And So it Begins...Again
Are those familiar words for you? I have said them many times, or at least a variation of them throughout my life. I have always struggled with my weight. Facing the emotional trauma of being overweight in middle school was not fun.... Can anyone say thunder thighs? I went to "fat camp" the summer before I started my last year of middle school and lost a bunch of weight, but what followed was a roller coaster of gaining and losing throughout high school and college...actually most of my adult life.
Fast forward to April 3, 2010. I'm giving a great workshop and teaching eager audience members how to use the iPad when I start to see little white spots. When I went to the doctor the following Monday, he discovered my detached retina and scheduled me for surgery the next day. On top of being scared to death because I had never been under anesthesia before, I weighed 290 pounds and had to put on a hospital gown made for tiny Sports Illustrated swimsuit models and scoot all 290 pounds of my body up and down a long, cold metal table. All of this, and when I look up, one of the nurses is a former student of mine.
So what was it going to be this time? Atkins? Weight Watchers? Jenny Craig? Nutri System? All of them had been successful for other people, and they have shown their value in other success stories, but I crashed and burned with each one. That is when I realized, someone had to change. Me. It is not about the program; it is about the person. It was the underlying emotional reasons for the weight gain and the "perfectionist" in me that had to change. The concept was not foreign to me.
So, in secret, I began to research and brainstorm. I began the important work of figuring out the emotional triggers and dealing with that perfectionist in me that could make me hate myself more often than not. I did not want to tell my husband or family so they could see me fail again.
I couldn't go public until I had a plan. I found a magazine called Cooking Light. I bought it and picked out recipes that looked delicious but were healthy. I began cooking, which was a shock to my husband, who said, "Who are you and what have you done with my wife?". Cooking has become fun. There is variety. It has taught me that my path does not include deprivation, but everything in moderation. There were mistakes along the way and some emotional eating after some difficult days, but this time I had to say to my perfectionist inside, "One bad day does not a diet break." It is a fight that still goes on today and will continue all my life. I have to work to let go of the "all or nothing" attitude that can take over if I let it.
I dusted off that BodyBugg my husband bought for me last November when we saw it on the Biggest Loser and I expressed my interest in trying it. I hid it under my clothes at work and did all the logging late at night when he was at work. Early in the morning, before anyone could see me, I did Leslie Sansone walking DVDs. I decided to start walking on my lunch break at work. I gave up soda for water with lemon. It was not someone else's workout, it was mine and I had to take pride I the small steps I was taking toward victory and accomplishment.
It sounds cliché to say it, but I was making lifestyle changes.
Slowly, the pounds began to peel away the layers of shame, so my plan could not stay a secret once people started noticing. My confidence began to build. My husband looked at me with pride, and my co-workers said, "Aimee, what are you doing? You look good." I revealed my secret through my appearance.
I needed a way to celebrate. The old me would have said, let's go eat anything and everything we want! But one night, watching the season of the Biggest Loser 10 contestants, Frado, Elizabeth, Patrick, and my inspiration "Ada the terminator" run their marathon, I thought about a new way to celebrate. My husband agreed to run the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Relay in October of 2010. This is a big deal. We were NOT runners. I had never run more than 10 feet at a time. We found Nike+ and followed a training plan. Crossing the finish line filled me with such pride. so much so that we signed up for the Disney Half Marathon in January 2011. I had so many fears and doubts, but I was also excited. I found a training plan and followed it. When I crossed the finish line with my husband, I was filled with so much emotion that I broke down and cried.
Now we are training to go back to the Wine and Dine and instead of running the relay, each one of us is running the half marathon.
What has made the difference for me is that perfection on a diet is not the goal. It is not about getting the weight off and being "finished" or having done everything perfectly. It is not a diet. It is not perfection. It is my life. It is not about making other people happy and living up to someone else's expectations of what a beautiful girl should look like. This is about what makes me happy. It is making big wins out of the small steps. That is what is important.
Each person has a different path. This one is mine. I still have a long way to go in terms of weight loss goals I want to achieve. But something has clicked in me and in my mind. I know it can click for you. Keep the small victories in mind. Those are the building blocks for achieving your bigger goals. It is not a battle to be perfect. (I love that song by Pink. It is called Perfect, but it is about loving yourself no matter what.) it is a battle you can win by deciding what you want and being who you want to be in your life. And so it began for me, and you can begin, it might be again, but this time do it for you.
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