I never was a dieter; maybe I should have been. I subscribed to the theory that dieting was ultimately bad for you and having yo-yoing weight was not a healthy way to live. In my mind this was permission to remain obese. I tried the odd diet here and there but never broke through my mental barriers. Psychologically, I don’t know what buried issues caused me to gain weight or to maintain an unhealthy lifestyle. I was probably around seven years old when I began edging beyond the curve for my age and height. Obesity became a part of my identity, first as a fat kid and ultimately a fat person.
It wasn’t until the summer of 2008, that I was finally fed up. I announced to my husband that I was going to join Weight Watchers. He asked if it would add to the list things we paid for but never used. When I didn’t know the answer to his question (and really, how could I?), I dropped it for a couple of weeks to let the idea roll around in my head a bit longer.
Finally, I decided that it didn’t matter what might happen—I had to do something. I was sitting there clinically obese, 60 pounds heavier than the day we met 3 1/2 years before. I was 26 pounds above the weight, 8 years before, I swore I would never be again. Most importantly I was incredibly uncomfortable in my skin. When I announced my intention again he said something that proved to be the greatest gift he could give to both of us: “I’ll do it with you.”
We Googled Weight Watchers, located a meeting place, and picked the most convenient meeting time. The following Monday after work we walked in, with no expectations, to see what the program was all about. I don’t remember the topic of that first meeting. My nerves turned it all into a rush of white noise. Afterward we heard the introductory information with all the nuts and bolts. There was a lot to take in but it seemed straight forward enough. On the way home we stopped and had a couple of baby-sized burritos and tortilla chips at a local taco place, BUT the next morning we woke up and began following the program and recording everything we ate.
Our lives changed after that. The weight began falling off as we emerged from our collective fat coma. Monday night has become sacred in our house and going to the weekly meeting is now a family event as our toddler goes with us. To date we have collectively shed over 260 pounds and continue to move toward our goal weights.
I didn’t know I had begun a journey until others pointed it out to me. All I know is that with each small step, life has become vibrant in a way it never was before. Sometimes I just sit and marvel over all of the small changes. Life has unfolded in ways I never expected since the days I dreamed about being a healthier person. Now I can sit on the floor and play with my son without loosing feeling in my legs within the first few minutes, I am able to tie my shoes without feeling like I might pass out, and I can try on clothes off the rack in most stores. It is such a rush to take an arm load of clothes into a dressing room. I am able to choose the items I like best not just the few that fit. One of my favorite changes is hugging my husband. When we were at our highest weight we couldn’t reach our arms around each other. Now simply giving each other a proper hug is magical.
As this blog continues, I plan to include more of my story, particularly things that happened during the first six months of our new life. My humble wish is that through sharing how I took things slowly, made mistakes, and learned about myself and food, others will find some hope that change is possible. It is not about suddenly turning your life upside down and instantly becoming a whole new person. I have learned how to make different choices one at a time, moment by moment.
[10/18/12: images resized and typos edited]