Here I am and like so many cliches of beginning a new year, I am creating a blog site to chronicle my weight loss journey. Somewhere along the way of adulthood, marriage, step-children, and two beautiful children of my own, I lost myself. Buried underneath all that I held dear and close to my heart, I immersed my identity into that of wife, step-mom, mom, chauffer, cook, maid, etc. But I loved it and I still do! The only thing I truly wanted to be in life was a stay at home mom and God made a way for that to happen. But, with the good comes the bad and that is where I found myself.
Healthy eating was never at the forefront of our dinner table growing up. I come from a long line of amazing southern cooks and that was evident in the size of my relatives. Forget being big-boned, the women on my mother’s side of the family were big hipped. I never thought about it as a child seeing the robust, rounded women at family reunions. I was a skinny kid who loved playing outdoors and was always running around playing or on my bike. I loved them no matter what and saw it as a sign that they were excellent cooks. My Mom in her own right excelled in the kitchen and the aroma from her cooking drew you in like a bear to honey. And, she could do it all. From cooking pot roast with homemade biscuits, cabbage to die for and followed by a cake or cookies. The woman made a hobby of collecting cookbooks and recipes found in magazines, newspapers and the back of food packages. We hardly ever ate out and even when we did the food paled in comparison to my Mom’s cooking.
I was pudgy off and on as I reached my teens but always managed to work it off. I entered college and after a year, changed my classes from Fashion Design to Criminal Justice. I know, quite a change, but most of my friends were police officers and I now aspired to be a police woman. There was still a stigma attached to hiring women as patrol officers and I wanted to be a part of a movement that changed all that. A few of my classes were physically challenging and it was on a training obstacle course that I realized how weak my body truly was even though I was at a healthy body weight. Since I was a teen in the 80’s, I jumped aboard the “exercise craze” train and joined a local gym. I could barely get through the 10 minute assessment on the stationary bike but thought how fun the atmosphere was so I continued to go. I started out almost dying after 1 hour of aerobics but after a couple of months, I was doing two clasess back to back. Then I discovered weight lifting or as they called it “free weights”.
Lifting weights allowed me time to concentrate and really feel like I had accomplished something because I could see results faster. Plus, I liked the freedom of doing my own routine. It was at one point that I decided to become a professional bodybuilder. I lived at that gym but I was 19, single, and had a job that allowed me freedom to do so. That all changed when a health issue came upon me and I was out of the gym for about a month. I became depressed and literally had no desire to go back. I also met my future husband during this time and he didn’t want me involved in police work because of the danger aspect. I went on to marry my husband but never completed my college degree nor went back to the gym. I also never became a police woman but like I said earlier, became a stay at home mom and that has been my lot in life so far. The irony of it all is my husband, Jeff, was a professional bodybuilder who had competed in several competitions. Perhaps not Mr. Universe alongside Arnold Schwarzeneggar but he did win a few. He gave all that up when he re-dedicated his life to Jesus and actually became a member of a Christian ministry that used feats of strength as a ministry tool to reach the younger crowds.
Being a part of a ministry, you not only work out reading the Bible but also to do feats of strength you obviously need to work out your body as well. Since I became pregnant shortly after Jeff and I married, I couldn’t work out with him until the baby was born. Once she was, I really had no time because I was so tired. I had two step-children, a full-time job and a newborn. There was no help, just me. I did it all from working at 7am, picking up the kids from the after school sitter, coming home, cooking, cleaning, and tending to the baby. Where was the time to work out? Plus I had gained almost 80 pounds during the pregnancy so I felt tired from the extra weight. I hated myself but trudged along determined it wouldn’t last forever. As the baby became older and there was a more settled routine, I started going with Jeff to work out. By this time, it was the early 90’s, I had been laid off and had a little bit extra time. It didn’t last for long. We moved and even though we were closer to family, it never worked out that anyone would or could keep the baby so I could have a few moments to myself. Thank God for four hour naps. She slept so soundly but instead of having “me” time, I used that time for cleaning or preparing dinner. Five years passed and we had our second baby. Unlike his sister, he did not like four hour naps and would only sleep if I laid down with him. Most of the time, I ended up sleeping alongside him because I was so tired.
I must also mention that from the start of my marriage, I became an instant mom. I had never been around children because I was always the youngest of the crowd. It was quite an awakening. I had to throw myself into that role learning from my mistakes and realizing that I had also inherited my mother’s affinity for cooking and received the gift of being a great cook. There isn’t much money to eat out when you are a newlywed with two older children so I learned quickly how to whip up a meal. But, cheap, quick meals are not always the healthiest and it wasn’t until I had my babies did I realize that.
Life happens and we are all dealt different cards. Sometimes it is hard and the decisions we make can affect us years down the road. That is where I am at now. The step-kids have gone on with their lives as well as my first child. My youngest will graduate soon and my identity will change once again. I will still be Mom but they don’t need me on the same scale as before. I suppose it is at this juncture in life that I am now having reflections on the decisions I have made – both good and bad. I never lost the weight gain from my first pregnancy and even though I only gained 15 with my second one, it never left my body. In fact, it continued to blossom and I am now 200 pounds overweight. Not good – not good at all. It makes me sad that I’ve let it go this far. It is also depressing.
I have to find myself once again, to discover who I need to be and who I can be. That is the reason to start my blog. Tonight I watched the video of Dallas Paige, a man who lost 300 pounds when it all seemed hopeless. This has motivated me beyond measure and I now realize that even though I have been a member of Weight Watchers off and on for almost 10 years without reaching my goals, I am determined that this is my time. For me and nobody else, I must become a healthier person for me.
Please join me on my journey…….