Monday, March 3, 2014

AIM: The Last Straw

In our ongoing quest to keep open the dialogue of weight maintenance, AIM opened a new forum a few months ago, “Ask Us (Almost) Anything,” for you to share ideas or questions you’d like us to address in future posts. Last month we talked about grocery shopping. This month, on our one-year AIM anniversary, we wanted to address the question that takes us back all the way to the beginning: "What was your 'last straw' moment, or your kick in the butt, or whatever it was that finally made you say 'I just have to do this!'"

Some of you know my "last straw" story. I wrote about it in "One Thing," and I've discussed it in several interviews over the years. In 2004, I had thought carefully over the course of several months about whether to lose weight or to accept my body at 300 pounds and forget about it. But it was a photograph of my daughter and me in December 2004 at her 20th birthday dinner that opened my eyes to the broader aspect of weight and self-acceptance.

When I reread "One Thing" this week in preparation for this post, I read it with a 9-year perspective. A lot has happened since that fate-filled photo was taken. In nine years, I've lost weight (perhaps too much) and I've gained some back. But what was true then is still true today: true love transcends weight.

Transcendence Part One: The people I most admire are those who love themselves. Period. They don't use the words "if only..." or "despite..." or "but..." when speaking about themselves. What I learned in my months-long journey to my decision to lose weight was that if I wasn't my own best friend, the person I loved most in this world, then I couldn't lose weight and keep it off because I would be doing it for some other reason or person besides me. If I was going to take my body down that scale, my heart had to be the captain of the weight-loss ship.

Transcendence Part Two: The other folks I most admire are those who love others unconditionally. Like those who love themselves unconditionally, the people who love others unconditionally also don't use the words "if only..." or "despite" or "but..." when speaking of the people they love. The last straw, that moment I started understanding the impact of weight on my life, was when I understood that my children loved me no matter what I looked like.

Here's what I wrote: "At first glance I did the usual, 'How could you let yourself get that big?' self-flagellating ritual. Then something caught my eye. Something bigger than my third chin. Cassie had placed her cheek next to mine and she was beaming. She was happy because she was with her mother on her birthday. Not her morbidly obese mother, her ill-dressed mother, her isolated, guarded, self-loathing mother – those were my descriptors. Cassie loved me just the way I was."

Goodness knows I'm not perfect, and it seems I'm always learning the lessons of loving myself and allowing others to love me, but the teaching had to start somewhere. And for me, it started with  that photo, the mother of all "Aha!" moments.

Do you have a "last straw" moment? And are you committed to loving yourself...JUST AS YOU ARE? Share a comment with us here.

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AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you'd like us to address!

Lori @ Finding Radiance
Debbie @ debby weighs in
Shelley @ My Journey to Fit
Cammy @ The Tippy Toe Diet

11 comments:

  1. You were on a journey much deeper than weight loss...I like that you continue to appreciate all the happiness that you get from your family and friends.

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  2. I love that you understand that you're a worthy person at any weight and that weight (too much or too litter or just right) shouldn't affect our ability to give and receive love.

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  3. It does make you think that self-acceptance at any weight might play into the long-term success of any weight loss...

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  4. Lynn, I remember you saying to me one time when I was feeling shame about my before pictures was that I needed to remember that the people in the pictures loved me as I was and they weren't thinking about how fat I was (like I did).

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  5. Wow - this post was AMAZING! Several months ago, I was reading through weight loss blogs and read, "One Thing". Not long after that, my daughter asked me to take a picture with her because she was going on a trip. I fussed and said 'no', but like most daughters, she insisted. We took the picture and when I saw it, it's like I had tunnel vision I saw myself, my negative feelings, and I immediately remembered the 'One Thing' blog. That was MY one thing. Plus, the comment along the lines of my weight is not my essence is powerful and freeing.

    I've been searching and searching for the 'One Thing' blog since then. I'm so very thankful you posted a link so I could find it again!

    I have my own blog now where I'm working to get a grip on the bigger picture of me.

    I've got tears in my eyes at the moment. This has truly made my day and puts a little wind in my wings.

    Lordie - how sappy do I sound???

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  6. I love this. Many times i have said I truly believe my weight loss journey started ten months earlier when I made the decision to love myself "if I never lost another pound" as suggested in an article by Genern Roth.

    When I finally started losing weight I realized loving meant caring for myself, just the way I love and care for what's best for my family.

    I appreciate your take on this subject, Lynn.

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  7. Sheesh, you made me cry! I really need to just get on with getting healthy too and stop making excuses.

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  8. it's amazing how all things (work success marriage success life success weight...) boil down and come back to self love.

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  9. This has nothing to do with "last straw" moments, though I've had a few in my life which led to a fairly important weight loss, though never to maintenance.

    What I want to write about is love, as in loving oneself and especially one's body. May I suggest watching a short clip on Youtube of Eve Ensler (creator of the Vagina Monologues)explains what "love your tree" means. Just type in Eve Ensler and love your tree. It's awesome.

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  10. LuckyMama, you don't sound sappy at all! All this "discovery" and self-acceptance and seeing ourselves through other peoples' eyes...it can be very emotionally draining. What's your blog address? I'd love to read!

    Leah, I love Geneen Roth. I need to reread some of her stuff.

    NewMe, thanks for the suggestion! I loved Vagina Monologues. I'll youtube that today.

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  11. Great post! My kick in the pants was at a mountain film festival. I was watching these great mountain adventure movies, and it hit me that not one of these people had to worry about losing 100 lbs before tackling a new challenge..they just did it. Fitness was a baseline. I wanted that.

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