(Notice how I cleverly hid the numbers over there on the left... Someday when I'm all finished I'll tell you what my starting weight was, and what my all-time high was. Not today.)
This is my actual progress chart from Livestrong.com. I've lost 35 pounds since I started, officially, but I'm -42 pounds from my all-time high.
I want to shout it from the rooftops. "If I can do it, you can do it!" I've never lost weight before - the best I did, before this, was 10 pounds (on Weight Watchers) that immediately returned. I'm seriously thinking about writing an ebook (because what the world really needs is one more book on how to lose weight, right?) containing all the knowledge I've gained in the past four months - all the things that I wish someone had told me when I was 12 and 14 and first beginning to struggle with my weight.
I feel AMAZING. I feel like I can take on the world. I am strong and confident and losing this weight has improved every aspect of my life. I am a better mother. I am a better wife. I have more energy. There's more of me to give to the rest of the world because I feel so good. I find myself saying "yes" to things that I would have made excuses about before. It feels good to say "yes."
A lot of people have e-mailed or contacted me on Facebook and said that reading about my progress has helped them get motivated. That is 100% why I am writing about this here. If you look at that BIG DAMN NUMBER up there (42!!!!! Three more pounds and I will have lost Mary Grace's body weight!!!) and feel jealous, I want to talk to you directly for a second:
You are beautiful and perfect exactly as you are. I love you, ok? I honestly do. You are so much more than your weight. You have a beautiful heart and a beautiful spirit, and you deserve to feel good and have energy. This is totally not about how you look, or caving to society's ridiculous demands that we all look like coat hangers. It's about feeling good and being healthy.
You deserve to love yourself as much as I love you, as much as your husband/partner/boyfriend/best friend loves you, as much as your kids love you. And you have to love yourself before you can do this. Because it's about a million small choices every day. You have to look at the menu at McDonald's and choose the damn grilled chicken salad with 1/4 of the packet of dressing instead of the Big Mac and fries because you LOVE YOURSELF and you want to be healthy. You have to choose the iced tea with sweetener over the Coke because you LOVE YOURSELF and you want to feel good in the long term more than you want to feel good in the short term. You have to make tiny insignificant choices a million times, and if you do I promise, I promise that the weight will come off.
You have to change your relationship with food. I used to treat myself. I'd say, "I've been so good, I'm going to get myself a coffee..." (Coffee being something with 600 or 800 calories and costing $4 from Starbucks!) and I'd think that doing that was a loving thing to do for myself (not to mention my wallet... Jeez!). Now I think, "I've been really good. I'm going to have an apple!" and I realize that making those healthy choices is the truly loving behavior!
Think about it - you love your kids, and you want them to be healthy, so you make them eat their vegetables! Eating broccoli is a radical act of self-love! Those "treats" we give ourselves - Doritos, chocolate, ice cream - those will kill us as surely as cigarettes! Giving your body those things is NOT loving yourself. Change your relationship with food and you change everything.
You have to choose to exercise during the day when you know you're going out for dinner and you're going to go over your calories for the day. You have to exercise to give yourself a buffer. (A skinny person once said to me, "I exercise so that I can eat whatever I want," and it took me years, literally, to figure out what she meant and how that simple statement applied to me). And then you still have to get the salad and the fish instead of the potato and the steak. But it's worth it. It's so worth it, because you can have a couple bites of dessert and you can realize that a couple of bites are every bit as satisfying as the whole carton of Ben & Jerry's - even more so, actually, because your jeans still zip the next day if you just limit yourself to those few bites.
Even when I get to my target weight, I will never go back to eating the way I used to eat. It makes me feel sick to think about it now. I had Arby's on Saturday night because I'd been craving it and BJ and the kids were gone, and I felt gross even though I stayed within my calories. I felt sick and bloated and weepy and disgusting. I don't want to feel like that! Sure, it tastes good going down, but it doesn't feel good for the next 12 hours. Don't do it! Or if you do, for God's sake, do it once and then don't do it again for at least a month!!
Ok, I have to go get the kdis, but there is your daily inspiration. I promise you, if I can make healthy choices for going-on 4 months, you can do it too. I am a die hard sugaraholic, chocoholic, carbaholic, foodie. I love to eat, I love to cook, and I love food.
The difference is that now, I love myself more.