My 90lb Weight Loss Journey; A Letter to Karen
Happy New Year!
The holidays were somethin’ else eh? I’m so over the narrative of the holidays right now. I’m sure it has a lot to do with the tote in my periphery spilling over with glittery garland and pine needle encrusted ornaments that I should really “organize better before storing” this time around.
Nevertheless; it’s a new year, a fresh start and a chance to try again. I am well aware that every piece of content you’ve consumed in the past few days has been layered with ads showing sweaty bodies at the gym or beautifully designed messages of inspiration leading you to a subscription service that will change your life ( or your money back). We all knew they were coming, it was as easy to predict as the snow that’s gently dancing a path to the trees outside my window.
This isn’t a blog entry that will give you a list of things you can do right now to change your life. I’m not providing you with a meal plan to follow, a list of foods to avoid or a dramatic before and after photo that will inspire you to drop the storm chips and pick up the celery.
Don’t get me wrong, I am talking about weight loss in January because it’s smart marketing and highly relevant, but it’s also authentic to me and requires no financial commitment for you to read ( not even at the end).
I know some of you are craving a quick fix to wellness. I am going to go on the record right now and tell you that such a thing does not exist. I know this to be true in my bones, I know it in my soul and when I look back on any achievement I’ve had worth acknowledging it’s been proven enough to stand as evidence.
A brief history of my experience with weight:
I battled severely with weight in one way or another until the age of 29 ( I’m 33 now). I have a considerable amount of experience with adjusting my pants every time I get up ( you’ll only know if you know), an overly developed sense of humour and a skill for layering.
I was always the largest in my friend group and the first one at the party to throw out a “ life is too short” in a group dining situation.
The largest weight I saw on the scale was two hundred and thirty-seven pounds. ( I just realized I haven’t typed out an actual number in what feels like years. It felt like my fingers were stuck in quick sand).
I’m always surprised when people completely forget about this part of my life. I often hear: I never realized you were that big, At least it never affected your confidence, I never saw you that way, oh but you carried it so well.
What? Are you kidding me? The audacity! The unmitigated gall!
All those years of scouring for clothes that were stylish and big enough, all those social events where I pushed so hard not to show my insecurities and all those times I thought my weight was the main topic of others peoples conversations. You mean nobody really cared that much and it was only me I was battling with all along?
Silly. Just simply silly.
Meet Karen, my snakeskin clad beacon of light
Six and a half years ago, I started a new job. I met the most wonderful people a gal could dream of and during almost every introduction, a reference to Karen was made. “Just wait until she gets back from vacation, you’ll love her instantly but not be able to keep up with her conversations “ ( first is true, second is not).
Cut to Monday of the following week. I heard her before I saw her, the click of her four inch heels ushered in a total bombshell wearing a green snake skin dress that showcased the most toned arms I had ever seen. How did a woman with three kids make that happen? Why did she seem so happy? Is she really talking that fast and if so, why does it make perfect sense to me?
She proceeded to give the highlights of her vacation which included finding a frog on her new couch and spilling a glass of red wine all over it. I’d soon realize this was a classic Karen story.
How does this all tie in? Karen had and continues to have the strongest mindset of anyone I personally know. I was so attracted to the goals she set for her life that little by little, negative patterns and behaviours in my own life started cracking under the weight of a good example. Behaviours I had excused myself from trying to fix suddenly started to illuminate as opportunities to try again.
This woman is the living embodiment of effort. She tries so hard to be good at life. She tries to love harder, she tries to forgive harder, she tries to coach instead of demand and she is not afraid to hold a mirror up when you need blind spot detection. If ever a person takes action to meet goals, it is she.
As a result of the above, she leads a life that continues to evolve in inspiring ways. She has out thought the obstacles that lined her path and continues to model a life where excuses that prevent her from her goals do not exist. She has a wonderful husband, an incredible sister and extended family and a profound group of friends that I’ve weaselled my way into. Her crowning accomplishment though is the effort she puts into her boys, three wonderful children whom I love deeply and cherish as friends that will someday serve as a party line of potential designated drivers.
I could write a novel on how she helped me tip the scales in my favour ( literally) but it would only scratch the surface.
How this translates to weight:
Remember when I said there was no quick fix to my weight loss? Well, that’s because my weight loss was only a reality for me when I held myself completely responsible. When I started to listen to the narrative of my thoughts, I realized a lot of the content being tossed around was based around an excuse to not solve a problem or a fear that I couldn’t. It had nothing to do with food, with budget or with time. It had everything to do with the way I prioritized my goals and my ability to understand what I could control and what I couldn’t.
It was not my goal to write this and leave you with five great ab workouts or a secret berry smoothie recipe that will make it all go away. There are people far more qualified in those areas. Quite honestly, I’m working on losing weight right now after a very indulgent few months. The difference for me now is that being up in weight here or there does not scare me. I get it. I have the power to lose it or to gain it; just like I have the power to be a good person, the power to break cycles and the power to put away my laundry. ( let’s be clear, my laundry game is weak but I know what it would take)
The reason I’m not sharing diet tips is because it’s not what I’m meant to do here. I’m meant to tell you the real reason I lost weight and to acknowledge how important it is to surround yourself with people that inspire you. Whether they’re internet inspirations or people in your everyday life, find someone or a community of people to act as a horizon when the seas get bumpy. Be a horizon when you’re strong enough, rest when you’re not.
I had been to many gyms, starved on many diets, celebrated ten and twenty pound losses only to gain every pound back. I went years not even trying to lose weight and years where I just didn’t care. If you’re in any of those categories that’s ok too, it wasn’t my time until it was and it had way more to do with my brain than my pant size. If you don’t need to lose weight the logic still applies, it’s universal.
Yesterday was Karen’s birthday and despite my efforts to have this completed before the clock struck midnight, it’s 2:24am and she’s now fast asleep. I just wanted her to know that as we start a new year, and reflect on the old, I am forever in a state of gratitude that she always keeps trying.
With my sincerest love,