My hand falls on the cool metal handle, as I pull open the door and step inside the Moose Lodge. Early morning light cast shadows on the dull laminate tile that cuts a path to a long line of members waiting to “weigh in”. Clearly, this lodge has seen better days, but it’s a special place just the same. Each Saturday morning, I follow my ritual – setting down my cup of Dunkin’ Donuts, my coat, my journal and then I find my place in line with everyone else. My people. I am greeted by friendly faces with a “How was your week?” and a reply to someone else “You look amazing!” or a big smile and a warm “Congratulations.” Sometimes there is a furrowed brow, “Everyone has those weeks, the good news is you’re here.” In a word, support.
I need support because I need to know that I am not alone. When you have a lot of weight to lose, weight loss is more than trying to improve appearances. It has to do with the quality of your physical health for the rest of your life. I’m not alone. There are many people out there like me. If you were to see them out in the world you wouldn’t know – they look like “civilians” that is how we refer to people who don’t have food issues.
Weight Watchers has given us a powerful structure to ground our weight loss efforts. As my sister says, “At the end of the day, we’re all here to lose weight.” She is right, it’s true, this is a weight loss program. However, I’m finding that as I lose the weight I am gaining so much perspective on so many other facets of my life. I used food as a way to deal with stress (emotional and physical). I had to stay up late and work, I’d eat to keep going. I felt frustrated with (well, just fill in the blank), I’d eat. I was happy I’d celebrate and eat. Eat, eat, eat. It’s hard to write that down and look at it for what it is… I gained weight not because I was destined to be overweight, I gained weight because of me.
Being honest and allowing myself to be vulnerable before anyone who reads this post is kind of like trying on a swimsuit in front of an auditorium full of people. So, you might be thinking, Why is she doing this? This is the only way I know how to be truly authentic, I want to embrace who I really am. I want to make this journey real because I am all in. I want to connect with others who are trying to change the trajectory of their lives too. I tell you it’s worth it if this post can inspire someone to make a better choice, even if it’s only for today. Then it’s worth all the risks that come with vulnerability.
It appears that this is a world of branding, staging, and bulleted talking points. The irony is if that’s all there is (there is no substance) then, there is no reason to listen. The way to truth is usually through some pain – so if you are finding it difficult on this journey – you’re not alone. You’re not defective, you’re not flawed – you’re human. You don’t have to go it alone, you don’t have to be stoic and strong all the time. You just have to be real, and embrace the struggle. I’m finding that the more I open myself up to learning, as a child would, the more successful I am. The more I focus my energy on curiosity, wonder, and beauty the more that fills my heart, and the more I can put my heart into the journey. You can do this too, you just have to believe.
Here is a little collection of things that at some point were objects of great affection… it’s so funny what can touch the heart.