Yes, that is me in both pictures. The one on the left was taken at my niece’s wedding on June 10, 2006. On the right, September 15, 2014. Big change, huh? When I saw the photo of myself in 2006 I became physically, emotionally, and spiritually ill, and I stayed that way until I decided to do something about it on July 1, 2006, when I got serious about hitting the gym, getting a trainer, and improving my diet. Fourteen and a half months later, on September 14, 2007 I hit my target weight loss of 80 pounds. I celebrate September 14 every year as the New Me, the Real Me.
How did that 80 pound weight loss happen then when it had never happened before? I had given a half-hearted effort to weight loss prior to that time, accepting before I even started with whatever trend I was pursuing that I would fail. I was not committed. My motives were external based on the mirror image, but not internal, and not based on the Real Image. I did not feel the need or desire to lose weight or be healthy on any other level.
Seeing myself in that pose in that dress, standing next to my then 13 year old son, I realized that things had to change, but more than that, I realized that I had allowed myself to get in that state. I received a wake-up Call. I would sit and eat bags of pistachios in front of the TV for hours after work, chalking it up to “job stress”, and would rarely get up to do anything unless I had to do it. Getting up out of my recliner was an adventure, and if I was going to make the effort to walk across the room or into another room to do anything, there needed to be a chair waiting for me in the new location, too. I watched myself lose control. I “watched” the (what I considered at the time to be) food go into my mouth, and counted each bite as glorious and heavenly without giving any thought to their long-term effects. I did this to myself.
I’m a nurse. I knew better than to let this happen. I knew the devastating complications of overeating and obesity. When I saw that photo it was as though I saw myself for the first time. Not just my outward appearance, but my SELF, from the inside-out. I thought back to all the days of eating non-stop in front of the TV, and of numerous (and all too frequent) fast food nights that we enjoyed with our children.
I began to question how I could ever hope to gain the trust of patients or students regarding health and nutrition while I topped out at such a heavy weight. I wondered about the message I was giving to future nurses, then I wondered if I would be around long enough to find out about the message they received. I wondered again about my children and the message I was giving them. They were headed down the same path.
I had a wake-up Call. Next time I will talk about answering the Call.