I've decided, as when I first went public with this blog, to share with my follower (really? I have a follower? Someone other than me reads these meanderings?) my most recent weight-loss effort.
As most know, I began 2001 riding the crest of a wave...not a good wave. This wave found me, on April 21, 2001, 44 years old, unemployed and knocking on the door of 200 pounds. Not a good look on me. The day before, I had lost the third of three friends that month to lifestyle-related diseases. Two heart attacks and one cancer. I had watched as my son, along with me, grew bigger and more unhealthy. Strange, because, intellectually, I KNEW what to do; eat less and move more. But I always had an excuse. I remember buying breakfast in the cafeteria in my office building. I would have a plate of hash browns telling myself, "It's pretty healthy. It's just potatoes." (Psst, and the fat in which the potatoes were fried.) Probably not my best choice, y'think?
So, on April 19 I hauled my sorry self to the Weight Watchers meeting in Beaverton. Horrified, I watched as the weights on the scale settled at 184. Oy. Even pregnant, I'd not been that heavy. Now, to be fair, I had weighed more. When I broke my neck in Marck, 1976, I tipped at just over 200 pounds. But I digress.
It was a struggle, emotionally and physically. I was laid off the next day, April 20. My Auntie Lynn died the day after that. Two days later my son and I were dispatched to Arizona to help Auntie Millie, bereft at the loss of her sister and her husband, deal with what was on her plate. (Little did we know then, Auntie Millie was beginning her descent into the special hell that is Alzheimer's.) My daddy, whom I adored, died less than two months later. And it was hard. Gaining weight was easy - save for the discomfort of over-eating and the feelings of self-loathing that mounted with every pound. At the end of my first week following the WW plan, I'd lost...one-quarter pound! Really? All that for 4 ounces? Wisely, the Leader explained to me I probably hadn't gained two pounds a week, it was going to take longer to lose than I'd planned. (little did she know. I could gain five pounds in a weekend!) A week later I decided to join a gym. I realized I had a chance here; I wasn't working and I had some wiggle room financially. I could focus on ME getting and being healthy. As I signed the contract authorizing electronic debit from my checking account for the $24 monthly fee (which included towel service. That way I could shower and use THEIR hot water, right? I'm cheap, not dumb) the 'Fitness Associate' assured me I needed to buy the training sessions offered so I could work with a personal trainer. I explained if I did that, I would have to go back to work right away and wouldn't be able to develop the discipline I would need to do this Every. Single. Day. He countered saying if I didn't hire a trainer, I'd never make my fitness goals. That was it! The challenge was on!
Every morning thereafter, I dropped my son at school and drove, without thinking most days, right to the gym. Ten minutes on the elliptical became 30, five minutes rowing became 35. I was on a roll. But then the day came. A bee-you-tee-ful trainer stopped me in the ladies dressing room. She wanted to tell me that she'd been watching me and could tell I'd lost weight. Yay! Such encouragement!
Finally, after 16 months, months when I would gain or not lose an ounce for weeks at a time, I reached my goal weight. I even dropped below goal, settling 50 pounds lighter than when I'd walked in the doors at WeightWatchers and the gym. My WW Leader asked me what had kept me going throughout the past year-plus of scale struggles. I explained to the group that on the day before he'd died, my daddy had taken my hand and said, "Kathleen, you've lost weight." "oh, Daddy," I countered, "it's only four pounds." "You look good, Kathy, keep it up." That kept me going, knowing my daddy was pleased. (I'm crying as I recall that conversation. When I shared it with the group at WW, few eyes there were dry, either.)
I stopped at my former workplace one day just after reaching goal and was preening before my former co-workers. One of them, actually, the manager who had hired me, smirked and said, "well, let's see you keep it off."
One would think that would have been life-long motivation - but it wasn't. Slowly, ever-so-stealthily, the pounds crept back until I found myself, following a broken shoulder in March 2012 and a broken hip in November, within 25 pounds of that terrible number I'd not seen since 2001.
It's no easier this time. Especially as I'm not yet allowed any impact activities. (I'm allowed to walk but pain prevents more than 30 minutes at a time.) I wondered whether to share this effort with anyone. Maybe no one noticed I'd gained 25 pounds? But I shared. I told Art after the first week when I'd lost a half-pound. I shared with a girlfriend last night that, over two weeks, I'd lost 1.8 pounds. She did a little applause thing. (Thanks, Camille.) Officially, I'm on the way back. And when I can resume running next month weight loss will be faster. You'll see less of me next week!