Wednesday, October 6, 2010

In the Beginning


In my beginning there was a strong family history of obesity (perhaps that is a simplification--nearly ALL of the women in my family are obese) & a "can't-do" spirit that ran rampant through my mother & poured into me. I was raised to feel that there were athletes & then there were the regular people. We were regular people & as such, my physical education was limited to presidential fitness tests & games of Hoover Ball in PE. I remember the exact place & time when I knew (in sixth grade) that my mother was fat & I would be fat when I was a mother. It wasn't a question, it was a reality & I cried right there in the middle of back-to-school shopping, hidden in one of those old round clothing racks. And then I accepted it & didn't think anything of it for years. Rather, I ignored everything having to do with health, wellness & weight. In fact, in my mind, wellness & weight were two topics as connected to one another as pterodactyls & petunias.

I lost the freshman fifteen during my first stint in college. Lost a LOT when I dropped out. Gained when I met my husband & went back to college. Lost a little before I got married. Gained a LOT after I got married & had a baby. Lost all the baby weight while I nursed but gained it back when I weaned. And then I got fed to speak.

I realized that I was taking in more calories than I needed & calories unspent save up for a rainy day. All that saving left me with an Ark on my hips, but no sign of rain. I was depressed, I was tired, my back hurt like it did when I was 85 months pregnant & I didn't have energy to get down on the floor & roll around with my son. I changed my eating habits, lost 30 lbs & started my second pregnancy 10 lbs lighter than my first. I ended it up 60 with a new daughter in my arms.

Something clicked when I looked at my baby girl. I knew that it was my opportunity & my responsibility to kick my binge-eating, emotional-eating, boredom-eating self to the curb, to break the cycle of obesity that was ravaging the women in my family. I love my son, but my daughter saved my life.

That was 70+ lbs ago. I eat reasonable servings of real foods. I don't believe in forbidden food, but I do believe in portion control. I work out 3-4 times per week, more if my kids sleep. I try very hard to make sure that my food has the capability to rot & would be recognizable as food to my great-great-grandmother. Though I've had help on the food piece of the puzzle through Weight Watchers, I won't ever call what I'm doing "dieting," instead I eat a healthy diet. I'm not losing weight anymore, I'm getting rid of it. It's not that I "can't" eat those fries, it's that I choose not too because they aren't worth it to me any more. I believe in the power of those kinds of word games with myself. Semantics are a way of life. Choosing the right words to frame my thoughts is the first step into changing where I am to where I want to be.

With that in mind, I decided to put some of those words into text. Mostly for myself, partly for my family, partly for vanity. For too long my life has been defined by the big pink elephant that was my body. By writing about it, I'm choosing to pull back the curtain & let that elephant see the world. Since it hasn't ever been a secret that I am overweight (despite my best attempts to wear black & avoid horizontal stripes & photographs), it shouldn't be a secret that I'm doing something about it. My only regret is that I didn't start my catharsis in the beginning, but I was too scared of failure. I didn't want to commit to something that I couldn't deliver. Now I think about the time in the future WHEN I meet my goal & I will never say "if" again.


  1. As a woman with a similar life, your words really resonated with me.

    Thank you for writing and sharing your thoughts with the world. They have reached me and touched me in ways I cannot explain!

    You go girl!


    1. U described my life to the "T". I'm a stay at home mother as well. It was so hard having 3 kids back to back literally ages 3,2 yrs old and 6 months. I really want to do better. I just want to know how did u get yourself motivated to work out?? I really want to Im just too tired to work out. But congrats on the baby. I hope to hear from u soon!

    2. I'm not an expert, but I can tell you what works for me. Between my girls I lost 120 lbs. The first 40 w/out any exercise at all. I believe that weight loss is in your head & then in the kitchen. Health is in the gym (so to speak). So, don't get bent out of shape if you aren't ready to work out. I did what I could when I was ready & it helped me focus on one step at a time. The next thing, on a practical level, get up & get it done early. With little kids, as soon as they're awake your time isn't your own. On days when I exercise first thing I find I have MORE energy & I'm LESS tired, even though I got up early. It's like a car...using gas makes it go faster. I've got spare gas sitting all over this body--time to use it up! It takes a couple of weeks for that boost to kick in, so I have to remind myself constantly that it will come & I have to stick with it. Like Dory says, "Just keep swimming" or running, or Zumba-ing, or weight training...whatever is fun at the moment!