Adventures in Ebony’s journey to ONEderland: Year 1: Letter to “Before” Ebony

100PoundDifference

 

Dear Ebony,

               
You may recognize me but it’ll be hard to believe it. But I’m you, a year and 106 pounds from now to tell you what to expect over the first year of your weight loss journey. Right now you’re sitting in your Weight Watchers, looking at your weight for the first time in the better part of two years. When you were going to the gym and starting to make improvements, but you stopped. That’s ok. You weren’t really ready then, at least not fully. You didn’t know how to integrate a healthier lifestyle into your life slowly so it wouldn’t feel so drastic. Plus, you were telling yourself it wasn’t quite so bad, when it really was. In fact, it was a little worse. You deleted pictures of yourself on your parents digital camera taking up half a couch when you held your niece because you were trying to deny it. You almost didn’t spend Memorial Day Weekend with your family because you don’t want people to see you and comment on how much you have gained. You don’t go get your hair done as often because it hurts to sit in the salon chair and you broke the shampoo chair the last time. You buy makeup and shoes because you can’t afford clothes anymore, and don’t want to know what size you really are since the 28 are gasping for dear life. All this was on your mind as you stepped on the scale that Saturday morning in June, hoping to not be 400 pounds. In your mind, as long as the scale was under that number, if it wasn’t that, you’d be ok. And then you saw the number…410.8. Ten pounds over 400 lbs, 60 pounds over 350 (which explained why you never went to the Dr’s offices for check ups (those scales tap out at 350), why it hurt to stand for long periods of time, why you struggled to breathe. You were the size of a bear, a male lion, a baby cow, 40 pounds more than 2 6 feet tall men. You’ve seen it, in black and white, you sit there, stunned, wondering how did you let it come to this? How did it get so bad? You shed tears, and for a moment, contemplate walking out the door and giving up, but you remember the story of a WW Member who lost 300 pounds, so you think to yourself, if she can do it, so can I. So you stay. Because of that decision, let me tell you what is going to happen to you over the next 365 days.

  1. Your stay in the FOURest is brief, and you’ll never be there again: 3 weeks into WW and working out you drop 11 pounds, getting you out of the 400’s forever. But you decided that day that was the last time you would ever see that number
  2. Being over 350 pounds won’t last that long either. You’ll be under that by Christmas
  3. Take the before picture at your first meeting, and more progress photos: There’s 1 that we use, but it’s not an official 1, and sometimes you’ll need them to know how far you’ve come when you think you’re not making much progress
  4. You’re still going to get to eat what you like…sort of: Yep. Pizza, Hot Wings, Your Mama’s rice and gravy, Mexican, even Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner, but there is a bit of a caveat. You eat less of it then you once did, and sometimes it doesn’t taste as good as it used. This is because you’re getting healthier, and like a car runs better when it has tune ups, oil changes and good food in it, you run better because you are eating healthier things. On the flip side, junk food now tastes just like that. Not as satisfying, and just blah. The good news is, for your favorite dishes, you’ve found ways to cook them and make them more conducive to WW and give you all the flavor for a lot fewer points.
  5. Your family gets you back: Your parents see their intelligent, beautiful daughter come back before their very eyes. Your nieces love running and playing with you (you know you’re their favorite aunt, right?) Your family loves you, but they were scared you were going to die (and sweetheart, let’s face it, we were). Now they know it won’t be obesity related.
  6. You really love working out, it just took the right classes and the right people: You know how we hear ad nauseum in education the importance of relationship building with students to ensure academic success and achievement? You see it all the time in your classroom. Your students respond to you because they know you care and have their best interest at heart. Well, it works the same way in health. When you go back to the gym this time there’s a great Water Aerobics instructor there who makes the class fun and gives you a hell of a workout everytime you go. You bond with the classmates over a few months and they notice the results and changes and congratulate you on them, and they miss you and ask about you when you aren’t in class. All the while you do your thing in the pool, you notice that Zumba classes are being offered two nights a week. You really wanna go (you’re a Spanish teacher after all, so you LOVE Salsa and Latin Music) but you’re scared you won’t be able to keep up, your knees won’t hold out, you’ll trip and bust your gradually shrinking ass and never be able to show your face. So weeks go by, months go by. Finally, you work up the nerve to ask the instructor-tall, fit beautiful with a great personality- how hard the class is. She says just come in and have fun, don’t worry about what you can’t do. So that’s what you did. Fast forward 6 months, you’ve made a new set of friends, found a growing passion for health, helped choreograph a routine, all while “exercising”. Some people have a passion for running, some people cycle, some do pilates and yoga, Zumba is yours. NOT ONLY THAT, you found out that those other classes aren’t so bad either. In fact, you’re gonna do things that never thought you could physically, but I don’t wanna give away too many spoilers.  
  7. You’re building a testimony: Your faith has been your cornerstone for the bulk of your life. You have seen God work in your life on a grand scale, and in the still small voice. You know the importance of good stewardship in your finances, your relationships, and in the workplace. But, you never quite made the connection with your health. I don’t know if you kinda figured like Celie “This life be over soon. Heaven last always” and when you know there’s a glorified one waiting on the other side, maintenance on the temporary one can fall by the wayside.  Plus, to be totally honest, you were scared you couldn’t do it. You’ve lost and gained and lost and gained and lost and gained again. But this time, you ask (and still ask) for grace for the moment, and for God to show you good stewardship over your health. When you’re healthy in body, you’ll be Healthy in Spirit. You can live the life God wants you to live (abundant life isn’t about having coins in the bank) in fullness because you’re gonna be around longer. Not to mention that there are people who are watching you, who see the progress you will make. There will be women in the gym close to your size who you can tell, “I’ve been where you are, just keep going. It won’t always be easy, but you can do it”. You’re inspiring your co workers, who will see the changes over the course of the school year and come up to you and tell you “I am so proud of you” “Keep up the good work”. But remember that while it’s for your good, it’s for God’s glory.
  8. You’re biggest support system will come from the most unexpected places: You have friends at work who will encourage you, and tell you that you’re an inspiration to them, even people who are in shape, who are healthy, who weigh far less than you,  so to hear them say you inspire them is a lot to take in. But let it be a catalyst for you, because while they cheer your losses, they’ll also give you pick me ups when the scale isn’t always kind. They are your “weight loss family”, which also includes your gym family.
  9. What goes down, must come up: There are gonna be weeks where you kick ass and take names, dropping 5, 7, even 8 pounds in 1 week, then you’ll have weeks where you average 1 or 2, maybe even 3. But, there will be moments, when the scale stays the same, only goes down an ounce, and even goes up. This will suck and never gets easier each time, but it’s par for the course in this journey. Your body gets bored, you retain fluid from muscle building, you don’t quite the follow the program as you should, and then…you hit plateaus. Don’t freakout when this happens. This journey is a marathon, not a sprint, so just like a marathon, you’re gonna hit a wall. What’s important is how you respond. They’re slips, not falls. Persevere, push through ,they won’t last.  And look at how far you’ve come when you get discouraged. If you hadn’t come into this meeting today. I don’t know if I would be writing you this letter now.
  10. THIS IS ONLY THE BEGINNING: You will reach a major milestone this year, but even in that, it won’t stop you. You’ll keep going, trying new things, increasing your fitness regimen. There are greater things coming your way, things you can’t even believe…But it all starts today

 

Well there you have it. What is coming up over the next year.  I know it sounds like a lot given where you are right now, but Our Daddy told us once before that if we can get through some of the things we have already overcome and still be sane (you know what they are) we can do this. You’ve already taken the first step by walking into this meeting. Well, I’m gonna sign off now, church and a 4:30 Zumba class await tomorrow ( I told you you were gonna fall in love with it. You helped your instructor choreograph a routine a few days ago too,).  I Love You,

Ebony.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Lonnie
    Jun 12, 2013 @ 16:39:25

    I am sitting here at my desk crying & smiling all at the same time. I feel blessed to know you & to read what you just wrote. I am inspired by this to make the changes I need to & I know because of you that it can be done & that my struggles don’t equal my failure or downfall. Bless you, Eb & than you.

    Reply

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