This past Tuesday, I went to a different WW center where my former leader still has sessions. It was great to see her again, and she offered me the amazing opportunity to tell my story in full.
It was the first time I had ever done it, and I was a bit nervous. I don't have stage fright or anything like that (and believe me, I thank God each day for that blessing). But in front of people whom you don't know, sometimes it's not easy to tell all that has happened to you.
I did a couple of foamboards with photos from age 5 through a couple of weeks ago. Age 5: the last time I remember feeling anywhere close to "skinny." Age 8: chunky but cute enough to pull it off. Age 12: getting fat, and it wasn't pretty. Senior cap-&-gown photo: startled but not enough to do anything...... and then pictures from my adult life: all bad until the May 2007 "I've Lost 100 Pounds" picture.
It made me stop and think about how I had gotten to that point. I'd like to be able to say it was due to genetics or this or that or something else. And yes, there were contributing factors ..... living with a grandmother in house who was a great cook, but not a healthy one. Very unhealthy snacking habits, coupled with a great love of books (and great hate of sweat). Deciding around age 10 that playing at recess was not nearly as fun as sitting and gabbing with my friends (the sweat factor involved again). Deciding in junior high that cafeteria food was SO not cool, but grabbing a Coke and a bag of chips and a candy bar from the canteen was. Stress-eating continually as time went on. Even just not caring enough to do anything about it. Lots of rationalization: "Hey at least it's not (insert higher number here)."
But the thing is -- I chose badly. No one held a gun to me and forced me to eat Apple Jacks right out of the box until I was stuffed. No one physically forced me to sit on my lard butt and not get out and do stuff at recess or in the summer or any other time. There wasn't a soul in my high school who said, "You know, the cafeteria food really isn't all that bad..." -- and for the first few years it really wasn't. But thanks to Reagan-era budget cuts, we starting getting pizza on a daily basis. Pizza or nacho chips with goopy cheese; now THERE are some healthy options....... And I willingly chose all these things, whether out of personal preference or some deep-seated desire to be seen as cool.
The poor choices I made in childhood and adolescence carried through to college -- HEY! Domino's delivered even past midnight. Oh well, we've already eaten 3/4 of the pizza, might as well finish it off tonight. And in a walker-friendly town like Charleston, that was just inexcusable. I had friends who were physical education majors; some were biology majors. I know that had I asked and truly desired to change, they would have bent over backwards to get me the help I needed. But I was okay. I was perfectly fine. Oh, I should also mention -- alcohol has calories. Alcohol with pizza and nachos and other junk has plenty of calories.
When I left college, I tried to get life insurance -- and was turned down because of my weight. They were betting I wouldn't make it, and I was stubborn and determined enough to show them I was. I tried again 5 years later, where I'd packed on 41 more pounds. Of course I was going to get turned down. I got life insurance through work, only because there were no questions asked during open enrollment.
By the time I hit the WW doors nearly 2 years ago, I'd packed on yet ANOTHER 43 pounds in 9 years (hey, at least the rate slowed a little, right?) ..... well, not really. Right after that 2nd attempt at life insurance, I had lost about 35 pounds, so really, I packed on 78 in 9 years. Roughly nine pounds a year ----- OOOGH!
This is why "doing it on my own" is not an option. This is why I have to attend my meetings, even nearly 2 years later. I know I cannot be accountable only to myself; I've walked that road a million times, and I know myself well enough to know that I will cheat in a heartbeat if left to my own devices.
I turn 38.5 years old today. A year and a half (literally) to 40. I have 68 pounds to go. My rate of losing has slowed a bit -- it's averaging about 5 pounds a month (where it was 8 or so when I first started). That's okay because I'm still losing. I had originally set a timeframe to get to goal by the end of this year. 68 pounds in 8 months at 5 pounds a month..... well, you see the dilemma. But I am DEFINITELY hitting goal before I turn 40, and I want to get there by 39-1/2. I know I can do it. But I will never do it alone.
So I am accountable to not only myself (the worst arbiter of things), but my family, my coworkers, my friends, my fellow Weight Watchers, my leaders, and you my readers. That's why I started this whole blog in the first place -- one more circle of accountability.
And I tell my story because I know the plan works. I am proof. I will keep telling my story, to remind myself how far I've come and where I never want to go back to.