown-up pair of pants.

Feeling defeated and over­whelmed, I plopped down on the floor and burst into tears.  My dear husband, who apparently likes me regardless of my size, innocently asked what was wrong.  I promptly bawled, "Nothing fits!"  And when he suggested I go out and pick up some­thing new before our guests arrived, I angrily responded, "On Thanksgiving? Are you crazy?  I just wish no one was coming!"

Those last words reverber­ated in my head as soon as they came out of my mouth.  My inner voice immediately scolded me:  "You are letting your preoccupation with food and your weight come between you and the people you love!"  And it was true.  With all of the millions of people in the world, there are probably only a handful that are truly mine.  They are my tribe and I love them dearly.  Yet I felt that I wanted to avoid them because of my weight.  This was clearly a low point in my life.

Having no choice, I put on my plus-size Elisabeth slacks and a gold blouse.  I felt ugly.  Both were too tight and I tugged at my blouse all day to keep my underwear from showing.  But as awful as I felt, it took two more months before I was spurred into action and eventually found my way to Weight Watchers.

By the following Thanksgiving, I had lost sixty pounds and become a lifetime Weight Watchers member, an accomplishment that brought with it a renewed sense

of possibility.  I had embraced better eating habits and a regular exercise regime, and I was unwill­ing to risk it all because of the holidays.  I wanted to enjoy time with my loved ones but in a more positive way.  I wanted Thanksgiv­ing to be a celebration of the car­ing and appreciation I felt for my family and friends.  And I wanted it to reflect my gratitude at being able to change the direction of my life and to improve my physical and mental well-being.

That year our home didn't look like Martha Stewart lived there, but we did inaugurate a new family tradition.  On Thanksgiv­ing morning, nine of us trekked downtown for the Run to Feed the Hungry.  In the years that have followed, even more friends and family have joined us in celebrat­ing our good fortune and good health by making this annual run!

Eating healthy and finding time for exercise are essential, especially during the busy holiday season.  If I could do it, so can you!


November 2007