July 13, 2010 The Great Awakening
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a “heavyset” person. The only time in my life that I was below average weight was the day I was born– one month premature– and I still came out packing regular baby heft. Anyway. Over the past 18 months, I slowly but surely lost 40 lbs. That was a lot– and made me feel pretty awesome about myself– but then slowly but surely– it started to creep back on. A pound here, a pound there. I had planned to lose weight pre-wedding, as most brides do, and I thought this was the perfect time to take and turn my life, my eating habits, and my weight– around for good.
A week ago, I started Weight Watchers. I was feeling pretty positive about it until weigh-in rolled around and I’d lost zero pounds. I was pretty bummed– and discouraged. I happened to have a doctors appointment yesterday morning, so I went in with a bit of a heavy heart. When I walked into the exam room, the doctor quickly followed and took my blood pressure–which was awesome– but then she looked into my eyes and said with all seriousness, “We need to talk about your weight.”
Fact of the matter is that yo yo-ing around on the scale isn’t healthy. Nor is gaining 15 pounds in 2 months for no reason you can define, or pinpoint, or really understand. I am 31: carrying around a little extra here and there is going to impact my long term health, and listening to her strike the fear of God in me (diabetes, worsening arthritis, difficulties conceiving when that time comes, heart disease, etc etc) I found myself nodding and wanting to take notes.
My doctor gave me a lot of suggestions and offered help in her office– weekly meetings, consults with a nutritionist– doctor approve and supported weight loss– and I left with a lot to ponder. On my way back to the house, I started a kind of inner retrospective of all that I’d already gone through in life over my weight: from feeling fat at 10 to being called it in school, the bullies on the playground that make it a point to make you feel crappy and different if you are. I remember high school, and how after a few days of fasting in July I’d made a concerted effort to shave some 50 lbs off my body, ending up at a svelt 135, a weight accomplished by eating less than 1000 calories a day and less than 20 grams of fat. I remember the day that diet ended– over a piece of extra crispy fried chicken– and how that defeat had started another rollercoaster ride: up, up, up to 200+, down, down, down to 175 at the lowest.
I’m happy in my own skin. This isn’t about feeling fat, or unattractive. I feel beautiful. But I don’t feel healthy– and I have too much to live for to not be at my healthiest, to not have a body that supports a healthy heart, strong body, and a great constitution. I don’t want to have to worry about diabetes, about heart disease, about becoming obese. I realize that as our bodies age, it becomes easier to gain and harder to lose– and I feel like I’ve been afforded the opportunity to change things around.
Like so much of my life this year, I’ve been given unexpected opportunities that have completely transformed my life. Sometimes, it only takes a second of insight to alter the way you look at something completely. I’m excited about changing my health– for losing weight not because I want to be “thin” but because I want to be healthy. I am ready to stop the yo-yo rollercoaster ride of starve, starve, starve then eat, eat, eat, (and then eat some more).
It’s a scary journey, but it’s time.