Sometimes I just want to jump up and down on my sofa and tell the world it's not all about vegetables and deprivation. I am walking proof of living a life eating hamburgers, steak, Butterfingers, fried catfish, mashed potatoes, cornbread, anything I choose and losing over 115 pounds during the process.
My beginning was two months ahead of schedule. In my day, I was considered teeny. After a month in an isolet, I reached five pounds and gained a homecoming to extremely nervous parents. At some point, my teeny gene went into overdrive. I grew into a generously healthy adult woman.
My mother was a good cook. No picky eaters were allowed in our home. I always wanted pudding. And I never thought about wasting food when there were hungry children in Vietnam. To this day, my mother has these little, bitty storage tubs which hold about two teaspoons. Pull out five or six from the freezer and you have an instant feast.
We always had delicious, nutrious, homemade meals. We didn't drink Cokes except for special occasions. We seldom asked for seconds. A snack would ruin our supper. My best friend, Anita, had a glorious cookie jar full of Chips Ahoy cookies. I would go straight to her Granny's kitchen and devour two handfuls of forbidden treats.
To this day, my mother makes great pies. She would make a Lemon Meringue or Chocolate Pie and complain the next evening when the pie had disappeared. It would make us laugh to imagine such a good pie lasting long at our house.
I reached my glorious height around thirteen. A little baby fat hung on for good measure which resulted in teasing, helping to begin my life long weight issue. The ups and downs of losing and gaining, losing and gaining. In my late thirties, depression, medication for depression and a broken ankle resulted in such a fast weight gain of forty pounds, I decided to gain thirty more and reached the breaking point.
Never mind my health issues like pre-diabetes and difficulty just doing life. My point of decision was sheer vanity. I was already in Women's World but my new weight left me no shopping option at my store. My size was out of bounds, sending me to another shoppe once declared a "stylish stout shop." For a fashion diva, this was too much. Around this time, a friend of mine died from lupus. Her mother sent me a box full of her beautiful clothes. They sustained my love of beautiful things until l could turn this tugboat around.
I have tried every diet in existence. The water diet in ninth grade. Nothing but H20 until dinner. Five pounds in five days. Banana, hot dog, boiled egg three day diet. Hilton Head diet. Weight Watchers. Jenny Craig. The lovely liquid fast diet. And a favorite, the prescribed magic pill which gave great results (20 pounds in six weeks) with enough energy to run the world. Many diets multiple times. I was always very successful at losing the weight. And even more successful at regaining the weight, adding a little more just for fun.
A doctor of mine once told me, "Amy will lose the weight when she wants to." He knew me well. This is an encouraging, truthful piece of advice for anyone struggling with a weight issue. The power is in your own head, not a diet or another person's desire. I finally had to reach rock bottom and tell myself enough was enough.
Truthfully, clothes weren't the only issue. I regretted the control my weight had over me. I was involved in my daughter's activities but I knew I was usually the largest person in the room. I regret the outdoor hikes, parades, festivals and other activties I missed with my sweet family because big mamas don't do heat well. No matter what, my family's love, patience and encouragement never wavered.
"Pretty fat" became my inner go-to mantra. Not as a putdown - Yea, she's pretty fat, man! But pretty, fat as pretty and fat at the same time. There is even a muscial rendition. She may be fat but....she's pretty. I have used it for all of these years to perk me up, put a smile on my face. Learning to laugh about myself, not to harshly criticize, has helped immensely.
Part One of Two