222 pounds. Let’s just start there, with the facts. That is what I weighed on New Year’s 2014. It was the end of a truly once-in-a-lifetime adventure and the beginning of the rest of my life. I didn’t have a traditional path to what should have been a breaking point; I had the reward of seeing upfront what tremendous potential life held for those who participated in it whole-heartedly.
How did it happen that I got that heavy? Well, I did just have a baby (three years earlier). Oh and the holidays – we all know that adds at least 45 pounds, right? Maybe it was because we were on vacation? – Sadly, I only gained four of those pounds that way. Perhaps I didn’t have access to exercise equipment or a safe place to walk outdoors? (There are plenty of sidewalks throughout our town and we have a treadmill in our garage). I will spare you more of the question and answer session, because, let’s face it, I’m not really letting you get a word in edgewise at this point – it was because I didn’t really care about myself. I was an afterthought to everyone else in my life, and when you are last on an unending list, you just don’t get around to it.
I was primarily around three people – two of who were under six years old at that point. My husband, when he would take the bait, (Don’t you think I am getting fat? Fatter? Fattest?!) would respond with the same even, honest, question – “I love you, I will do absolutely anything and everything in my power for you to be your best – what do YOU want to do about this?” – to which I would do…nothing much. I might jog for a few days and lay off the junk I knew I shouldn’t be eating, losing a few pounds and feeling amazing. So amazing, in fact, I would stop exercising and eating right which would result in…weight gain. I think that most of the time I held a picture of what I thought I looked like and could perform like in my head and refused to see what was actually going on. If there was an event we were going to, I placed the blame squarely on the clothes. It wasn’t my fault that an XL was cut incredibly unrealistically. Why would armholes be cut so unforgivingly? Once, before a fourth of July barbeque, I sat in the closet crying while my fully dressed family waited for me. I could hear Big Sister outside the door explaining that “Mommy always gets like this when she trying to squish her belly into something before we go somewhere”. A punch to the gut for sure but also not a breaking point.
Have you ever watched a movie, read a book, listened to a song or had an experience where it felt so well-timed that it spoke to you as if was created solely for the person you were at that exact moment? After feeling like that you become so dialed in that you start to create your life in that space and that is exactly what happened to me. Something changed in my thought process, wherein I stopped saying “I could” and replaced it with “I am”. I am exercising today because it makes me stronger and leaner. I am watching what I eat because it makes a difference. I matter not just to the other people who count on me, but to me too.
I didn’t want to even acknowledge it, let alone give the actual number out because of what I thought that might say about me (LAZY) or my husband (wow, man, she really let herself go, you could do better), but it is reality and it was a starting point for me where the only way to go through it was to go through it. I didn’t do it alone and I didn’t do it quickly, but I have lost over 60 pounds. I put a few back on, and then took them off again, but most importantly I have worked at it over and over and over again and I am not finished. It’s a noticeable change and there have been a lot of really kind things that have been said to me. People who have traveled similar paths simply say that I look happy, and I am, not because of what I have lost but because I took a chance at tackling something I have wanted since I was a kid, grabbing on to who I could be until I started to become her.