Towards the end of 2015, I started to become very dissatisfied with my body and my weight. Physically, life was miserable. I couldn’t walk more than a block without needing to stop and take a break. By the time I could get the block from my car to my desk at work, I was winded, sweaty, and huffing and puffing.
I hadn’t worn shoes with laces in several years because I couldn’t bend over to tie them anymore. I was forced to choose slip-on shoes because that’s all I could get on my feet. My back hurt constantly. My ankles screamed in pain. My feet ached. I couldn’t stand for more than a few minutes without my knees, ankles, and feet feeling like they would explode. My legs were swollen all the time and itched, like crazy, from the pressure. The swelling in my ankles was out of control! At the end of the day, I had DEEEEEP divots in my ankles where my socks had been.
For the previous two years, I had gone to bed every night afraid I wouldn’t wake up. Afraid my daughter would find me dead in my bed in the morning. I was terrified how that would impact her. Some days, I felt so miserable, I wondered if it was worth it.
Like many years in the past, I started thinking ‘new year, new change, new body.’ I’d had this conversation with myself countless times. So many times, I’d done the ‘if I just put in a little bit of effort, I could lose a significant amount of weight by this time next year.’ talk. Those feelings and thoughts usually dissipated by the next day. On the rare occasions they hadn’t, any changes I had vowed I would make, were usually a foregone thought by Day 3.
This year-end mantra of ‘New year, New me’ felt like all the years’ past: think about it for a bit, then let it go.
As December progressed, Jordan (my son) asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Jokingly, I said I wanted a Nutra Ninja. During my ‘New year, New me’ phase in the weeks before, I had thought maybe I could make a change by having a smoothie for breakfast and had been researching Nutra Ninjas – which are not cheap! When I threw that idea out there, I never imagined he would get me one.
Lo and behold, Christmas came and I was unwrapping a Nutra Ninja! WHAT?! He really got it?! Seriously?! Is this for real?!
Guess who now felt obligated to use it? THIS GIRL! You don’t ask for a $100+ blender and then not use it! That’s just not cool! So, I used it. I looked up recipes and bought frozen fruit. I had a terrible – TERRRRRIBLE – habit of not eating breakfast for as long as I can remember. Actually, I rarely ate during the day, period. My routine was coffee in the morning, don’t eat during the day (it happened occasionally, but not often), and then eat my way through the afternoon/evening while watching TV. Day-in, day-out.
Now that I had a Nutra Ninja, I was going to at least have some sense of breakfast. And the smoothies began. It became a smoothie for breakfast, don’t eat until the afternoon/evening and then scarf down as much as I could. After a few weeks of this, I realized I felt better in the mornings than I had in the past so maybe – just maybe – I should try eating something else in the mornings with my smoothies.
Over the course of January 2016, I started gradually spreading my food out throughout the day a little, rather than doing the afternoon/evening pig out. I was surprised how much better I felt! I wasn’t starving to death – okay, not literally, of course – by the time I got off work. Throughout January, I continued to add a little more during the day and a little less in the evenings.
By February, I was starting to eat more throughout the day and less in concentration in the evenings. I still didn’t care what I was eating. It wasn’t long before I realized that I was kind of doing the ‘New year, New me’ thing. Like, really? I was wayyy past Day 3, shouldn't I have stopped by now? Maybe I should start actually caring what I ate. Would it matter? Maybe.
So, Little Miss Type A personality decided to do some research. What is good to eat? What’s healthy? I knew my current diet wasn’t healthy. Eating out A LOT! Pizza. Pasta. Rice. Fast food. Whatever was easy and required minimal effort. I mean, I had a salad and vegetables occasionally, but that certainly didn't constitute 'healthy' by any stretch.
And so I hit Google and Pinterest. ‘Healthy food’ So many results!
I also remembered that I had signed up for a website called Spark People several years before during a failed former ‘New me’ phase. I wonder what that’s got to offer. Maybe it can help. Logged in. Okay, food tracking, calorie counting, message boards – no thanks. I don’t need food tracking and calorie counting. Who has time for that?! I can ‘just eat good’ and the problem will take care of itself. Like magic. Weight will miraculously fall off and everything will be rainbows and butterflies. Problem solved.
Throughout February, I made much better food choices. I cut back on fast food. I tried eating lunch more often. I was starting to feel some difference. I was still pretty deep in denial, though. I hadn’t weighed myself in YEARS and had convinced myself it didn’t matter. Just keep eating a little better – magic will come. Eventually.
By the end of February, I had been making small changes here and there for a couple of months. Maybe I was doing it for real this time? I mean, it’d been more than three days so…
On February 29th, sitting at Olive Garden with Tiffany (my daughter) – scarfing down some pasta and breadsticks (healthy, right?!) – I decided it was time to either get serious or quit lying to myself. Eating a few good meals a week wasn’t going to change my life. Being in denial about my weight wasn’t going to make it magically disappear. I had to face it. If I was really going to do it this time, I had to get serious. I had to quit being full of shit. I needed to weigh myself and know where I was starting and be able to have some measurable means of progress.
I committed to weighing myself in the morning, NO MATTER WHAT! Just face it head on, dammit and quit playing these stupid games. Either fully engage or quit. You know the old expression, “Shit or get off the pot”? It was time.
The next morning, I stood there and looked at the scale. I could barely even bend over and pull it out of the closet. No more bullshit excuses. Do it. So I did. I held my breath. The number came up. I felt my stomach drop to the floor. There was the reality I had hidden from for so many years – in black and white. In one inch numbers on a little screen -- 434. I swore in that moment that I would NEVER see that number again.
That day, I opened my Spark People app and started logging food and really watching my calories.
The new me officially began. Even for one day. And I decided that I would keep working on ‘New me’ for ‘just one more day’ for as many days as I had to.