This morning when I got up I weighed myself. I was delighted to see that I was down 1.4 pounds since Monday, and that I weighed less than I’ve weighed all year! And that’s AFTER I had steak and chocolate mousse for lunch yesterday! It was a boost to my confidence because, since July, I have embarked on a whole-life journey. It’s not just about the weight. It’s really about who I’ve become in the process.
I have struggled with my weight ever since I can remember. I come from a large family (in number and in size). Ironically, my maiden name was “Little”, but there was nothing little about our family. Our family gatherings were centered around food, and my family loved to eat! Plus, both of my parents had struggled with their weight so the odds were not in my favor.
When I was about 10 and my brother, 8, my dad noticed we were getting a little pudgy. So he made us a deal. He wanted to put us on a program to ‘slim down’. The reward? For me, it was a new wardrobe! Even at that age I did love clothes! How could I refuse? So I worked hard and hit my goal. But what I didn’t realize is that when I made the decision to lose weight for someone else rather than myself, the price I paid was my own self-worth.
I continued to struggle with my weight, and my self-judgment. In 7th grade, I joined Weight Watchers for the very first time with my grandmother (Nanny), who was a lifetime member. I’d go to meetings and get frustrated with only losing a pound a week. So I took matters into my own hands. I’d put myself on incredibly restrictive diets (800 calories a day or less) and weigh myself several times a day. If I lost weight, I was ‘good’, if I gained it, I was ‘bad’. I’d beat myself up if I fell off the wagon, literally grabbing my flesh in the mirror and telling myself how ‘fat’ and ‘ugly’ my body was. My self-esteem was at an all-time low, I was moody and not a lot of fun to be around.
Through college my weight seemed to level out. I wasn’t in the best shape, but I got to a place where I was comfortable. I worked out when I wanted to – walking or swimming – but was never really athletic. But I was becoming pretty content with who I was.
Over the years I’ve been with men who have suggested that I drop a few pounds. That suggestion stung more than a needle, and immediately took me back to my 10-year old self, wanting to please my father and making his wants more important than my own. So the rebel in me would simply refuse. If I was going to lose weight, it would be on my own terms, for my own reasons.
When Jim and I got engaged in September of 2012, I decided, for my own reasons, that I wanted to lose about 10 pounds. After all, this was going to be the last time I got married and I wanted to look great in my pictures! I think I successfully lost about 8, but felt great about me! Jim loves my and my body, and it has made a big difference to be with a partner who is so accepting.
Last July I hit a point where I felt disconnected from myself, and realized that my weight was a part of it. After all these years, and being up and down on the scale, I’ve noticed that I simply don’t FEEL good when I have extra weight on my body. But for many years I believe I carried that extra weight as ‘protection’. Now that I’m in a place where I’m totally confident in myself and comfortable with who I am, weight is a completely different matter. I eat what I want, when I want. Yes, I practice self-restraint, but if I want to have a few Christmas cookies or a piece of chocolate, then I do. And I indulge without guilt! In fact, I applaud my ability to eat something WITHOUT feeling guilty. I enjoy each sensual bite, and savor it with delight. I eat very well overall, so I know that if I treat myself 20% of the time, then I’m going to be just fine. I’ve noticed that with this approach – loving myself no matter what my weight is, and no matter what I eat – that my body has ease in releasing extra weight. It’s not a struggle, it’s just life. If I’m up a few pounds, I celebrate what I indulged in to get me there, then make sure that I plan healthy meals moving forward. I don’t count my points or calories, but I do weigh in each week to see where I am. If I don’t want to weigh myself, then I don’t. No guilt involved.
Yesterday I was in the boutique and as I helped a client choose her pant size, she referred to me as being ‘skinny’. Whoa! That surprised me! I’ve been called a lot of things in my lifetime, but skinny is not one of them. Me? Really? Wow, that made my day! Because for so long I felt ‘fat’. Not that there’s anything wrong with fat. Weight is a personal choice (as long as you’re healthy), and I feel much better at the lower end of the spectrum. Yesterday I also put on a pair of size 8 pants – and they were a little loose! Whoo hoo! I was so excited! It’s not about the number so much as it is about reaching my goal. I turn 49 in January, and I know that weight will become a completely different issue once hormones kick in. But it’s my goal to be the best ME I can be. And that means looking and feeling my best. It’s definitely a journey, and there really isn’t an end in sight. It’s not a diet, it’s my life! And right now, I couldn’t be happier with me!