Friday, January 1, 2010

It Was a Very Good Year

While yesterday was officially the day to reflect on the year gone by, I'm going to spend a few minutes today making up for lost time because last year was epochal. Truly, truly mind-boggling and life-changing. I still don't know what happened, how it happened, and I lived through every moment of it. For better or for worse, the momentous part of the year was during the "silent period" of this blog, from June through December.

I lost weight. Lots of weight -- 50+ pounds. I quit overeating, got active, and I kept doing it day after day after day until 7 months had gone by. I'm now only 20 pounds heavier than I was when I got married, and I do look just fine. No one would mistake me for a model, but no one would call me overweight anymore either (even though technically I am still 10 pounds heavy). I can shop in the missus department rather than women's, wear a size Large top, and my size 12 jeans are loose. I can cross my legs again, hip and collar bones are making a guarded reappearance, and happily, my jaw bone is now distinct from my neck.

What happened that suddenly all the pieces of my desire to lose weight fit together with my knowledge of how to lose weight, and I was able to hold it all together, where for decades I've struggled with this? What happened? Even when I was skinny, I was an overeater. I ate to quell unruly emotions, and my emotions were always unruly, regular juvenile delinquents. Even when I was thin I remember looking at a pan of brownies and having the personal epiphany that I didn't want a brownie; I wanted the entire pan of brownies. Still today, I never want a stick of licorice; if I can't have the whole bag, there's no reason to bother at all.

What happened, when for decades -- I kid you not, decades -- I woke up every morning with new resolve that that day would be the day, that day I would eat only what I needed, I would eat less and eat right and move more? Usually my resolve dissolved at breakfast.

I hated myself for it. I was filled with shame at the way I looked, at what I had to wear to disguise rolls of chub. I hated that I was bigger than most of our male friends. I gave up jet-skiing in humiliation partly because even the life vests that the guys wore were too tight on me. And I never looked in a full length mirror or glanced at my reflection in a window.

So what happened that suddenly it all worked? I can't put my finger on it. I just don't know. I guess in the end it's not important, but the mystery of it is intriguing.

One factor was that T got me a personal heart monitor as a Christmas gift in 2008. How weird was that? I like gadgets so I had fun with it over the next week, drove everyone crazy making my heartbeat beep out loud. But I was 70+ pounds overweight, hadn't come anywhere near a sweat from exercise in a long, long time and didn't have any plans to.

His plan though was that we shell out a chunk of dough to have some kind of fitness test done with a personal trainer he'd met. We did that in February, and she put together an exercise program for us that involved tracking heartrate. Somehow it was supposed to maximize weight loss. Cool.

So I did that pretty faithfully for a month or two but didn't lose any weight because I was still eating like a sumo wrestler.

Then one day, May 31 probably, T went grocery shopping for us. No list, of course. He just wandered through the store and threw stuff into the cart, which is way more his style. But what he brought home on this day aroused panic in me. Vegetables. More vegetables than could fit in our refrigerator. More vegetables than all the American troops in Iraq could eat in a week.

But c'mon. He had done the grocery shopping and now I didn't have to! I had to be careful of how I responded lest I deter this favorable behavior in the future. So with no forethought at all, just an unstudied determination to be positive, I said, "Y'know, T, if we were doing Weight Watchers, this is what our refrigerator would look like." And somehow that casual comment triggered an avalanche of events and commitments that changed our lives.

On June 1 we joined Weight Watchers online, I gave up Diet Coke (which will always occupy a special place in my heart's better this way), and we eventually began exercising.

The rest is history. The mystery of history...why were we able to hang tough this time? Not sure, but boy it feels good. This year, for the first time since I can remember, my New Year's Resolution has less to do with weight loss and more to do with fitness goals. I'd like to be able to enjoy a 3 mile run by the end of this year. That's one resolution. If I can work toward that, I think maintaining the weight loss and losing a tad bit more should take care of itself.

Okay, I've got more to say about New Year's Resolutions but I've been sitting here in front of the computer long enough for today. I'll end by saying, yes, indeed, it was a very good year.

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