Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Give thanks for what you are now, and keep fighting for what you want to be tomorrow.  ~Fernanda Miramontes-Landeros

Give thanks for what you are now.  That's not easy when you're not happy with what you are now.  But, you've got to start somewhere, so why not start with exactly who you are today?  That was the first step on my journey towards better health and happiness in my life - getting honest about who I really was, and accepting that as my starting place.  That's something you can do right now.

Here's how I got honest.  I was 287 pounds, in physical and emotional pain and I knew I needed to change things.  I didn't know where to begin, so I asked my doctor.  My doctor had been telling me for years that I needed to drop some weight, and I got angry and resentful every, single time.  It took a lot of nerve for me to walk into his office and say, "Okay, let's say you're right, I do need to lose some weight.  Where do I start?"

He referred me to a nutritionist.  After my first meeting with her, she asked me to start a 'Food Journal.'  In it, I was to write down everything I ate for a week.  She asked me not to edit my food choices yet.  "Just eat what you'd normally eat, and write it down after you're finished," she said.  I bought myself a new notebook on the way home from the appointment, and I was very excited about starting the next day.  Then came the morning, and suddenly I was angry.  I don't know where it came from - this defiance, this rebellion.  Suddenly I was thinking, "I'll show her what I eat everyday!"  And I went off to the doughnut shop and bought six of my favorites and ate them all, with a quart of milk, for breakfast.  And I wrote it all down.  Then for lunch, I was feeling guilty, so I made myself a salad.  It was a large salad, loaded with cheese, beans, and plenty of dressing, but I felt less guilty about that than I did about the doughnuts.  Again, I recorded it all in my journal - this time with measurements.  I had two snacks that afternoon - 18 vanilla wafers and two pudding cups, and "a bag of trail mix." I'm quoting from the journal here.  For dinner, I fixed spaghetti.  I wrote that I ate a "full plate of spaghetti," which was a lot.

The week continued on like this.  Looking back now, even though I seemed to be eating with a vengeance, I don't recall feeling as though I ate more in this particular week than I did most of the time.  Eating a half-dozen doughnuts was nearly a weekly ritual.  I'd just never made note of it before. Two snacks in the afternoon - pretty common for me.  I didn't feel fuller than usual, and I didn't get a stomach ache from eating like this, so the guilt and shame I felt when showing my journal to the nutritionist at our next appointment wasn't as much about what I was eating, as how I was living.

I expected harsh judgment and criticism.  After all, that's what I'd been giving myself a heaping portion of all morning.  What happened instead was that she read my journal, did some calculations, calmly looked up at me and told me that I consumed, on average, 3900 calories a day that week.  Then she said, and I'll never forget this, "Now we know where we are, let's figure out where to go from here."  And she smiled at me.  I swear, I nearly burst into tears.  Because I realized something at that moment.  All the things I'd been saying to myself - all the "I just don't know how I got so big.  I eat healthy most of the time.  How did this happen to me?"-ing that I'd been doing was all delusion.  And that smile of hers was like getting some divine permission to let that all go, and start being honest with myself.  There, in blue ink, right there in that journal, was who I was, what I'd done, and how I'd gotten to that place.  And it was okay.  The Earth did not shift its axis, the sun still shown, and I did not die of embarrassment.

And when I left the sainted nutritionist's office, I was thankful for who I was at that moment.  I was thankful that there was no mystery - that there were lots of things I could change, lots of things I could do better from that point on.  And I set out to do them.

Where are you now?  When will you embrace the truth, and cease to be afraid of it?  Proceed on your journey.

1 comment:

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