Here we go, finally, the climactic ending!
…Where was I, again? Oh yes…
Jules, my old Weight Watchers leader, was staring at me from outside the diner. A huge grin crept across her face and she raced for the door.
“Allison! It is so good to see you!” She remembered my name. We actually went back to before Weight Watchers, when I had worked for a women-only gym and she had been one of my members. When I joined Weight Watchers a while later, she happened to be working when I attended my first meeting, and so her meetings were an obvious choice for me to attend.
“Oh, eh, hi Jules! It’s nice to see you, too,” I stammered. I gestured to my daughter and weakly joked, “I guess you see that there’s a pretty good reason I haven’t been coming to meetings…” I was embarrassed. By this point I was pretty unhappy with the direction my weight had taken, and was starting to experience health problems because of it as well. For Jules, who had seen me at the lowest weight I’d been at that point, to see me like this was hard.
Jules was appropriately enamored of Jade and talked about how much she missed seeing me. She didn’t say a word about my weight, for which I was eternally grateful. She hugged me and told me it was great to see me and she hoped I’d come visit her, just to say hi. And she was off on her merry way.
I went home. My knees ached on the walk home, and I thought about my mom’s two knee replacement surgeries, and my grandmother’s hip replacements. I wheezed, and I thought about my dad’s lifelong asthma and breathing problems. I sweated pushing the stroller, and I thought about the time when I could work out for an hour or more, five days a week, and not bat an eye. And then I thought about my little nine month old daughter, just beginning her own journey in life. How would she see her mom? What would she learn about food, and exercise, and self-respect, and health from me?
It struck me that if I continued this way, I would be teaching Jade all the things I didn’t want her to learn – how to self-medicate by eating with abandon, that exercise was torture to be endured, that physical health didn’t matter. That I didn’t love my own body enough to take care of it. From that moment on, it wasn’t about being a dress size. It wasn’t about being a weight. It was about becoming a living example.
The weight loss was me saying to my body, “You are worthy. You deserve to be properly tended.”
You deserve to be loved.
So back I went to Weight Watchers. And I started moving more, fitting in the exercise here and there, only doing things I enjoyed. I took my vitamins, drank my water. And then, funnily, I started thinking about my mental health. I started asking Mike to watch Jade more on the weekends, so I could have more time to myself. I got out and saw more friends. I started going back to church. I knitted more, read more books, watched the news. And it took me until this winter, but I finally admitted that I needed medication to be emotionally sound.
The place I’m at now is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced as an adult. I’m proud of myself. I feel good. I make good choices most of the time, and when I don’t, I forgive myself and move on.
I like to think that the weight I dropped was really emotional baggage. I’ll say it again: losing weight did not fix me. It worked more like this – fixing me caused me to lose weight. Even if I never dropped a single pound, I would look at myself and the way I behave now, and feel that I was a success.