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    ALASSE   2,226
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How I Began


Friday, September 15, 2006

April 10, 2002. That was the day of my wake up call.

I wasn't happy with myself, I wasn't happy with my life, and I rarely looked at the scale because I was, quite frankly, afraid to know. It was a year after I'd undergone reconstructive knee surgery. In that year, I'd gone from a size 14 in jeans to a size 24.

I'd spent three months of that year on crutches, then in physical therapy, only to be told by my surgeon that I would need to curtail many of the outdoor sports that I loved. How maddening! I'm not a girl who enjoys going to the gym. These places always smell funky - what I refer to as the "rancid foot smell". Eeeurgh. No, I'm an outdoors girl. I wanted to get back to the hiking trail, biking, skiing, try snowboarding, etc. All of these, my doc said, were out of my reach. Swimming was allowed, however. Excuse me, has anyone ever tried to get access to a public pool in Boston or Cambridge in the middle of winter? Good freaking luck. I was devastated. I ended up staying home more, becoming more inactive, and eating. Before I knew it, I was obese.

On that April day, something inside me was ashamed enough of myself to want to do something. I think what started it was seeing a recent photograph of myself and being shocked - seeing myself fat in a photo. Seeing myself as others could see me. That was the alarm bell. I signed on to Weight Watchers Online; they told me to weigh myself. So I did.

270lbs. That was my start weight, four years ago.

I admit that I wasn't a dutiful student of the plan - if I had been, I'd be at goal weight already. But I did learn key things, and that helped me lose my first 30lbs. My body kept trying to gain back the last 5 or 10, and I became frustrated with the WW plan because it didn't seem to be offering any solid advice on how to break through this. In-person meetings were worse, with the tsking and the ridicule. How is that supposed to fire up a person's self esteem?? I went through a couple of years of bouncing between 240 and 250.

Cut to this spring, when a friend on a knitter's forum pointed me to Sparkpeople. When I came here I was, you guessed it, back to 250. I'd managed to keep 20lbs off for four years! I held onto that victory in my mind as fuel for the fight - if I could do that, I could do more.

This place has offered me better tools for meeting my goals. The community is sweeter, more encouraging, and less competitive. I love the connections I've made here. The website engages me to rethink my world, and consequently, my self. Who knew that re-engineering one's life could be this fun and rewarding?

Today I got on the scale. I'm at 220lbs. This is a sweet victory; but even more so, is the fact that I can hike now. I can bike now. I do tai chi. I walk the dog a mile or more at a time. I may not ever go racing downhill on the ski slopes again, but I have found other ways to stay active and outdoors. I see myself get stronger every day, and it makes me happy.
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