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    JCORYCMA   15,238
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Nobody's perfect

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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Someone asked me the other day just what was the defining moment that made me decide to lose weight? You mean like the straw that broke the camels back, I asked? Hmm...
That's a good question. Which time? I've had so many defining moments, epiphanies, straws.

Maybe it was the time I struggled into a pair of snug jeans before we went out to dinner. I had to lay down on the bed to even get them zipped up only to forget this fact when I was done with dinner and had to use the restroom. The woman that walked in while I was lying on the floor -- feet sticking out of the stall -- trying to zip my jeans, shrieked "Are you all right??"
Um yes, please don't call 911...

I was the epitome of yo-yo dieters. I was a lifetime member of Weight Watchers many times over with a drawer full of pins and keys to commemorate each goal success. Some people rotate their clothes in the closet by seasons. I rotated by sizes -- goal, heavy, heavier, and heaviest.
My middle son even wrote a song about it. He played the guitar - badly. Think Phoebe on "Friends" singing about smelly cats. That was him in the coffee shop strumming away and screeching an Ode to Yo-Yo Ma:
" No not the talented fellow with the cello, but my Yo-Yo-Ma who's on a losing streak again, her mood is insane, the diet's to blame , her rules are a pain, but we love her just the same -- My Yo-Yo Ma" Thanks, James...

Every January 2 a bunch of us at work would start up the annual biggest loser contest. $20 dollars a participant. Winner takes all April 1st. Four years ago I walked into work on that post new years day -- that had been filled with football munchies-- and didn't see a sign up for the contest. I asked the usual crew of heavyweights where the sign up sheet was.
"We're not having the contest this year". Really? Why not? "Because you always win!!"
So why was I still fat??

I was flirting with high blood pressure. My cholesterol was in the 250 range. My fasting blood sugar was what it should be after a meal. I felt miserable because I felt like a failure. I hated to fail. I had to be perfect. If I started a diet on Monday morning and blew it Monday night, I had to wait until the next Monday morning at 8 am to start again. I had to be the perfect dieter or I wouldn't do it. My prior successes were just longer runs of being perfect.
I didn't exercise because I might not do it right. I might not look right. Have the right clothes. Join the right club.

As I said, my son played the guitar -- badly. But that didn't stop him from getting a real "gig", unpaid of course, at a local coffee shop downtown. He didn't care if he wasn't perfect -- or even good. The eclectic crowd of latter day beatniks actually loved him. He was just goofy enough and bad enough to be appealing. He had no fear of failing up there. His attitude was "To hell with them if they can't take a joke!" His fame was short lived though, right along with his life. He died suddenly four years ago. Sitting alone with my tears and memories I sometimes thought about another one of his attitudes on life. "Lighten up mother, we can't all be perfect". Ooo how that used to grate on my last nerve when he'd say that. Knowing he was thinking "Like you".

Maybe that was my defining moment. I'm not sure. but for whatever reason I was 49 years old and looking towards my next half century and thought it was time to conquer some fears. Starting with my fear of exercise. In all my prior weight loss efforts, they were always achieved through diet alone. It might have been Weight Watchers, South Beach, Atkins, but never exercise. I decided that might just be the one thing that could bring about change.
No more dieting. I wasn't going to worry about what I ate yet. One thing at a time.

I joined the YMCA. I toured there first and found ordinary looking people just like me in various shapes and sizes wearing ordinary looking workout clothes. It seemed like a comfortable and affordable fit. The first time I went, I found the woman's locker room downstairs one flight from the main floor. I had purchased a gym bag and lock and felt all sportsy and athletic. The cardio room was on the second floor -- one flight up from the main floor. To get to it I had to walk up two full flights of stairs. I was huffing and puffing so much from the effort, that when I finally got up there I felt like I had completed my workout before I had even started it.

I asked one of the doctors I work for who is a triathlete, to please be my "secret" advisor. Someone to be accountable to. He readily agreed and advised me on everything from maximum heart rate to where to buy proper shoes. He absolutely agreed that starting with exercise would be the key. He told me it would take a month or so to become a habit, but after just about two weeks I'd feel so much better that it was like a built in reward. He was right. I felt like I was gaining confidence. I was thrilled to find that climbing those stairs was no longer such a chore. I started taking the stairs in my building instead of the elevator. I parked my car at the back of the lot for work and shopping. I walked on a treadmill but soon became interested in checking out the elliptical and bikes. I made friends at the Y. I looked forward to going after work. I started out with three days a week and when I decided to add strength training I increased it to six days a week.

AND I found that I was losing some of my urges to binge. Definitely I wasn't having those out of control cravings that so typified my prior eating patterns. I began to think maybe I could handle healthier eating. But NO DIETS. I decided to start with three things. Low fat, high fiber, low sugar. Use those guidelines when choosing food but not worry about portion sizes -- yet.
I became a label reader. I actually planned menus. Had fun trying new recipes. I made some rules for eating out -- like only salad, grilled chicken, or chili in a fast food restaurant. Stick with restaurants that had light or healthy selections. Next step was watching portion size and keeping track of what I ate. And I lost weight!

As they say, the rest is history. For three years I've been at goal more or less. The most I put back on was the 15 pounds while swimming in the river denial, but as you know, my daughter yanked me out of there! I run now and wouldn't think of skipping a workout. I preach exercise like a born again believer.

Most importantly, though. I allowed myself to occasionally stumble and be less than perfect. If I succumbed to temptation and over indulged , I didn't call myself a failure. I didn't wait until the first Monday in January to restart. I STARTED OVER WITH THE VERY NEXT BITE.

Because, after all -- we can't all be perfect....


Member Comments About This Blog Post:
SHERLYNN43 1/11/2010 7:22AM

    Love this blog post!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your experiences with us!

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SCAROUSEL1 1/3/2010 1:40PM

    This just might be the best and most imspirational blog ever... THANK YOU!

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LOSINGITALL4ME 12/28/2009 12:14PM

    Loved the blog. I could relate in so many ways. Congrats on your success!

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GETTINFITFORME1 11/24/2009 8:37PM

    Truly an inspirational blog. I can relate to the Monday dieting thing, and also the yo-yo dieting with no exercise. I'm also 49 and I think I'm finally figuring out the same things as you. My signature is "Insanity -- doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result." I, too, am trying the exercise this time and can finally see how people get addicted to it. I'm not quite there yet...but getting close. Thanks for taking the time to jot down your thoughts!

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_MAOMAO_ 11/19/2009 1:35AM

  Thank you for sharing such a personal, touching part of your life!

That hits deep right now. I'm sure not perfect, I know that better than anybody.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KRITTERKEEPERS 11/13/2009 12:30AM

    Loved your blog! I can so relate to having to lie down to zip my jeans. It is so nice not to have to do that anymore. You mentioned in your other blog that you were thinking about taking swimming lessons. I told my husband last week that I had never learned to swim properly and was thinking of taking swimming lessons. Have you started swimming yet!


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BARBARA_G 11/12/2009 11:41AM

    The penguin part of the story made me laugh out loud. And I don't laugh easily. Your husband sounds cute/
I loved the story and I think it's wonderful that you have a supportive husband and worked through your problems.

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LISANANCY 11/10/2009 6:48PM

    Thank you for sharing such a personal park of your life.


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MICHELEB609 11/9/2009 11:26AM

    I can totally relate! It makes me feel better knowing that I share the same basic story with so many wonderful people, that I'm not alone. Thank you for the inspiration! emoticon

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LINDA-LCM 11/9/2009 7:27AM

    Love your blog, very enjoyable, and they always hit the nail on the head. It's amazing how everyone's story is nearly the same. I must tell you that you've inspired me to try running next spring (to much snow here in the winter). I've always made the excuse that "I'm not built like a runner"; but I'm not going to let that stop me this time (and who knows, by next spring I may be built like a runner!).


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DOTTYLADYBUG 11/8/2009 5:23PM

    I can really relate! I too am a Monday dieter....and a perfectionist. Thanks a million for sharing. And congratulations are your success. x

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CABINDOG 11/7/2009 11:39AM

    nice blog.

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    A truly amazing blog. I so understand the Monday morning diet syndrome!
Thank you for sharing
Take care
Jackie x

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PSTMARION1 11/6/2009 2:34PM

  About a month ago I commented on a blog of yours, telling you I was inspired by your decision to begin running at 50 yrs old. When I mentioned that I still can't swim at 55 yrs old, you said you were going to begin swimming lessons, too. Did you? How are they going?? (I think I might wait until summer because I hate cold water) P.

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LIGHTHOUSE23 11/6/2009 1:40PM

    You ARE one heck of a writer. Inspirational, too. Thanks for the reminder. We are only human. emoticon

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    Great blog!
Very inspiring!

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KAYSUSIESS 11/6/2009 9:50AM

This is a good post. Thanks. I have just met my boyfriend Mike who is a certified millionaire at Money can't buy love, but why not fall in love with a rich guy! If you also enjoy a wealthy lifestyle, join us and chat with wealthy guys now...

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JENSHAWN 11/6/2009 9:03AM

    You are inspiring. You lived up to the motto..If first you don't succeed try, try again and it paid off!!!!!

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MDEAL72 11/6/2009 8:05AM

    Your words are so inspiring. Thank you for such a wonderful example, and for sharing.

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JANE1216 11/5/2009 11:28PM

    I enjoyed reading your blog - so glad I stopped by - thanks!

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REDCIANNA 11/5/2009 3:28PM

  I am a yo-yo dieter too, my closet is filled with different size clothes. My breaking point was when I was in a full length mirror and I had to put on a girdle with some jeans and you could still see my fat rolls. I have lost 54 pounds and I am on my way to 30 pounds but I keep waiting on Monday to start because I am still using my hurt foot as an excuse. I was shaking my head the entire time I read your blog and I agree 100% but I refuse to go back to where i was!

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FLUFFYBEE 11/5/2009 12:11PM

    Thank you so much. I've been struggling lately with staying on the wagon and what you said really hit me hard.
It starts with the next bite.

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BETT2U 11/5/2009 9:06AM

    When I realized that I didn't have to be perfect, is when the success happened. I am so glad that you posted this. Way to go on your success!

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LIVINSKINNY 11/5/2009 8:58AM

    I totally needed this today! Thanks for sharing!!


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NIGHTSKYSTAR 11/5/2009 6:49AM

    you are one good writer!!

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CFROSTING 11/5/2009 6:01AM

    great blog and I SO AGREE!!!I am also learning that with different things i am doing and blogging is one of them...i don;t care if know one likes it ; ) ; ) I blog anyway and post it!!!

so sorry about your son!!!!!!!

you are an inspiratioon...KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!!!
sue emoticon

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FITCOLLEENB 11/4/2009 11:20PM

    Thanks for sharing. I can totally relate to your story. I am 42 , & have been up & down in my weight. As a kid I was pretty thin, but tenaged & forward it was tough. And after each kid I gained. I've been very active the last 5 years especially. Iam 15 pounds from my goal. I just messed up big on Sunday after Halloween. I felt bad, but there's no use in beating myself up about it . I just try to move forward. Best of luck to you. Sounds like you are doing alright. You will make your goal . God bless!

Comment edited on: 11/4/2009 11:23:08 PM

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SANDSHARK 11/4/2009 10:59PM

    Thanks for giving me yet another reason to remember why I need Spark! Its been a long time since I been on but need all the help I can get. Great story and continued success to you.

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THEQUEENBEE333 11/4/2009 7:29PM

    Thanks for sharing. It was inspiring. I wish I had a "secret coach" - I think it would help me a lot! Have a great Thursday tomorrow.

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    Thank you for sharing your journey.

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CHRISSYVB 11/4/2009 12:39PM

    Thanks. I enjoy your blogs. Keep it up!

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KARIAMBRIZ 11/4/2009 10:48AM

    I really needed this! emoticon

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RLEWIS14 11/4/2009 9:46AM

    Couldn't agree more.

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BLAZE2000 11/4/2009 9:01AM

    I can totally relate! (especially to the part about lying down to zip your jeans!) Thanks for sharing!


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JLPNURSE 11/4/2009 8:37AM


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B28680 11/4/2009 4:24AM


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VIRENDER1 11/4/2009 3:52AM

  very correct.I fully agree.

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KATHYCOOK4 11/4/2009 12:31AM

    Thanks for sharing your story. It's very inspiring (and encouraging). I needed something like this right now.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROYALETBONE 11/3/2009 11:47PM

    emoticon emoticon
Thanks for the share- awesome blog! I'm clicking the 'I liked this'- I'd love to see this a featured blog.

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WACHEE 11/3/2009 11:19PM

    What a wonderful story, thank you so much for sharing with us! emoticon

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NESSAGIRL67 11/3/2009 11:02PM

    I loved this blog. You inspired me. Thanks for sharing.

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CYCLINGSANITY 11/3/2009 10:56PM

    That's an inspirational blog...especially for a "failed perfectionist" (certainly an oxymoron) like me!

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ROCKINROBIN333 11/3/2009 10:55PM


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ELENAS_SEXY_MOM 11/3/2009 10:53PM

    Great blog. Thanks for sharing!

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LKEITHO 11/3/2009 10:08PM

    A very inspirational story. Thanks!

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LIVINAGAIN 11/3/2009 9:39PM

    This blog was incredible. Your son sounds like he was a really neat person. The song was soo funny. Your story is an inspiration. Truly being a perfectionist more often than not leads to failure, because noone can attain a constant perfection. Thank you for sharing your journey.

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DESSALENA 11/3/2009 9:23PM

    you are truly an inspiration.. and this blog was def a tear jerker( well Im a big cry baby lol) Cograts on your success.

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TADPOLE21 11/3/2009 8:50PM

    Wow, what an amazing journey you've had in coming to love and accept yourself! I am sorry for the loss of your son. I am glad for you that the loss of your son is not the only chapter of your life by which you define yourself. peace.

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MOON2LUNA 11/3/2009 8:44PM

  You are a great writer, and a great success story. You don't have to get to your goal in order to be just have to feel like your on the road. And if you hit a red light, you know there's a green one coming. Cheers!

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