It’s true …being fat is hard. The hardest part is saying “fat”. So many euphemisms we use, but the truth is its fat we store inappropriately on our bodies and its fat we have to get rid of. Weight is a battle I have been fighting for most of my adult life. I’ve gotten to the high ground a few times, but always slid back down that treacherous slope covered in chocolate, rich food and laziness. Every weight loss tips article I read, every television show I watch and every person I speak to about successful weight loss all say the same thing. They say it in a variety of ways but it all boils down to the same thing … Keep a food diary. You must journal what you eat. It helps you see where you went off track and helps you avoid the same pitfalls in the future.
I have a personal problem with keeping a food journal. I lie! I do not want to write down everything I eat because it looks horrible to see it all written down on paper. And … OMG … what if I accidentally leave it lying around somewhere and someone else happens to see what I’ve eaten that day, or that week? I would be mortified. I know that is the precise purpose of it, but I simply cannot do it. Besides, I also know where I went wrong. I started to slip up about the time I had the first bite of the chocolate doughnut that I should never have bought in the first place. Chocolate could become a recurring theme here because it is most definitely my downfall … my food addiction.
So, because I HATE keeping a food journal but I do like playing around with putting words on paper I have decided to keep an information journal. Hopefully writing things down will help. Even if no one but me ever reads it, putting it “out there” might be the push I need to get “back on track” and finally make it this time. If nothing else, it’s difficult to type on a keyboard and place food into my mouth at the same time. That alone could save me hundreds of calories in a given day.
Now that I have made my mission statement let me tell you a little bit about myself …
I have just turned 54 years old. I am mother to two amazing young women, have a close group of people in my life who love me and am secure enough to realize that the number on the scale does not reflect my self worth. Secure in my mind that is … in my heart … I desperately need that number to be lower. I work full time. I am addicted to food, cigarettes and books. I fully understand that two of my addictions are life threatening, but this is a case of picking my battles and right now weight is my priority. I can only handle one fight at a time. I belong to a weight loss group called TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) but more on that later.
That’s me in a nutshell. If you happen to follow along on my journey you will no doubt find out more about me, but for right now that’s probably enough.
Oh … I guess to make some sort of sense out of why I am writing this … I currently tip the scales at mumble, grumble, and mumble pounds. And WOW, that was hard to write down. You see no one besides me and my weight recorder know that. So please, don’t share the information, okay? I know that’s a cop-out and maybe someday I’ll share, but right now – no can do!
Now, back to TOPS. This would be a good time to put a disclaimer in here. This blog has nothing to do with TOPS officially. I mention it only because it has been a huge help to me personally as it has been for many other people around the world. It is a non-profit weight loss organization that stresses healthy eating, smart choices, portion-control and education about real food. It does not promote any particular weight loss program, sells no food products, vitamins or supplements. I am currently a group leader so quite obviously (or I would not be writing this blog) consists of real people helping each other on their journey. I will only be referring to TOPS in the context of a group I belong to, and possibly might pull some information occasionally from their website or the free magazine I receive with my membership fee. If you would like more information you can visit www.TOPS.org
Now, back to TOPS. When I first walked through the doors of my first meeting on a Wednesday afternoon so many years ago I stepped on the scale for my first weigh-in and promptly started to cry. I had not weighed myself for a long time and found I tipped the scales at 275 pounds. That was a shock. I was very good at kidding myself. I think most of us are. I was a stay at home mom so wasn’t shopping much for clothes. I lived in sweat pants and oversized tee shirts and sweaters. My life revolved around my kids and their activities. When one of the moms on my daughter’s T-ball team talked about TOPS I stored the information away but did nothing about it right away. I couldn’t afford a weight-loss program, I didn’t have time to go to meetings in the evening and I REALLY did not want to step on a scale. Oh yes - I had all the excuses. It's scarey admitting you have a problem and even more frightening to make the decision to do something about it. When I finally got up the courage to walk through the door I found a supportive group of people and, whew, I never had to state my weight or share my weaknesses. This whole group was about positive support.
I did well in that group losing close to 75 pounds. By the time the weight had come off my youngest daughter was in school full time, my life circumstances had changed and I found myself needing to go back to work full time. So, Wednesday afternoon meetings no longer fit into my schedule. I, very regretfully, left the group. If you have ever been out of the work force for a long time and then jumped back in full time you know that it takes some adjustment. Tasks that were completed during the day now had to be completed in the evenings … it was a huge time adjustment for me. I did not look for an evening TOPS group to join again right away.
Guess what happened.
Yup. That weight started creeping back on again. I needed the accountability of weighing in every week. I fell right back into the old habits and let’s face it … if you are not accountable it really doesn’t matter if you eat that extra piece of chocolate cake. Well, too many pieces of chocolate cake add up pretty quickly. It took me three years to walk back into a TOPS meeting, but I finally took a deep breath and did it. The scale was not quite as traumatic as the first time, but I had managed to gain back a substantial amount of the weight I had lost. Once again I started being responsible for what passed my lips and I dropped almost all the weight I had gained.
Once again life happened and I could not stay in that group any longer either. I had to deal with my father facing dementia and eventually full blown Alzheimer’s. I still had two daughter’s who needed me and still worked. My hours had been cut at my full time job and my financial obligations depended on a certain level of income, so I took a second job. You would think with all that going on I would not have time to overeat. Not so. Not so at all. It’s not that I overate … I ate on the run – in the car going from one workplace to the next, in the car or at sports venues when my daughters were playing rep sports, and in the car driving to see to my father. You get the idea. You may even identify with the circumstances. Needless to say, not a lot of wise choices were made in the food department. Funnily enough, I always insisted my girls eat properly. I just did not take my own advice.
Then many roads merged. My father passed away, my full time hours at my first job were reinstated and my girls became a little less dependent on me for transportation.
It was time to look after myself again. Once again I rejoined TOPS. This time I would make it stick and for awhile it did. As I said at the beginning of this, losing weight it a slippery slope and last year, despite staying with my group (and being group leader no less) I started to backslide. I have not yet been able to get my head in the game again.
And that’s where this blog comes in. I’m hoping it will keep me focused.
A burning question would be “why right now?” It’s a month to Christmas. Crazy! Setting myself up for failure? Not the prime time to choose to start a diet. True enough. But keeping everything totally honest here, let’s face it … when your underwear starts to feel too tight … it’s time! When you have more clothes that do not fit, than clothes that do … it’s time! When you stop looking at yourself in a mirror … it’s time! I won’t go on because I’m sure you get the picture.
I do have a plan … some fun things and mind games to keep me on track this time. Will I slip up? No doubt! But I won’t beat myself up over it … I will get back on course and this time … I know I’ll get to my goal.
Join me, won’t you? It’ll be fun!?!?!