Wow. All I can say is, Wow. What the heck happened? I used to be a runner. I once ate carefully, albeit with gusto; and, I had an entire closet full of fantastic clothes to wear in sizes 6,8, and 10. Luckily, I still have that closet full of clothes; sadly, I can no longer fit into any of them. By the end of 2012, I hope to be saying hello to some of those old favorites again. Since my sense of style runs toward the classic, I'll still be able to enjoy wearing them once I get my body back.
I opened the closet door with a resounding creak this morning, just to give myself a reality check before stepping on the scale in the first time in years. I didn't realize that things had gotten this far out of hand. I can't even get my leg all the way into some of the pants that used to fit me loosely. Even my old "fat" jeans won't go all the way up.
Allow me to introduce myself. I'm a freelance writer, and some of my very best work has to do with living a healthy lifestyle. Somehow, I have failed to take my own advice for the past three years or so. I've managed to gain 100 pounds. I stopped eating right. I stopped exercising. I sat at my desk, working and snacking; telling myself that I could take a run tomorrow, or walk another day. I stopped taking care of myself. Sure, I shower and wash my face and put on my makeup and pull on an outfit that looks OK; usually one that involves an elastic waistband. I somehow manage to carry this extra weight pretty well, to the point where I get a lot of looks from men, along with lots of compliments from friends and strangers alike. I could weigh 500 pounds and I would still be me; still have sparkly green eyes and a neat row of white teeth that flash when I smile. My guy says: "I'll always love you, no matter how much you weigh. You're wonderful." Nice to hear; but, would it be fair to him for me to become so hefty that I couldn't participate in our favorite activities? Would it be fair to me to allow my health to enter a downward spiral? No. Absolutely not.
Somewhere I read that a fat woman who smells great and does a good job of putting her look together is more attractive than a thin woman who needs a shower and could stand a bit of a makeover. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. We all have days when we look better, and days when we look worse. While that statement about looking great even though overweight was a big morale booster, it did nothing to help my aching back, my sore knees, or my swollen ankles.
Tap, tap. Tap, tap. "What?!" I say. The little angel whose job it is to perch on my right shoulder is tapping me incessantly. She holds up a piece of paper. I grab it from her, almost tearing it; it's a photo of me and my friends, celebrating after we walked the Breast Cancer 3-day. I'm trim and fit. My calves are beautifully defined, and my body looks lovely. The angel stares up at me, expectantly.
"Well?" she says. She, like me, has gained 100 pounds. Her robes are comfy, roomy, and even stylish. The neckline is designed to draw the eye up and away from her belly, which is apple shaped and tells me that she's in a risky category, prone to health problems associated with being overweight. Her body looks like mine. Under the robes, which change colors with her emotions, her buttocks and legs have lost their definition. She has lost the battle with cellulite. Her bra leaves a big red line on her back, yet her breasts still manage to sag just a little. She, too, is tired of being overweight.
"I'm so sorry," I tell her. "I'm so sorry for what I have done to us." I'm crying now, and the angel is too. Her lip sticks out a little as she sniffles; trying, like me, to stop. "If you cry too much, your contact lenses will fog up, and you won't be able to see what you're doing. You'll have to take them out," she tells me. I nod, bite harder into the piece of gum I'm chewing, and throw away five plates of Christmas cookies.
We went to the gym this morning, my angel and me. We watched TV while we walked on the treadmill, and I remembered that watching TV is a rare treat for me. I always cherished my gym time simply for the fact that I could watch TV and not feel guilty. We walked for 30 minutes, then we shared some water. Later on, we're going for another walk.