It was predicted that the Internet would turn us into an isolated society of bleary-eyed hermits who shun human contact and subsist on a diet of news feeds, weather updates, and cyber porn.
“They” were wrong, at least for me and a few thousand other people I “know.” The Internet introduced me to a world of people I’d never have met in the physical world. People who have made a lasting impact on how I think and live. People armed with compassion, snark, empathy, and tough love.
“But the beginnings of things, of a world especially, is necessarily vague, tangled, chaotic, and exceedingly disturbing. How few of us ever emerge from such beginning! How many souls perish in its tumult!” from The Awakening by Kate Chopin
Entering the world of weight loss is all that: vague, tangled, chaotic, disturbing, _______ (insert adjective). And the reality is that most of us don’t journey in the first, fifth, or tenth time with a cohesive plan and the right equipment. We attack weight loss with dogged determination and motivation for about a day, maybe a week, sometimes – if we’re lucky – a month or longer. The problem is that we usually go at it alone, and inevitably we fail because, let’s face it, the self-determination and self-motivation of weight loss is hard to maintain for the long haul. But it can be sustained with a little help from the right friends. The friends who’ve been there, are there, done that, doing that.
Some of my best friends are the people I’ve never never met, or at least didn’t meet right away in the traditional face-to-face way. They are the folks I’ve met through the Weight Watchers 100+ To Lose message board and through blogging. Without their support and occasional ass kicking, I’m pretty sure I’d still be in that “Gotta lose weight. Crap, this is hard. Oh what the hell, eat a donut. Now I feel guilty. Starting tomorrow, I’m eating only celery” cycle.
Over the years, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting face-to-face the User Names who’ve supported me on this journey of dieting, maintaining, blogging, and learning that weight loss is not pretty, it’s not easy, and it’s not a path to happiness. One of the first people to educate me on that latter part was Marcia, or as I first knew her: Aging2Perfection.
When I joined the WW message board in February 2005, I learned quickly that Aging2Perfection was not prone to delusion. She was firmly grounded in the reality of the weight loss world. But she also had the innate ability to love herself, something I floundered with, tangled up in that sticky web of self-acceptance. It was Aging2Perfection who challenged me to step back and breathe and be a better friend to myself.
Finally, last Sunday, I met Marcia. We met at Pamela’s in the Strip. I ordered the crepe pancakes and she ordered the banana walnut pancakes. Our server set a plate in front of me and a plate in front of Marcia while we were talking. We started eating while talking. It wasn’t until I bit into a walnut halfway through a pancake that I realized that she was eating my order and I was eating hers. We laughed, swapped, and kept talking. And if it wasn’t for the fact that people were waiting for our table and she and her husband had to go home and I had to watch Mae, we’d still be talking. Talking about everything, particularly about how our lives as mothers and grandmothers have run parallel the last three years. Weight didn’t really enter into our conversation.
Weight is a part of our lives, not our entire lives. Weight (A) is the proper subset to the superset of life (B). I often forget that and make weight the be all and end all of my day. I let it set the tone of my mood and intentions. It’s people like Marcia who bring me back to reality, and for that, I’m eternally grateful.
Some people have a Bucket List. I have a Face-To-Face Thank You List. I wish I could be like Jeannie and blink every one of you who have supported me and been my teachers these last seven years to a face-to-face pancake (or egg white omelet or oatmeal or smoothie) breakfast. We could even chat over leftovers! Or ride bikes or take my daughter’s spin class. Walk or hike. Drink coffee. Whatever.
I just want to say: “Thank you.”