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.