Monday, September 6, 2010

You Can Choose

It all started on July 4, 2001, when my sister and I were waiting for the Elvis impersonator to appear. As we sat in the baseball stands at Murray Park, waiting for that evening's entertainment, I noticed a beautiful thin woman standing near the dugouts.

"I wish I had a body like hers." I thought to myself. At that time, I wore size 26 clothes, and was more than 100 pounds overweight.

Immediately, I heard a voice in my mind say: "You can choose."

I was startled by it. "Really?" I thought. "I can choose?" I had made several serious attempts to lose weight before, and had failed every time. As a result of those experiences, I had no confidence in my ability to do the difficult things that would be required to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

Could I really choose this? I knew I couldn't have a body exactly like hers, but a glimmer of hope started to grow in me that I could make my own body as fit and healthy as possible, given the limitations of my age, my genetics, my busy schedule, and my not-very-strong supply of willpower.

So, even though I wasn't completely convinced that I really did have it within my power to choose this, I started taking actions in the hope that the voice in my head was telling the truth.

Those actions culminated on another July day, 9 years later. That morning I stepped on the scale, like I do every morning, and saw a number that caused me to burst into tears. I had finally reached my weight loss goal. That morning, I weighed 118 pounds less than I had at my highest point.

Now, I'm a size 8, and can even occasionally wear a size 6. I now weigh less than I did during most of my junior high and high school years. (Although, I must admit that I dieted while I was in high school, and once reached this same weight for about 5 seconds back then, before gaining again.) I'm not planning to maintain my weight at the 118 pound loss level--they suggest that you go at least 5 pounds below where you'd like to maintain, which I did. I'm hoping to maintain at 110 pounds lower than my highest point.

Here are a few photos of me when I started, and along the way:

And here's a picture of me now:

I'm not going to win any speed records, but that's okay with me. I enjoyed many benefits along the way: sleeping better, moving easier, having more fun while shopping for clothes, fitting into airplane seats more comfortably, managing my stress better, and being able to have experiences that required some degree of physical fitness. Those benefits came before I reached my goal.

Reaching my goal did have one key benefit. It proved an idea that helped me along the way: the idea that as long as I didn't quit or change direction, eventually I'd arrive at where I was heading.

That voice in my head was right--I actually could choose.

I'll write more about my weight loss journey as I can.


Lori said...

Beautiful inside and were always that girl to me. I am so impressed with all of your achievements. This is just one more reason for me to emulate you. I am 22 lbs. down from my highest weight (after a year of small changes). Hopefully the next year will see me make more changes and continue to lose weight and feel better. I admire you for making the choice. You have inspired me to not give up.

cindyc said...

I love you Lori. Thanks for always writing kind comments on my posts. Congratulations to you for your 22 pound loss; I look forward to hearing about your future success too!

Becca's Blog said...

Cindy, you are such an inspiration! I can't image having the kind of will power that you have. You have so much to be proud of! And like Lori said, you are truly beautiful, inside AND out. :) Amazing! I admire you so much.

kj said...

This was truly touching. It gives me hope for many different aspects of my life. I can choose. Thank you for posting this.

HW said...

I loved this post. I applaud your accomplishment. The message, "You can choose" carries great power. (It was my favorite line from the movie "Minority Report" and I think it's also the theme of The Book of Mormon.) I often find that when I think or pray things that surprise me it is the spirit speaking to my soul.

Retta said...

That's the hard part, believing you CAN lose the weight after so many attempts.

Jill said...

Congratulations! I am on the other side of the challenge. Looking forward to the day...

Paige said...

I really can't believe there's not comment from me here. I return to this post every few months, i like it that much. You're a beautiful example -- "Don't change directions or stop, and eventually you'll get there." I'll tattoo that on the inside of my eyelids someday so that I see it whenever I don't look at the sun. Will I have to tattoo the words backward, though? I have to ponder that just a moment.