That mentality sticks with you. For your entire life, apparently, if you're me. I spent the bulk of this past Sunday afternoon sorting and cramming 40-odd years of pictures into paper boxes to consolidate them. (Another formidable task looms in trying to sort them into some kind of order. That's for a different winter I think.) As I looked at pictures of myself, I realized that I wasn't all that fat for most of my adult life.
When I married the first time, I weight about 120. I'm 5' 3" tall so that's respectable and reasonable. Even at my second marriage I was about the same. When John and I got married in 1993, I weighed a few more pounds but still not more than 130. Again. Reasonable.
What I also remember vividly throughout all of those events and many others, is feeling that I was fat and being dissatisfied with my weight always. I scarcely ever remember looking in a full length mirror and being content with my body.
So most of my life has been a (or attempts to) diet in one way or another. I've done NutriSystems, South Beach, seen a nutritionist for months at a time, did an Oprah-like boot camp, Dr. Fuhrman and many others. We watch The Biggest Loser. We have a WII Fit, free weights, a bosu, fitness balls and two treadmills.
My weight has crept up over the past dozen years (the fate of comfortable living) and I frequently flagellate myself privately for lack of self control, weakness, you-name-it for not sticking with the program and getting the weight off. As I told my doctor last week, I look matronly. Not my desired image and certainly not what I see in my mind's eye. I'm not looking to be age-inappropriate, just slimmer so that I feel and look better.
Now I have about 30-40 pounds that need to come off this frame (and I know it's not all about numbers but that's what needs to come off). I weigh more now than when I was nine months pregnant with Erin. The weight I need to lose is driven home to me vividly each time I carry a 30 or 40 pound granddaughter up the stairs and think how much better I would feel if I got the weight off. Of course, it gets tougher as you get older to take off the weight. And then there's the motivation factor, which I seem to lack for sustained periods of time. Sigh.
I read a tip a couple of years ago about envisioning how you would look at your ideal weight. So I went a little further and clipped three pictures from a Shape magazine and taped my head to the women's beautiful bodies. They worked for a while but now they're just part of the background chaos in my office. They're taped to the front of my monitor so I can't help but see them whenever I sit down.
Johnnie thinks they're funny, especially the middle one where my head is turned 90 degrees on my/her shoulders. The pictures creep our daughter Erin out. I just wish they could reach out from their two-dimensional paper prisons and yank stuff out of my hands when I'm sitting here nibbling on something. Erin's friend Courtney has taken off more than 50 pounds since last summer. That is so cool and I wish I could emulate her success. Heck, I'd be happy with just a smidgen of her stick-to-it-iv-ness.
So my periodic motivation to lose weight has ceded to providing some wishful inspiration to look and feel better than I do. Deep down I don't want to give up the struggle to keep my weight in check. I know what to do, I just need to do it. Consistently. Now.