A Picture is Worth a Thousand Motivational Posters

So yesterday on Facebook, an old friend of mine from back in my bartending days at the karaoke bar sent me a folder of pics from my going-away-to-Korea party back in 2009.  Her intention was just to be reminiscent.  Sure, it was lovely to see pics of that crazy fun night with all my old bar buddies.  However, it served more as a solid reminder as to why I decided to (6 years later…) make such a drastic change in my lifestyle.

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Remember when I said I was 240 at my heaviest?  Well, looking at this picture, I may have been a bit higher than that number.  I wouldn’t have really known, because at this point in my life, I pretty much refused to weigh myself, or when I would be at the doctor, I’d divert my eyes so I wouldn’t see what my weight was when they had me step on the scale.

This post isn’t going to be about how disappointed in myself I was or how I tried to “dress up” that disappointment with trying to be all cool, funny, and punk rock.  This post instead will focus on the importance of having that visual reminder as to why we started our lifestyle changes in the first place.

I just read some random blurb on the Facebooks this morning that mentioned how out of the roughly 50% of people that “diet”, only 5% of them actually keep the weight off.  Now, this could have been more fake news that seems to be running rampant these days, but it seems highly probable.  Often times we “diet” and then gain everything back or even more.  Me?  Before my 2015 mindset change (I guess we can call it that now), I had tried many diets, but honestly didn’t stick to any of them for longer than a month.  For some reason, I guess I just didn’t feel it was that important.  I wanted to prove to everyone that I was comfortable in my own body.  Honestly?  I was making excuses and just fooling myself.  The weight I was at was not healthy.  It wasn’t healthy for me physically or emotionally.  I used to pretend that I was fine with my weight, that I was comfortable in my own skin.  But I was scared.  I was scared that I would be alone for the rest of my life, because let’s face it, the suitors weren’t breaking down my door.  This tanked my self-esteem, and I relied on being the funny fat friend as I saw all my other friends partner up, go on dates, find love…  Yes, it sucks that society judges fat people differently.  No, fat shaming is NEVER ok.  Yet for me, remaining obese and depressed didn’t “show them anything”.  I wasn’t taking a stand by crying myself to sleep after the umpteenth guy I had a crush on started dating one of my friends.  Me being as fat as I was wasn’t helping anybody, especially me.

And let’s not forget the fact that my weight was having huge impacts on my health!  At that weight, I had no regular exercise routine.  I ate crappy bar food.  I drank a lot of beer and Tuaca (oh I do miss a shot of chilled Tuaca).  I smoked.  I didn’t really ever go to the doctor at this time, but if I had, I’m sure they would’ve lectured me on my bad habits.  As a result of all those bad habits, I struggled to go shopping for clothes, having to rely mostly on what plus-size stuff I could find at Old Navy, I probably would have keeled over if I tried to run a mile, and I even got chest pains back in 2012-ish a few times.  If I remained at the weight I was in the above picture, no doubt about it, I would most likely die before the age of 60.  And the years leading up to 60 would most likely be riddled with insulin shots, diabetic test strips, emphysema, or worse, maybe even heart disease or cancer.

So having reviewed all the effects, both emotional and physical, being 240+ had caused (or would have caused) me, WHY THE HELL DID I NOT START GETTING HEALTHY EARLIER???!!!  Well, I can’t fix the past, but what I CAN fix is how I live my life from now on.  I’ll still occasionally have some drinks, but it’s usually once or twice a month and rarely to excess.  I’ll still have my “cheat meal”.  Yet, I will always rein it back in when I find myself slipping.  I refuse…REFUSE to go back to the way I was.  I want to grow old with my husband.  I want to have kids and be a role model for them.  I want to feel good about myself.  For the first time in my life, I feel proud of body.  I’ll even show folks my biceps!  If I ever start slipping or start to doubt the work I’ve done (and I totally have!) I will just keep this picture in my mind and on this blog so I can always look back and see how far I’ve come.  I invite everyone who is struggling to keep on a healthy path to do the same.  Find that picture of yourself at your heaviest and vow to never go back there again.  The only way to go is forward.

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