By Eve W. Engle

The dogs rule in our house. They are fed first, allowed in our bed, have their own bed in the guest room and sneak up onto the sofas when we aren't looking. Maxie, short for Maximus, is a Golden Retriever/Great Pyrenes mix, Sammy is a Black Lab/Border Collie mix. His full name is Samuel L. Jackson after one of my favorite actors. Both were abused and rescued from their former owners. They get cookies every morning.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Obsessing on Weight Loss

Here I go again. My up and down waist line is the bane of my existence. There is no one to blame but myself. I know it. My closet shows it. Instead of organizing it by color (I'm a bit OCD about it) I really should organize it by "big", "medium" and "small" sizes. It really is ridiculous how many times I have gone down this road.

In 1973 I started losing my "baby fat". I was very proud of my new womanly figure even though I was a bit self conscious about my measurements. By the time I started college in 1976 I was a fit and trim 94 lbs. Before you gasp at that weight let me explain something. At my tallest I was 5' 3 1/2" with a small bone structure. I was also a dancer on my college contemporary dance team. We rehearsed constantly.  When I married in 1980 I was up to 117 lbs. That seemed heavy to me at that time. By the time I was in graduate school I had started working out with weights and riding a bike 14 miles five days a week. I weighed in at 127, which seemed a high number on the scale but I had gained a lot of muscle weight. Then I found out I was expecting.

Son number one did a job on me. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say I developed gestational diabetes and was very sick. As soon as his 9lb 2oz butt entered the world I started working to get all the weight off. In fact, I overcompensated. He learned early what the inside of a gym daycare looked like. I lifted weights like a crazy woman. Power lifting wasn't really my intention, but I was damned good at repetitions and the weights just kept being added. So much so that I moved out of the women's program and into the men's. I was Superwoman and in better shape than I had ever imagined. But no sooner had I gained that lovely hard ab tummy than son number two decided to derail me. Even though I was pushing a baby stroller and running around after a toddler I was back in maternity clothes and fighting to keep my weight stable. And afterward I was back in the gym.

Now a few years went by, I had gained a little more weight and a lot more width around the middle, when son number three arrived. That did it. I got really serious and joined Weight Watchers. I still went to the gym but things were different. The weight wasn't coming off as quickly as I had hoped, so I threw myself into the world of obsessive weight management. In other words it was all I thought about and talked about. I counted everything that went into my mouth. I wrote everything down. I discussed every ounce of solids and liquids that entered by body with anyone who got trapped and had to listen. I was obnoxious, but it worked. I lost 40 lbs and looked better than I ever had. Then tragedy struck. My husband left. All the weight loss hadn't changed the fact that I wasn't in a happy marriage.

Over the next several years I had more stress, my profession became more sedentary, I ended up with a job that kept me working long hours, I had a bad second marriage, and I passed out of my 40s into my 50s. And the weight kept creeping up on me. I would lose then gain. After another divorce I got myself together and started working out and losing weight again. This time I was really going to do it. I was going to get back into those size 8 clothes! Shakira had nothing on me when I shook my hips in a tee-shirt and leggings! I feverishly belly-danced, hulaed, and discoed. Even my dogs got embarrassed watching me sometimes. They would exit the family room to find dark quiet corners in other rooms to escape the loud bass and the wild gyrations. It was working though. I lost 25 lbs.

Then I got sick. Really sick. Too sick to gyrate. I was diagnosed with endometrial cancer. There was no choice but to have a hysterectomy. I did. My friends who knew warned me that it takes about two years to get back to feeling 100%. In the meantime the weight crept back on. Then I found out about the wedding next summer.

Not just any wedding. The wedding of the son of my closest friend. The friend who used to be overweight and who moved to Florida and got thin and in the best shape she's ever been in. The friend who gives me her old clothes because they are too big for her. The friend who is ever supporting and encouraging whenever I need her to be. I refuse to be fat for her son's wedding!

I have seven months to lose 50 lbs. If I lose exactly that amount I will be thin enough to wear a sleeveless summer dress for an outdoor summer wedding. I CAN DO THIS. I WILL DO THIS.

And that piece of wedding cake at the end of the ceremony is going to taste so sweet!

Wish me luck. I'm going to need it.


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