It seems so long ago now and at the same time I still feel like that 225 pound 41 year old woman who was scared & embarrassed as she listened her doctor telling her that she was obese (I knew i was heavy, but obese?) and hypertensive. At the time my son was about 6 years old. It had already dawned on me, more than once, that I was teaching him some habits around eating that weren't going to serve him well. We ate a lot of "convenience" foods. I was a single working mom and time was a limited commodity so pre-packaged meals were ok with me as was running to the drive thru. I was never much for spending time in the kitchen so home made meals were more along the lines of pasta or burgers with a salad or broccoli. When it came to nutrition I didn't know what I didn't know.
About 2 weeks after my scary doctors visit my mother wound up in the hospital. A UTI had spread thru her body very quickly and she had to be admitted and given IV antibiotics. As I stood by her bed talking to her I learned that she was pre-diabetic. Her sugars were high and that was why the infection had spread so quickly. Looking at her laying there I had a lightbulb moment- I had the same unhealthy habits that she did, I was passing them to my son as they'd been passed to me...... I did not want to do that anymore than I wanted to wind up in a hospital bed.
I wish I could say that I immediately threw out all those bad habits and everything was smooth sailing from there! But life isn't often like that, is it? It took me a bit of time and finding a group of supportive people but I did make a decision to change. I lost 85 pounds the year I made that decision. I didn't do anything crazy- I just ate less and discovered weights. Just the simple process of calorie counting gave me an education in itself. I'm still a single working mom, but I spend more time in the kitchen than I used to, I had never stepped foot in a gym and now I can't imagine not going to the gym. I had never so much as lifted a weight and didn't know a a single person who did, but I got introduced to weight training and loved it, who knew?! Discovering what I was physically capable of was so exciting to me. One afternoon my son, who was now 8 years old, climbed a tree and got stuck. The jump from the lowest branch, which was above my head (I'd boosted him up) was too high above the ground for him to safely jump. I looked around thinking "how am I going get him down?" A few seconds passed as I pondered a solution. I wound up walking over, standing below the branch and telling him to jump to me- I had little confidence that I'd be able to catch him without hurting myself in the process, but in fact, I had gained enough strength to catch him. Turned out it was no big deal. I was so proud of and surprised by that! Not how much my squat or deadlift was, but the fact that I could catch my son.
The process of maintaining weight loss and gaining strength over a period of years isn't as sexy or exciting as it is in the beginning. It's a repetitive process, but it's always worth the effort. It boils down to being willing to do the work and remaining consistent. Sometimes that is much easier said than done- life is life, right? We all have harder times and easier times. The trick is going for that run, getting to a group class, lifting your weights or passing on the bowl of pasta when sometimes it would be easier to say "I don't want to today". For me it's remembering that the best gift I've given myself is health and the confidence to know that I am physically capable........ and, of course, being able to catch a kid that gets stuck in a tree.