Next Saturday, March 7, 2020, will be my one-year anniversary on WW (formerly known as Weight Watchers). I remember when I clicked the link on my phone to sign up, determined to follow through this time, no matter how long it took. My goal: to be down 100 pounds in 1 year.
Well, guess what? I’m “only” down 75-plus pounds.
Guess what else? That’s okay! The number one lesson I’ve learned in this first year is this is my lifestyle now. This whole weight-loss section is just a portion of my journey to wellness and health that I will live from now on!
I’ve also learned the most important part of this journey is not only dropping pounds. It’s learning how to do what I call "live thin."
You see, I’ve never been thin. Well, honestly, it’s more like I’ve never felt thin. I’ve spent my life thinking I should weigh less, even at times when I’m guessing others saw me as being a normal size.
The realization that society might view my body as different happened when I was four years old. It was a late spring day and I was wearing my swimsuit outside our suburban Kansas City home. The elementary school down the road had just let out. A group of boys walked by and, as young boys are known to do, commented on my fat butt.
I don’t remember exactly what they said, but I do remember being a bit surprised and confused about their comments. What was wrong with my butt? Was it different from other butts?
(The left photo is me at age 2 1/2. The right photo was at age 6, when I really started to put on weight.)
My first diet attempt happened when I was 11 years old. I got up and went for a bike ride for the first time, not for fun or because it was the quickest way to get to a friend’s house, but because the exercise was important for losing weight. When I came home I ate a healthy breakfast of three lemon cream donuts.
These diary entries from high school show just how much my young life revolved around dieting:
- January 1977 (14 years old): “Remember that after I lose weight I will be pretty, too.” (My sister was the pretty one.)
- January 1978 (15 years old): “I have to get back on my diet. Last night I realized what people think of fat people—lazy, slow, lacking in willpower. I don’t want people thinking of me that way.”
- March 1980 (17 years old): “I guess I feel inadequate about myself…I feel that because of my weight I am not living up to my potential…I have some really good, long-lasting friends because they have looked past my fat and have seen me. Just think how many more good friends I will have when I get rid of that big wall of excess fat.”
- February 1981 (18 years old): “This weekend I am starting a strict self-improvement and awareness plan…I am going to go on a strict diet. (Saturday, 800 calories; Sunday, 500 calories; from then on 1,000 calories a day.)”
|Me at age 28|
In my life, I must have been on just about every diet known to man. I’ve counted calories, points, and carbs. I’ve weighed and measured food and kept a food log. I even tried WW twice in the past—the first time when I was in high school! There was the memorable week I spent on the Cambridge Diet in 1981. Three times a day I drank shakes made of what had to be flavored sawdust. I lost 11 pounds, only to promptly gain it back the minute I returned to solid food. In fact, I’ve always gained the weight back, plus 5, 10 or 20 pounds more.
|The photo on left is me in February 2019 at 295 pounds. On the right is me in Hawaii in November 2019, minus 65 pounds.|
I’ve spent my adult life weighing more than 200 pounds. There have been times when I was more than 300 pounds. I don’t know my highest weight because the scale didn’t go up that far.
So, what was different about this time? Why is WW working for me this time? Honestly, it was a feeling if I didn’t change now, I would miss out on all the adventures I still wanted to accomplish in my life. (You can read more about my life-changing decision here.)
I look back at these photos I’ve posted and remember how insecure and critical of myself I was. When things went wrong, I blamed myself even when I wasn’t to blame. My primary excuse: It’s because I’m fat.
Well, no more! Even though I still have 50 pounds to drop before I reach my goal, I no longer blame my weight for life’s normal ups and downs. I also realize I can’t control some situations and the actions of others. I’m learning to let circumstances and people go and keep moving forward.
Who knew it was possible to start a whole new life at this stage of my life!
Guess what? It is possible!
Stay tuned! Let’s see where this adventure takes us!