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Oprah, I Feel Your Pain

photo credit: Oprah Magazine, Jan. 2009

Dear Oprah,

I'm with you. I understand all too well how easily those pounds slip on. Especially when you reach a 'certain' age. Yes, like you, I've tried the latest exercise routine, yoga, walking, running, Pilate's. I've done all the diets, no white foods, no carbs, no red meat, etc. etc. And like you, after the initial success wears off the pounds come back.

Here's me back then:

When I returned to the States three years ago I weighed thirty pounds less than I do today. As the pounds slowly crept on, I declared a bulwark at each five pound increment swearing I wouldn't go beyond it. But I did. I'm not going to blame going back to school or the stress of caring for my mother or even blame myself. I know why I gained the weight: I ate too much. When I came back from Colorado extremely unhappy, I ate. And I ate with gusto and intent. I was so angry and depressed, I ate myself ten pounds heavier in one month. Even as I ate I knew it would eventually catch up with me but on some level I either didn't care or thought I would deal with it tomorrow. Isn't it amazing how that applies to so many other areas of our life as well?

Here I am now:

I'm a chunky monkey at the moment. Cute but chunky. Quite honestly, I hate the way I look, especially when I turn sideways and my caboose is heading west and my tummy is heading east. I don't feel sexy or pretty, which as a single woman is not a good place to be. When I look at pictures of me when I was slimmer, it makes me sad because I felt sexy then and I'm afraid that even if I lose the weight again, I will not look as good as I did then simply by the passing of years. But I'm doing something about it. I've started working out again and signed up for a 5K run at the end of February. Although I was a competitive swimmer for more than eleven years, running has been a challenge. Which is just what I need. I've given myself an attainable goal, with a set deadline, and a tangible means to measure my progress (I've got a pedometer). This morning I was able to run/walk a mile. My next goal is to increase that to a mile and a half next week and then continue on until I reach three miles. Being a very goal oriented person, this approach is perfect for me, I love milestones.

I'm taking the same approach with my diet. Each day, each meal, I try to make intelligent choices. By now I know what I should and shouldn't eat, so I will choose foods not because they are low in fat or calories, but because they are good for me. I will embrace my weakness for dark chocolate, but will adopt the theory that one good Lindt dark chocolate truffle can be as satisfying as five chocolate covered Oreos dunked in milk (ha!).

I believe that my weight is a metaphor for other aspects of my life, where I will live, what I will do, who I will love, or who will love me. I want to believe that if I can control this part of myself I will be able to control the other parts as well. After all, what could be more central to a feeling of security than the ability to control the body I inhabit? And that's what makes the cycle of weight gain and loss so seductive and destructive. And maybe that is why I need to not make this about control, but make it about health and learn to find fun in the process.

I will not pretend that all is well, I'm still working on issues regarding care for my mother as well as how that will fit in with work and the house hunt. But I will no longer allow myself to take out my anger, depression, or malaise on my body. I will no longer hate the way I look in the mirror. And hopefully, a more positive approach will spread into those other areas and help me to straighten them out as well. I suppose all of this is just part of the journey. I cannot battle the onward march of time nor change what might have been, but perhaps I can go forward gracefully, healthfully, and seek opportunities from this new place.

Oh yes Oprah, I know just how you feel.


P.S. Happy New Year!

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Vodka Mom said…
add me to the list. I KNOW how she feels, I know how YOU feel, and I will NOT GIVE UP. It's that slow creep UP the roller coaster hill that I am on right now.
Madge said…
i'm right there with you. desperate to get rid of all this weight that crept on me....
flutter said…
I totally get this, totally. You are beautiful now, then and in the tomorrow.

love yourself, and you will be healthy.
Jennifer H said…
Me, too. I've added 30 lbs since we moved here 4 years ago, and I have never been so unhappy. (Hard to say which came first, though.)

This is the year, though.

Giving you a huge high five - it's not easy, what you're doing, but I know you can do this.

cce said…
I won't pretend to have weight issues but I can commiserate with the self-loathing and depression and malaise and general disregard for self. I love that you're on such an upward tick here at the start of the new year. It feels good just to read your optimism. You are woman. I hear your roar. And you are very, very beautiful! Happy New Year. Here's to being good to yourself.
Barrie said…
Happy New Year! It sounds as though you're getting yourself organized for a happy and healthy 2009!
Keetha said…
You sound great - with a healthy, well thought out, and doable plan. You go!
Mark said…
A journey has many paths up and down! What a plan you have!
JCK said…
You really are beautiful, Suz. And your writing soars in its honesty here.

I have the belief that you can do whatever you set out to do. You have that about you - in the words you write here.

Oprah is having a good week this week. Each day a different topic of one's overall health. My rector is a guest on her show on spirtuality on Wednesday.

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