Two hundred was once an almost mythological number to me. I can remember vowing angrily to the mirror "I will NOT let myself get to 200 pounds!", then stepping on the scale months later to see it register 198. I would hurriedly lose twenty pounds to distance myself from that dreaded number. I always found losing weight was easy for me, I could drop a quick twenty or thirty pounds when I worked at it. But keeping it off was always what eluded me. I was in my late 20's when "200" was something I promised myself I would avoid. But once I hit 200 in my early 30's, I stayed there for quite some time.
My highest weight has been 240ish, and I've been there twice in my life. The first time was in 2002. I was 35, I was already starting to contemplate how much better my life would be without my husband, and realizing how miserable I truly was at that point in my life partially (mostly) because of him. But things were looking up. I had started a new job the year before, and was making more money than I ever thought I would, and I convinced myself I could actually afford to keep my house and live on my own. I made the decision at the start of 2003 that it was going to be the year of all the "big" life changes. I looked deep inside myself and found a new inner strength, and I spent 2003 losing 280 pounds of unwanted fat. 80 pounds of flab from my hips and butt, and 200 pounds of lazy, hateful man from the living room couch. In December of 2003 I weighed 160 pounds, which I hadn't seen in many many years. And I told the now infamous ex to get out of my life, and Christmas morning I whispered in his ear "I want a divorce and I mean it"...
I hate to admit that I didn't stay at 160 for long. It seemed that once the ex got the hint and moved along, all the fight and anger and motivation also drained out of me, and I was exhausted after the emotional battle of the past year. 2004 was instead an anxiety-filled, uncertain year as James and I started dating, and as I waited out my very very long legal-induced one year separation from the ex. For 2004 and 2005, I lived alone for the first time in my entire life. I'd gone from the parents' house to living with the ex in my 20's, and never had given myself the opportunity to be alone, to get to know myself better, to figure out what I wanted in life and where I wanted to go with it all. I was going to be 40 soon, and this was the first time I truly felt like an adult, and a woman.
I waited things out as long as I could, and along the way I did struggle. With my weight, with finances, with my inner visions for the future. The divorce finally rolled around in early 2005 (relief!), and in late 2005 James proposed (ecstasy!). You know the fairy tale from there on....
Over the six years since hitting 160, my weight has only increased with each passing month. I might lose a few pounds here and there, but it only lasts for a week or so. Instead, I made it right back up there to my highest weight. By the end of 2008, I had stopped weighing, but I would guesstimate it to be in the 240's again. When James and I were living apart from October to December, I ate out every single meal, and nothing healthy I assure you. We spent a week on the Outer Banks in October, a week on a Southern Caribbean cruise in November, and had Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays with family. I can't imagine how much weight I gained in those months. Yes, I eat too much when I'm depressed or anxious, but I also overeat when I'm happy and with friends or loved ones.
So here are photos of me at Christmas in 2008, just a few days before we moved here to Georgia. I don't know how much I weighed, maybe 240 or 245?
(I can happily report that I don't have quite as much pudge around my neck these days!)
The reason I am writing this post, is for me. I've been really trying to dedicate myself to losing the weight for the last time. As in, I want to lose it and never find it again! I am trying to live out that cliche, "it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle", the one you see everywhere. Oh, it's a cliche but it's the truth, too. James and I are the only members of our immediate families who are overweight, and I know we are both tired of it. Our parents worry about our health, we worry about each other's health. There is no doubt left in my mind that if I don't lose weight, neither will James, and we both want to live a long, healthy, happy life with one another. It all starts with that first step on the treadmill, that first forkful of fresh veggies, that big glass of water.
This morning that bright red digital number on the scale was 210. I hope to say goodbye to that dreaded number of 200 in just a few short weeks, and I really really really don't want to ever see it on my scale ever again.