On Jan. 4, one small step into a Weight Watchers meeting led to one giant leap for my life.
My weight has always been a struggle. At 12, I developed an exercise program during the summer break from school. The program consisted of practicing basketball in the back yard and using exercise equipment at home. The program didn't last long, but it was not the first time that such a plan had crossed my young mind, nor was it the last.
Over the years, I tried various diets and weight-loss programs — joining gyms, working out with friends, and drinking special milk shakes — but the weight never came off successfully. That is, until that day a year ago, when I really made a decision to change my life.
It wasn't an easy decision, but a necessary one. I had allowed my weight to skyrocket to an extremely unhealthy level. I was morbidly obese, and it was causing major concerns in my life. I had a 3-year-old child who I was barely able to interact with after long days at work because I was exhausted. Ultimately, a family portrait that my husband and I reluctantly agreed to last December sparked my final decision to make a change.
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I rarely stared at my reflection in the mirror. I deliberately avoided looking in the three mirrors hanging around my home. However, when I did, what I saw was different than what appeared in that portrait. I never saw myself like I appeared in a picture, which is what I really looked like. I had blocked the morbidly obese person I was from my mind's eye and allowed myself to cope with a more pleasant image.
That family portrait and my approaching 30th birthday led me to set a goal. My goal would be "purty by thirty." I wanted to lose at least 150 pounds by July 9, 2010. I soon discovered that even that much would not put me at the highest recommended weight for my height. Even if I lost the entire body weight of a healthy person, I would be considered overweight. I did not want the overweight label any longer, so I increased my weight-loss goal to 163.8 pounds, which would put me at my healthy weight.
When I reach my ultimate goal, I will have lost more than 50 percent of my body weight.
Take that, Biggest Loser!
One of the questions I receive most often is, "Where does your motivation come from?" I wish I could answer that simply, but I can't.
I made up my mind to change my life, and I am doing it. I made a resolution last January to lose 100 pounds during 2009, and on Dec. 14, I met that goal when my total weight loss reached 100.8 pounds.
That 100.8 pounds was not easy to lose. Through the year, I have attended my Weight Watchers meetings, counted my Weight Watchers points, exercised occasionally (yes, I said occasionally) and persevered.
I had bad weeks. I had horrible weeks. One week, I gained 5 pounds. I didn't even know that was possible, but unfortunately I learned that lesson the hard way. I often would lose my motivation from one week to the next. I had numerous temptations, and I gave in to them time and time again. However, I never gave up, which is what I would have done in the past.
If I had gained 5 pounds in a week 10 years ago, I would have thrown my hands in the air, shrugged my shoulders and eaten a tub of ice cream.
Maybe I persevered because of the red-headed, blue-eyed little boy who calls me Mommy. Maybe it is due to the support I have received from friends, family, co-workers and acquaintances. It could be because I am not doing this alone; a dear friend (who has lost 90 pounds!) and I are fighting this battle together. Or, as I am sure my husband would attest, maybe it is my stubborn, hardheaded attitude that has kept me going.
My life is changing as my body is shrinking, but I am not done. I have seven months to lose the remaining 63 pounds to be "purty by thirty."
Last year's resolution was successful, and I know that 2010's can be as well. I will lose the remaining 63 pounds in 2010.
I will be healthy.
I will ride a roller coaster with my child.
I will run/jog in a 5k (did I really just say that?). I will be successful.
And you can be, too.