Words Matter Reflection
Tuesday, February 16, 2021
One thing the pandemic has given me is plenty of time for reflection. I reached my goal weight a little over 10 months ago. Just 7 more weeks and 2 days and it will be a year. The whole idea of maintenance was overwhelming and somewhat terrifying. It took me four years to take off 80 pounds and somewhere along the way, the healthier diet, regular exercise, adequate hydration and sleep became a lifestyle. After four years, I felt like I had a good handle on how to lose weight--slow and steady--calories in/calories out. Even though I'd done some reading about maintenance and read others' blogs and read all the Spark Articles on the subject and joined the Transitioning to Maintenance team--I felt ill prepared for the maintenance phase of my life. Once again, the doubts crept it. Can I really be one of the few who are able to keep the weight off long term? That started me thinking about how I got to this point. Where did this start, this desire to change my life? There are certain conversations that stick with you--those that have a profound affect on you.
The first one was several years ago. I wasn't at my all time top weight yet but was well on my way. I was celebrating my birthday with my family at an "all you can eat" Chinese buffet. About half way through our night out (and my second time through the buffet line), I noticed my son looking around somewhat surreptitiously. He has always been reed thin and I asked him if he wanted to go back for seconds. He declined and said softly-look around. I did and immediately saw what he saw--an entire restaurant full of overweight people with their plates stacked high with food. And then he said the words I will never forget. "People who overeat at these kinds of places have no respect for their bodies". Ouch.
Another time, while out driving, I started to complain about my weight or some other issue with my body image. My son, ever the wise one, said, "If you don't like it, do something to change it". Once again, the truth of his words caught me up short and I've often returned to that as my mantra. "Do something about it!"
My husband and I both worked in the medical field and saw firsthand what obesity does to a person's health. Before we got married, I promised him I would NEVER get fat. That was one promise I didn't keep. I did get fat. At my highest weight, I weighed 90 pounds more than when I got married. The weight gain was steady and slow--about 3 pounds a year. Hardly noticeable day by day even though I kept having to buy bigger clothes and didn't have much energy and moved much more slowly. And then came the Type 2 Diabetes diagnosis. That was the final shock I needed to get me to take control of my health and make changes. And, I did. I consider myself new to maintenance and in a continual state of learning going forward. I understand the importance of reflection and taking time to remember where you were and where you are and how you got there. I feel really good about myself now. I look better. I feel better. And, because of that, I also had the courage to apologize to my husband for that broken promise. I asked him if he was as repulsed by me as I was when I was fat. And then he uttered words that I will never forget. He looked me in the eye and he said, "I only ever saw YOU". And, I knew it to be true. He has never commented on my appearance in a negative way--and only rarely complimented me. He really doesn't see the outward appearance. He saw ME. He understands that what I weigh is not who I am. And now, I believe that too.
I will respect my body. I will "do something about it" to maintain the weight loss long term. I will see myself the way my husband sees me--as a complete person who is not defined by my weight.