Did you make a New Year’s Resolution this year? So, how’s that going for you? Mine seemed simple enough. I resolved to catch up on all the blog posts I was unable to read last year. It was a bigger commitment than I thought. I’ve been picking away at them, but yesterday I sat down to see what it would actually take to fulfill this resolution. I stopped counting at 325. That’s 325 blog posts I had either missed or set aside for later. These has accumulated between late October and the end of December. Needless to say, I had to get rid of the evidence but I decided to not let that happen again this year.
How many of you resolved to lose weight? [show of hands please] How many of you have made this resolution before? How many of you make this same resolution every year? [I notice that most of the hands are still in the air]. Take it from a chronic “dieter” you may be fighting a losing battle. Literally. In my case, it’s more like a war.
At a very young age I was given the impression I was fat. I look back now at the very few pictures I have as a child and see that I was not. I was a big kid. Compared to my adorable baby sister I was much bigger. I was taller and had a larger framework as is often common with Ukrainian genes. Since we did not share the same father, there was a variance in our genetic makeup.
My maternal grandmother played the biggest part in my negative body image. “Nana” despised me. I was the bastard child that she could not accept. In fact, she used to tell people that I was the neighbour’s child that my Mother was babysitting. I was often the battle ground for arguments between her and my mom. I was 12 when my Mom passed. One birthday after that Nana came and offered to take me shopping for something nice to wear. She took me downtown on a Saturday morning where everyone shopped in those days. I saw lots of my friends out with their mothers and was quite proud that Nana finally seemed to be coming around to liking me. I even bragged about her taking me shopping. Then she marched me into the maternity store and proceeded to tell the clerk that I was too fat to shop in a regular store. She died about a year later but the damage was done by then. I would spend the rest of my life “knowing” I was fat.
It seems the rest of my life has been one diet after another. I can’t even remember them all. There was the Cabbage Soup Diet, Jenny Craig, The South Beach Diet, The Canyon Ranch Diet, The 17 Day Diet, The High Fibre Diet…those are just the books I can see on my shelf right now. The one I remember losing the most on was the Atkins Diet − high fat, low carbs. My family started force feeding me after someone asked if I was ill because they could count my ribs. Funny, I didn’t see it. I look at pictures now and I wasn’t fat at all as a teenager.
In my twenties and thirties I went up and down the scale. I’d gain some but could always get it off with one of those diets and exercise. I wasn’t athletic but I always worked out. I went to the gym. I walked and I cycled. When I was 35 I had my run-in with breast cancer. That was called the “Chemo Diet”. If it stayed down, I ate it. A year later I totalled my car. I suffered a back injury that wasn’t treated properly and left me with several years of recuperation from three separate back surgeries. When I stopped being able to walk, I lost control of my weight. And I spent a lot of time in bed or sitting. I ate whatever was in front of me and it would be some time before I regained control again. My forties were spent going from gaining weight to morbidly obese. When I turned 50 I weighed twice as much as I should have. Fifty is one of those numbers that makes you evaluate your life much more than any number on the scale. I made a conscious decision that I wanted to live and therefore had to lose weight. I was desperate. Here in Canada we have all kinds of diet clinics. One of the most renowned is the Dr. Bernstein Clinic. It is expensive, it is strict and it involves injections. Oh, and it works. At least it works as long as you can continue to go there. I literally lost half of myself in a relatively short period of time. By the time my birthday rolled around again I was back in charge. Later that year I was “downsized” in my job as well. I was devastated but kept things going. We tightened our belts and that included stopping the clinic. A year went by and then another. I kept the weight off.
Then another year. And another. I started to gain weight. By the time we started a business, lost the business and our home, I was well on my way and soon rejoined the morbidly obese.
This past year I had to do something. We started simple. Walking at the mall in the morning. When my sister Pat visited she walked with us and I remember telling her that I had to lose some weight just so I could actually do something to get in shape. The next time she visited she had a plan. Literally. She had found something for me that she thought I could and would do, that was neither a crazy diet or unhealthy. In fact, it’s a very healthy eating plan and involves taking vitamins and a lot of other common sense things that I know to be true but hadn’t been practising. Between that and The Knitting Diet I have lost 65lbs and am feeling better and healthier. I am trying to find the balance that will keep me healthy and alive and not feel deprived.
I’m not sure what kind of damage I have done to my system over the years with all this “dieting”. I do know that the fact the word “die” is contained in “diet” has always grated on me. Now we have young girls in the family, 12-16 year olds who seem to be struggling with their body image. I fear for them. They are beautiful and healthy and I want them to stay that way. They receive only positive re-enforcement from me. I will not allow anything else when I am around.
Once the damage is done, it is done.