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I do this for her.

It felt like I was opening up Pandora’s Box when I started reading my first weight loss journal entries from December of 2005. I knew the painful memories would come right back as if they happened yesterday. It’s a double-whammy of pain too, because it contains memories of my baby girl before she passed away. (Yeah, life can suck.) But as I write these words and think about the beautiful girl in this picture, my eyes fill with tears because I vow to stay committed to this healthier lifestyle so she NEVER has to feel that way about herself again.

December 24, 2005

It’s Christmas Eve morning. We (me – age 30, my husband, 3-year old daughter and 3-month old daughter) are driving to see family today and another one tomorrow. We had our own little Christmas last night – complete with a high calorie holiday meal that included vegetable dip, cookies and chocolate candy. We opened gifts and then I had a big bowl of ice cream. My little girl had a blast opening her gifts. I remember struggling to sit on the floor and then get back up again as I participated. I don’t know why but I had my husband take pictures of me opening gifts. (Normally I “forget” to ask him so there won’t be any pictures of me. It’s the same reason I don’t go swimming anymore – I don’t want to disgust anyone. But I LOVE to swim. I was once a lifeguard during the summers.)

At my present weight (250 pounds), I am definitely the biggest I’ve ever been – except when I was in my 8th or 9th month of pregnancy. After my first baby, I worked hard to lose the weight, but this time, that is not the case. It’s almost as if I am “ignoring” my body. I avoid the scale and I don’t make time to exercise. I use my 3-year old and 3-month old children as an excuse even though I have a very capable husband who could help. I just keep wearing my maternity clothes and extra-wide shoes. I finally broke down and bought some work pants in size 22! In all of my past dieting, the experts said not to buy clothes in bigger sizes because you are “accepting yourself in your new size,” or something like that. But every time I walk past a co-worker or walk through the mall, I wonder what people are thinking as they look at me. Do they feel pity? Disgust? Annoyance? The thing is – that’s how I feel about myself. I’m better than this.

But why don’t I do something about it? Well, because I LOVE food. So far this morning, I have eaten 3 pieces of chocolate, 2 holiday cookies and a stack of crackers with spinach dip. Plus, I drank a can of regular Coke! IT’S ONLY 10 AM! The worst part about it is, I’m nursing. So not only am I eating unhealthily – so is my baby. I will say this – I have PLENTY of breast milk!

So today, for Christmas Eve, I’m wearing the biggest shirt and black jeans I own. I’m going to see family and I pray that they pay more attention to my adorable children than to me. I don’t have any plans to eat right, except for a bite or two of veggies and a glass of milk. I’m playing the game of “starting tomorrow”, or for me, starting on January 1st, 2006.

This morning, I was thinking about my loving husband and how he completely amazes me. He acts as if my body is no different at 250 pounds than it was at 180. He doesn’t understand why I don’t feel sexy or why I don’t want to have sex. He thinks it’s him! He is so wrong. Thin people will never fully understand the effects of being obese. I am the happiest, most fun loving person I know, except when no one is around. I absolutely HATE my body. I fell like a huge failure. I’m the worst example for my children, too.

So why don’t I stop? Somehow, I conveniently find other things to focus on – my job, kids, the house, Christmas, etc. When am I going to make myself a priority?

How about right now, honey!

To be fair, I have lost weight quite a few times in the past 16 years since I wrote those words, but I have never been this successful for this long. And maybe she actually does have a few worthy excuses for not making time to track calories and exercise. She was working full time, taking care of 2 little girls, one whom she was nursing, and trying to give them a good Christmas. (I guess I was doing all of those same things a few weeks ago except my 2 girls are much older and one can even drive herself places and that makes a world of difference.)

Deep down, I knew that I would lose the weight one day but it was not even in my peripheral vision yet. In December of 2005, I couldn’t even imagine when I would have time for myself again. That’s part of my downfall – I have all or nothing thinking. (Hopefully I can reframe those thoughts better the next time they come around. In the last 6 months, I have “fallen off” the wagon a few times and gotten right back on track a day - or a week - later, so maybe I am tackling those messed up thoughts pretty well right now.)

There really isn’t a moral to this story except hope. In 2005, I wasn’t ready to dive into a new, healthier life-style. Later that year, I started the Curves for Women program and got down to 215 pounds but then in April of 2007, my baby girl passed away, along with my desire to lose weight. Then I got pregnant with our last child and I had to start all over again – in so many ways. The ups and downs kept going, because I have always wanted to be healthier and look better, but never have I been this committed or BELIEVED this strongly in myself as I do today.

My life sure sounds like a roller-coaster, huh? Well, that’s how it feels too. My emotions have been all over the place, especially tonight after going down memory lane. All I can say is that I will NEVER give up on myself. I don’t know what the future holds. I sure hope the loss of my daughter was the worst hell I should ever have to endure, but guess what – I don’t get to make that decision.

So for now, I am going to celebrate how far I have come and look to the future for even brighter days. After surviving all of the low points in my life, I know for a fact that I can get through anything. So why not make the most of what we have and even push ourselves to live our best lives? The peace, self-love and pure joy I feel from living this healthier life-style is beyond words (although I give it a good try – ha!)

So now you know where I have been and why I am fighting for my life (and happiness) every day. BECAUSE IT’S WORTH IT! I’M WORTH IT! SHE IS WORTH IT!

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