In the spring of 2007, I reached the moment of truth regarding my weight. In a visit to my doctor, I was horrified to find I was well over 200 pounds. My diet of choice, which had worked pretty well for me for some time, was just not doing the job anymore. To be honest, maybe that charge belonged to me—I’ve never been a fan of exercise, mostly subscribing to the kind of greeting card humor that rang true: “Whenever I feel the urge to exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes.”
I was overweight as a child. Weight has been a lifelong struggle. When I was in my teens, I silently vowed that if I ever reached 200 pounds, I would kill myself. I realize that for many people who are seriously overweight, 200 pounds was a long time ago, but does it matter? I felt like a cow. My size 16 clothes were hateful and shopping was humiliating. I resented my body. It seemed to have its own personality—demanding, hysterical, devious, childish. I couldn’t rein it in.
So here I was at the doctor’s office, asking what in the world I could do if the diet that at least held the fat dragon at bay had stopped working? “Just try something else,” she said, “something different.” A Weight Watchers group was starting at work, and I was desperate to try anything, because I truly did fear I might commit suicide. In the 10-week program, I lost 20 pounds. I was back under 200 (barely) but now had a little incentive, so I kept going in 20-pound increments. Each time I’d say, “Okay, that wasn’t so hard,” and I’d stick with it. I did this until I had dropped 85 pounds. I had not been this weight since I was 12 years old.
It took me 2 years to get there. I started to look ill. I had never been thin and I wanted to know what it felt like to wear a size 2 for a while. I’ve put that behind me, but I found out that maintenance is way, WAY harder than losing. I mean that. Since reaching a weight in 2009 I’d longed for all my life, I’ve gained 15 or 20 pounds, and sometimes that sends me into serious depression. It’s very hard to get used to this body being acceptable. I exercise. I started lifting weights six months ago, and that seems to help a great deal. “Find something you love to do,” the experts tell us. My problem is there is nothing I “love” to do. Exercise is a detestable but necessary function. I enjoy riding a Trikke (check it out—www.Trikke.com), but getting my act together to do it is still a chore. Because significant physical activity was not a regular part of my growing-up years (save gym class in junior high and high school), it never became a habit. I must do it as though my life depends on it or I simply won’t do it. What has become a habit is beating myself up about this, even though I've resolved this year to stop doing that.
If you have never been significantly overweight, you don’t understand. People say, “You look GOOD!” I know how crazy I must sound. This is a mental block that many of us who have lost a lot of poundage deal with. It is a daily battle—one I guess I consider worth it, because I get up and fight it every day.