For some reason, I felt nostalgic yesterday. I was looking through my bookcase for a book which would cleanse my literary palate of the abomination that is 50 Shades of Grey when I happened upon my senior scrapbook. I found so much I had forgotten--ticket stubs to Kirk Franklin concerts; birthday cards from my old pastor; even one of my mom's old business cards. It made me feel warm and fuzzy on the inside.
I was about to end my trip down memory lane when a picture fluttered to the ground. I picked it up and my face grew hot. It was me, sitting on top of my first car in my favorite outfit at the time--a Calvin Klein sweatshirt and Adidas sweatpants. Cute, but everything was in a size XXL and they were both skintight. I looked at my face and I saw that girl I used to be--lonely, scared and fat. And all my insecurities came rushing back to me.
My real-life friends could tell you the story: my senior year of college, I got fed up with not being able to shop at the same stores as my friends. So I bought the Tae-Bo tapes, stopped eating as much and hoped for the best. I went to see my doctor over Fall Break and she told me I lost 19 pounds. 19 became 50, 50 became 75. By the time it was all said and done, I had lost over 130 pounds. To quote one of my favorite movies: "That's like a whole Backstreet Boy!"
What no one ever talks about is the aftermath. For those of you who have recently decided to live a healthier lifestyle (congrats, btw), here are are a few things I learned in the process.
Losing weight didn't give me my "happily ever after."
Somewhere in the back of my mind, I believed that losing weight would make me irresistible to my crush at the time. Surely, he would finally see that the sweet homegirl could also have a bangin' body. I'd be a modern-day Cinderalla; he, my Prince Charming. Of course, it didn't happen. Though he was impressed with the weight loss, it didn't spark the chemistry. He still saw me as a homegirl, albeit a smaller version. When I got over my disappointment, I had to remind myself that losing weight was one of the most selfish things I have ever done, with good reason. I did this for ME, not for a wedding ring.
My body is not perfect and never will be.
I hate those infomercials. You know the ones I mean. In fifteen seconds, people go from marshmallow goo to the most chiseled person you've ever seen in your life. Abs, legs, butt, arms--everything is just perfect. And then I look at my own body. No matter how many tricep dips I do, I'll still have that jiggly action when I wave goodbye....which I wish could be transferred to my behind, because no amount of squats will give me the kind of perfectly round derriere that haunts men in their dreams.
But that's okay. For every imperfection, there are things that I've grown to love. Like, my neck. Or my collarbone. Or my legs, which look Tina Turner fierce in the right heels. They aren't perfect either, but it's all a part of me. Flaws and all, I love me some K. Marie.
I'm scared I'll go back.
Statistics say that more than eighty percent of people gain back all the weight they've lost (plus some) within a year. It's been around eight years since I started losing weight; give or take ten pounds, I've stayed in the same range. But that damn Trauma DJ haunts me. In my mind, I am just one order of fries away from blowing up; one extra helping of spaghetti away from those super-tight sweat pants. And that terrifies me.
Look, I know some larger women who look FANTASTIC at every size they have ever been. I mean, they shut down the fashion game even when they are just running to the grocery store. But that wasn't me. I didn't look good at my previous weight and I didn't feel good. And though my self-esteem is not based on the scale reading, I know I would be far less confident if I experienced a significant weight gain. So I'm always mindful of it. Always*.
Exercise is my passion.
Over the years, I have tried everything--running, kickboxing, pole dancing, yoga and more. I love them all. Aside from the physical benefit, it's an emotional thing. When I am exercising, I can't think of anything else. I have to be in the moment, concentrating on reps or distance or breathing. That means for at least an hour a day, I'm not worried. I'm not stressed out. I'm just in the zone.
Don't get me started on endorphins. If I could bottle up that feeling and sell it, I'd be a billionaire.
Healthy food is just awesome.
I remember being in elementary school and hearing my teachers bemoan their latest diet. Everyday, they would eat a salad and drink iced tea. No deviation whatsoever. They looked so miserable--and snapped at us kids so much, I actually felt bad for them. Almost made me want to share my Teddy Grahams with them.
Today, the possibilities are endless. I never had a mango or papaya until I was an adult. Now, I crave them. Ground turkey is the single greatest food creation in the 21st century, followed closely by spaghetti squash and mashed cauliflower.
I just wish they had never invented Red Velvet Ice Cream. Now THAT can lift up a bowed down head.
It's not a race--it's a journey.
Everyday, I find something new to motivate me. I am consistently challenged to go beyond what I think is my breaking point. I am inspired because I have inspired other people. Sometimes, I do get discouraged, but I don't stay that way. There's always tomorrow--another chance to do better, work harder and make sound choices.
That's the great thing about journeys. They never end.
*Except at Bam's house. I'd eat a fried shoe over there just because she made it. LOL