My secret is I’m stubborn
This weekend I reached a milestone. Iâ€™ve written before about the fact that Iâ€™ve always been heavy. Iâ€™ve written before about the circuitous illogic I have used in the past to keep from pressuring myself to lose weight, or even just to take better care of myself. From those known quantities, I avoided …well, quantification for a long time. I didnâ€™t own a scale and back in the day I didnâ€™t go to doctors all that much, so I got weighed maybe once a year or so tops. At some point, and I donâ€™t remember when, but it was slightly pre-2000 (when health issues started me on the long march of much more frequent doctor visits), I tipped the scale at 275 pounds.
The thing is, I donâ€™t want to focus just on number of pounds lost. Thatâ€™s obfuscating and frustrating and can be a trigger for some people. And yet. I was tired, and when I got sick I was that too. As treatment made me feel better I started, for some reason, doing Tae-Bo in the mornings. There was an 8-minute tape, the quick morning workout, and I would do it maybe three days a week. Eight minutes. Three days a week. 24 minutes total. And even that little bit helped, so out of shape was I.
That was the start of my way out – of my own head, and my own weird issues about weight and numbers. I didnâ€™t have to take anything away, I thought. I merely had to add exercise. And so for a few years thatâ€™s what I did. And it worked! I didnâ€™t really get into weighing myself so I donâ€™t really know quite how quickly pounds went, but they did. Eventually.
In 2007 I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. The time had come, the nutritionist said, to change the way I ate. (Actually if the time had come a few years earlier I might have put off this diagnosis, but that is not what happened and not worth fussing over at this point.) At that time I believe I weighed around 240. I got more serious about exercise, making sure I was going to the fitness room every morning, and I did change my diet. Mainly by cutting carbs, but it was something. And to make up for the cut carbs I had to eat something, so at last I turned to more fruits and vegetables. Grudgingly, sure, but I did it.
After a couple years I got down into the 180s pretty consistently. Then in 2009, when my father passed away, I gained about 10, maybe 15 pounds back. I didnâ€™t worry about it too much. I hovered in the 190s. Then I hovered around 200. Then this summer I realized I was over 200 as often as I was under. And I was tired of it. There is so much that is harder to change, I realized.
Understanding Iâ€™m worth the effort. Understanding all my problems wonâ€™t be solved by losing weight. Understanding that working on this doesnâ€™t excuse me from working on other things. Understanding that all of this change takes time. Understanding that itâ€™s not fair that I have to write down everything I eat and measure stuff. Understanding that it is not about â€śnot fair,â€ť itâ€™s about doing the things that even the field. That make up for what nature didnâ€™t give me.
This morning, and yesterday morning, and two days is a trend, I weighed 174.6. Iâ€™m not skinny and I never will be. I love every stupid frustrating minute – month – year this took, and I realize itâ€™s not over. I realize the effort has to be habit. I realize the habit pays off.
I wanted to post a â€śbeforeâ€ť and â€śafterâ€ť picture, but I had trouble finding a decent picture of me from the pre-digital era. I got my first digital camera in 2003, and didnâ€™t realize how much easier (and less stupidly self-indulgent) it made self-portraits. Anyway, so I have no idea what the hell I am wearing on my head in the â€śbeforeâ€ť picture. It is from Christmas 1998. It is kind of ridiculous, but Iâ€™m not here to ridicule. Somewhere in me then was the seed of who I am now, and Iâ€™m thankful for that. Hereâ€™s to you and your absurd sense of haberdashery, 1998 Me! And 2013 me…it really probably is about time you got a full-length mirror. Sometimes it is honestly okay to be able to see if your shoes match your shirt.