|Kindly forgive the cruddy pictures - these are all digital pics of actual photos|
When I look at this picture, I see a woman who is pretending to be brave, pretending to be fabulous. I'm also sucking in everything I can for the camera, and glad that L's hand is covering my stomach.
How did I get to that place?
I was always skinny as a child, more curvy (boobs!) as a teen, but when I hit my 20s, I started gaining weight. I kind of lost myself, who I was, in my previous relationship, and ate and drank my way through that. I made it out the other side okay, slightly more confident. I lost weight for the first time during this period in my 20s - I had to measure myself for a bridesmaid's dress and seeing the numbers gave me a reality check. I switched to the diet version of everything, cut back on the beer, and did a Kathy Smith workout VHS tape 2 days a week.
|OMG, that brings back memories!|
So I did. And I met this guy, one of the best things that ever happened to me. L helped me find the confidence in myself to quit working retail, go back to school and get my degree, and to find 9 to 5 work.
This is 4 years later, around 2001. I've graduated from university (2000), and although I'm all smiley, I'm going into a very low period here. I wasn't happy in my job, I didn't like who I was.
|The body language is a dead giveaway|
My friend Tammy and I went to Vegas in 2001. Note that I've always had a flair for drama, and I've always loved to dress up.
Now, when I look at these pictures, and I don't see an ugly woman. I see an unhappy woman, but she still has beauty.
|I like my hair at this length, too|
L and I went out every Friday night for many years, to our old pub, Swans. I always dressed up.
But I never did anything about my weight. And I kept gaining.
We went to New York in 2002. This picture was hard for me to look at. There aren't many pictures of me after 2002 - I didn't like having my picture taken.
Although there are very few pictures of me from 2002 to 2006, by the time this party below happened, I was starting to take control of my life again. I went through several job changes (mostly bad), and then found a good one that I stayed at for 5.5 years. I also started writing poetry again after many, many years, which helped me delve into myself. Writing poetry is like opening a raw wound for me - although it is cathartic, I just can't go there now. I wrote a lot over a two-three year period, and sorted out a lot of sh*t in my head.
Yes, L, here's to you for believing in me all along. I put that man through hell with me for many years.
But I knew I was unhealthy. My dad died of a heart attack when he was 55, and my doctor had warned me that I was going down that same path. In the summer of 2006, when I was nearly 39, I joined my work's WW meeting* with the goal of doing a marathon in my dad's honour before I turned 40. My dad was an ultra-marathoner when he died - he also used to be heavy, and he lost a lot of weight through running.
I was focused on my goal of doing the marathon, but I also LOVE pretty clothes, and I wanted to fit in the sample sizes (mostly 8s) at Dots. I was motivated and I lost steadily. I had L take these series of pictures over the course of the 9 months that it took me to lose the weight.
I was so excited about losing weight, that I bought this dress months earlier, hoping I would shrink into it by Christmas. At this point, I've lost about 25 pounds.
I had done an interim clothing shop when I was at 25 pounds gone. These clothes were getting loose on me too. This is early 2007 and I'm down 35-40 pounds.
here, 2nd outfit, in July 2016) that I bought in San Francisco, where we went for my 39th birthday.
And here I am at my goal weight: 138 lbs, down 50 pounds, from 188 lbs. Looks like me now, doesn't it?
|I pose better now!|
And yes, I did the marathon! I race-walked it 3 days before I turned 40. It was proof to myself that I could do it, and I could do it for ME. It was hugely satisfying (and I've no desire to do it again).
It's been 10 years since I lost my fifty pounds. It's been a struggle sometimes to keep it off, but I've done it, I keep doing it, and I'm proud of myself. I take care of myself and put myself first. I look after my mental health and my physical health. I've learned a lot about myself, and I'm still learning. Aren't we all?
I saved only piece of clothing from when I was at my heaviest - my jeans. This week, I took them to work and showed my coworkers my "fridge picture". Many of them didn't recognize me in the picture, and were agog that the jeans had ever fit me.
|Those are size 16.|
I'm worthy of this. I deserve this.
link, go listen, it's a rockin' song):
"I love myself today, not like yesterday. I'm cool, I'm calm, I'm gonna be okay."
*Full disclosure: I lost my weight and have kept it off through Weight Watchers, and I have now been a leader employed by them for over 6 years. Weight Watchers bears no responsibility for anything I say, and I don't ever talk about the company on this blog except in passing, as in "at my WW meeting tonight", etc.