I feel as though I need to paint a picture for you. Especially for those of you who have never seen me in person. And even for some of you who have seen me in person, but have no clue about my journey to a healthier life. I'm the gal in exercise class working my ass off, keeping tabs on portion size, making sure to eat gluten free & vegan, limiting my alcohol intake to where it hardly exists, and I'm still one of the biggest females in the room. My ginormous rib cage, size D boobs, linebacker size shoulders, and oddly thin lower legs don't help the look at all. My upper arms measure the size of the average woman's calf. Literally. I have lots of loose skin leftover from my 80 pound weight loss (10 years ago). All over my body...not just the tummy. I could have it removed, but due to the amount of it all spanning my entire body, I wouldn't know where to start or stop. (Thank God for Spanx! I wish they weren't so damn hot so I could wear them while running.) Since I don't have to be naked in front of people very often, I usually just mute the voices in my head that tell me I should be a certain size by now, have boobs that don't point toward the floor, and a belly you could bounce coins off of...instead of a belly you could hide coins under by simply lifting up my "apron of flesh". Weight loss didn't quite lead to the Baywatch body I had in mind when I first started the process.
It's difficult for me to relate to those who have never been overweight. I'm not talking baby weight. I have two kids. I know how difficult it is to shed baby weight. To top it off, I'm pretty sure I'm the only woman in the world who gained weight while breastfeeding! I'm talking about non-pregnancy induced weight gain. I spent years of my life, before having children, obese. After having many, many conversations with people who have never been overweight, I can tell they don't get where I'm coming from with my feelings and/or thoughts. It's just as difficult to be around someone who wants to lose weight, but makes every excuse in the book to do nothing about it. Talking to people on either end of the spectrum is exhausting for me.
In the past two years, I've found myself not really wanting to discuss my weight management journey with anyone at all. Period. I shut down. It's my journey. I can do what I want with it. I lost my weight over ten years ago, and I don't really want to discuss it any longer. I don't blog about it anymore even though it was at one time a wildly successful blog & I had growing audience. There are days I wish I had never started logging my journey online. I no longer care to listen to others chat about their success or misery. I learned along the way that relationships can be built and destroyed by weight loss. Friends and relatives become resentful, jealous, and hurtful. After talking about weight loss for so long, even as a professional in the field for many years, I feel somewhat numb to the topic these days. Here's how I feel today:
Those of you with a fresh weight loss who want to yammer on and on about it...talk to me when you've kept it off for at least five years. For those of you who gained some (or all) of it back...get your ass back on track.It's almost as though I feel no compassion at all. I'm like a robot. It could be a defense mechanism. It could also be me putting my foot down to say "ENOUGH!". For a while, I was worried that my mind was trying to leave such a monumental part of my past in the dust. I don't want to forget about it. It's important. I simply don't want to talk about it all the time.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to walk with a friend along the Portland waterfront. She brought up the topic of weight loss, and for the first time in a long time, I didn't mind discussing it with someone. Usually, I find myself shriveling up inside whenever someone mentions it, but I didn't this time. I think it's because she is a big loser, too! She has been down a very similar path. She understands the issues, the unwelcome advice from others, dealing with those who have never been overweight, and being a slower/larger framed runner surrounded by tiny/fast ones. It was delightful to hear what she had to say about things.
While reading my Facebook news updates this morning, I ran across the video below (shared by a friend). It's about a guy named Ben, and he totally changed his life by simply taking one step. Then another. And another. It had me in tears. For someone like me, a big loser who set out to create a healthier life, Ben's story hit home. He is healthier. He is happier. He is stronger. He knows he can do whatever he sets his mind to. One journey spilling over and leading him into another journey. Though our stories are a bit different, I can relate to all of those things. Watching it inspired me to tell you a little bit about myself. I wouldn't be running & authoring a blog about running, had I not lost the weight, started walking regularly, organized a walk club, got a group of motivated ladies together to walk the Flying Pig 10k in Cincinnati, etc. One thing leads to another, and sometimes you have to talk about it so others know where you're coming from. :)
If you have ever experienced any of the feelings I discussed in this topic, I hope you choose to watch the video. It's about 5 minutes long, and worth every second spent watching. It helped me put a few things into perspective today. Perhaps it will do the same for you.