I’ve spent a good part of this new year’s weekend asking myself these questions: What was my original motivation to lose weight? What did I look like along the way? How did I feel at this weight or that weight? What lessons have I learned and do I need to relearn any of them?
Today I was most interested in January 2006. I’d lost about 90 pounds and had emerged from a nearly four-year self-imposed exile during which time I’d stopped writing my column, having my hair cut and colored professionally, and socializing with friends. When I looked at photos from Christmas 2005 and new year 2006, I remembered I felt like someone had lifted a heavy blanket off of me. I could breathe again. No more did my world feel dank and cold.
Second only in importance to losing weight was my decision to write again. For seven years I’d written a bi-weekly column called “Been There, Done That” for our local paper. I even won a few journalism awards for it. But I stopped writing it in 2002 because I was too busy running an antiques business. After a year, I missed my column terribly and wanted to write again, only I knew my editor would insist on a photo. It was standard corporate procedure to include a columnist’s photo with with their byline, and in 2003, there was no way I was putting my face, as it was, back in the paper. I’d gained a significant amount of weight since the last headshot was taken (sometime in 1999, I think) and I worried what people would think. I denied myself one of the most important creative outlets I’d ever know all because I couldn’t bear the thought of people opening up their papers and gasping, “Oh my, she’s gotten fat.”
Seems like messed up thinking now, but I have to remember that that was the mindset of 300-pound me, not 128-pound me. Big difference (so to speak). In 2006, when I’d lost enough weight to feel somewhat comfortable having my photo taken, enough that writing became more important than what someone thought of my weight, I re-launched my column and fell in love with writing all over again.
On the left is the headshot from January 2006. On the right is my headshot from January 2007.
I didn’t lose weight so I could write again. But writing was one of the by-products of my weight loss. It’s one of the many things I like to reflect on and remember so when I’m tempted to eat a little more than I should or skip a workout or two because I don’t “feel like it,” I can make the best decision for myself knowing what I know now based on what I did then. And for that, I thank and love the old me and the wisdom culled from the past.