I have lost 25 pounds six times over six years not including the one year where I lost 30. Each time I believed I was dieting for the ‘right’ reasons. I believed that ‘this time I’m going for the goal.’ Each time I lost the weight and I put it back on plus a few extra. So ten months ago I sat in my doctor’s office stunned when she announced I needed to lose 100 pounds. How did this happen?
I could say I’m an emotional eater and that I eat in order to soothe myself. I live a stressful life after all and I am an emotional being even if most days it seems the only emotion I’m showing is irritation. There are a lot of feelings hidden behind that smirk.
I could also say that I spend so much time taking care of others that I’ve neglected myself. So when I’m faced with the choice of chocolate cake and potato chips for dinner versus a ‘real meal’ I opt for the cake and chips because I deserve a break.
I could also say as a busy working single mom there’s just not enough time in the day or me’s to go around so if something is chucked off my hectic schedule its gym time.
I could also say I’ve been through so much in these last few years and really right now why should I pressure myself about weight loss. I mean everybody has to die of something, right? I’ve just chosen my bullet as a bag of chips versus cigarettes.
Truth is there are 100 reasons why I was 100 pounds overweight but none of them really explain why I’m not healthy. I said to myself that this time it’s going to be different. This time I’m going to stick to my plan and make my health the real priority. This time I won’t quit.
My father dropped dead from a massive coronary at 56 years old. He was at home alone headed out the door to work. He was 100 pounds over weight at the time and his doctor had told him his heart wouldn’t last long if he didn’t make real changes. He didn’t make the changes.
I’m 41. I don’t want my son to have to deal with what I dealt with in burying my father. I don’t want to leave behind the legacy that I could have done something but I didn’t because (you fill in any of the above excuses).
The bottom line is I’ve allowed myself to accept mediocre from me. If the relationship I have with myself were with anyone else I would have dumped me eons ago. Seriously we’d be unfriended on Facebook and I would stop accepting her calls. When you love someone the expectation is that you will receive (at minimum) common courtesy back. What I had been accepting from myself was neglect and excuses. I’d gotten lazy when it came to meeting my own emotional and social needs.
I changed. From the core of who I am to the red red coloring of my hair, I changed (now I have blond streaks). I decided to be different for me. To be attentive. To be responsive. To meet my needs and make me feel like I’m important. I keep my lunch dates with myself now. I prepare meals for my body that taste good and are good for me. I exercise when I can in ways that make sense for me. I listen now and stop eating when I’m full or opt for the low impact workout versus chips and sofa. I changed.
It’s a struggle. I battle old habits everyday. Old. Lazy. Ingrained. Habits. Habits that are easy. Habits that are comfortable. Habits that have been formed because no one ever really stood up to me and challenged how I was treating myself.
My doctor’s have been putting obese on my charts since before I could remember and about 10 years ago I stopped taking them seriously believing that they just didn’t understand me, my culture and how things work in my home and community.
Today I have images in my head of kayaking with my son. But a 100 pound overweight body ain’t fitting in nobody’s kayak. I want to walk the hills of Brazil and climb the stairs to the Mayan temple (different travel fantasies) but right now my goal is to the fourth floor of my office without taking a break mid way. I have dreams. I have goals. I’m ready to live my life eyes wide open.
So I chart what I eat, everyday. I plan my meals week by week. I don’t just count calories, I also read labels and strive to keep my sodium and cholesterol in healthy limits. I also watch my carbohydrate intake. I’m up doing yoga at 5:30 am and I walk my dog. When I’m in the mood my son and I hustle or play catch. And I eat what I cook. It’s been an eight months since I started. Some days I’m on point from sun up to sun down. Other days I’m not. But I have not quit on me. Not once. Not this time.
Today, I’m 35 pounds lighter. Also I can feel something I haven’t felt in years…my heartbeat.
I believe she’s saying, thank you.