I am not a big New Year's resolution maker, but this year I came to the conclusion that I really need to drop the extra weight I am carrying around. It has gotten to the point where I am physically uncomfortable, so something's gotta change.
Weight has been an ongoing struggle for me for my entire life. Even in 3rd grade, I remember asking my friend Jill who was fatter: my classmate Wendy (who was morbidly obese) or me? I seriously couldn't tell what my body was like.
At 15 I went on the Scarsdale Diet because a friend's mother told me she lost a pound a day on it. For weeks I ate protein bread and clear broth with a teaspoon of parmesan. I brought my lunch to school and refused to eat anything that wasn't on the diet. In the course of a few months I lost about 30 lbs and got to 134 lbs. It was the last time I would ever see that number in my life.
I regained all that weight and then some, but managed all through high school to stay in the size 18 range, even with terrible eating habits.
During college, though, my eating was just a mess. I was very poor, so I ate cheap food, which unfortunately happens to be the worst kind: boxed mac and cheese, ramen noodles, english muffins with margarine. I ballooned up to about a size 22/24, which was where I was when I got married. (I have the dress to prove it.)
A couple of years after getting married, I was walking on a beach in Cape Cod, huffing and puffing because it was so hard to walk in the sand, when I finally had an epiphany: God did not want me to be unhealthy. He wanted me to be fit. Right then and there I determined to lose the extra weight. When I got home from the Cape, I signed up with Weight Watchers and did very well with the program, losing about 80 lbs in less than a year. I was something of a poster child, happily sharing with everyone how I managed to lose so much weight, exercising for fun for the first time in my life. (It was at this point that I started playing rollerblade hockey with my husband and some friends.) I looked good, even with the remaining 30 or so extra pounds. But eventually I stopped going to WW meetings because I got pregnant.
During my pregnancy, I gained back just about all the weight I'd lost. I was in total despair.... a new mom with a new baby, exhausted, out of shape, depressed. When my son was about a year old, I went back to weight watchers to try again, but for some reason, I was unable to lose even a few pounds. I was hugely discouraged.
After awhile, I began to believe that the only possible solution for me was God. I simply had to find a way that relied on God instead of my own, by this point weak, will power. So I decided to check out Overeaters Anonymous, a program modeled on the 12 steps of AA. I remember going to my first meeting and wondering why no one was clapping or talking about their weight loss. In fact, it seemed like a downer because everyone was complaining about their lives, instead. But I went back. And then again. And finally got myself a sponsor. Slowly some of the weight started to come off. I got down about 3o lbs. I was feeling better. I was convinced that I was sick and that the only cure was a spiritual solution. I learned to rely on God for both my eating and for other issues in my life.
When I got pregnant again, I wasn't as afraid that I would gain weight. I worked with my midwife to come up with a plan of eating that was healthy. I gained some weight, yes, but it wasn't the kind of out of control thing that I had done with my first pregnancy.
After my second child was born, it took a LONG time for the weight to start coming back off. I was back on my rigid, OA foodplan (3 weighed and measured meals a day, no snacks, no flour or sugar of any kind). I kept praying that God would relieve me of the obsession with food and teach me what he wanted me to do. Finally, one day, I had an epiphany while praying and realized that all I had to do was eat like a thin person. Eat when I am hungry and stop when I am satisfied. It was so simple. So simple, in fact, I thought I was 'cured' of my food obsession forever. I began to lose weight. I stopped going to OA meetings. For the first time in my life I could eat a 'little' of something and put the rest down. It really was a miracle. I was doing really well until last January, when I injured my knee. Suddenly my exercise was zero and my metabolism seemed to take a hit and I was gaining weight even with moderate amounts of food. By the time I was able to exercise again, I had gained back almost all the weight I had lost. If any of you have tried to start exercising when you are carrying a lot of extra weight, I can tell you right now, it is very discouraging. But I started small, with walking the kids to school.
So, here I am, at the highest weight I have ever been. I am not sure whether I am going to go back to OA, but I AM sure that it is time to start taking better care of my body. I am walking the kids to school several times a week. I am cutting out processed foods and am eating only well balanced, healthy choices in moderate amounts.
And I am asking God, once again, to help me with this.
In you, all things are possible.