Brave New Me

I've been drafting this post in my head for a very long time. Most of that time was spent wrestling with it, trying to prevent it from escaping. Of course, the energy that I spent trying to keep the post it distracted me from other things that I could have been doing, like writing or living. It was kind of a silly thing to do, when you think about it.

But I was afraid. Seriously afraid. I was afraid that if you read this blog post, you would suddenly open your eyes and realize that I'm overweight. (Morbidly obese, to be more precise. If I'm going to be brave, I might as well be uber-brave.)

Being brave about weight isn't easy for me. You see, I grew up in a family where being overweight was considered a crime: where the men disappeared to weigh themselves and compare weights at family reunions; where the Easter bunny brought chocolate bunnies to skinny little girls and skipping ropes to fat little girls; where elephant jokes were anything but taboo. 

The ironic thing is that I started out life being somewhat underweight (5 lbs. 13 oz, to be exact). Then due to factors beyond my control (hey, I was a baby), I tended up being a chubby baby and a chubbier tot. I made countless efforts to lose the baby fat, achieving the goal that the insurance company height-weight charts set out for me oh-so-briefly -- the month before I became pregnant with my first child.

I'm extremely healthy right now (according to my doctor), but I worry about the future. I'm going to be celebrating my 50th birthday later this year and I have at least another 50 years of living to do. I would hate to die prematurely and miss out on writing the short stories and the novel I want to write. Or in seeing the Harper government defeated. Or in growing old with my husband and watching our four kids make their mark in the world in all kinds of magnificent ways.

Lately the universe has been sending me some signs that this is the right time for me to start getting serious about increasing my physical activity and trying to lose a serious amount of weight. (The feminist in me hates the fact that this conversation has anything to do with weight. We'll be talking a lot about that in the blog posts to come, trust me.) 

  • Three people in my life have lost a serious amount of weight in recent months, inspiring me to believe that maybe, just maybe, I can do the same. (You'll be learning more about them in the weeks/months ahead.)
  • I am in an amazing place psychologically. A lot of the stresses that have weighed me down (interesting choice of words, huh?) for many years have disappeared. I am incredibly happy with my life and, more important, I am happy with me.
  • I am feeling brave. Instead of struggling with my weight loss nemesis in silence (the result of years and years of fear, shame, anger, guilt, and grief), I am ready to reach out to others for the support I need to be successful.

Just so you know, I'm not prepared to make this all about a number on a scale. A scale will never measure my worth as a person. But I will tell you this. I would like to lose 100 lbs. When I lose that 100 lbs., I will still be heavier than I was on my wedding day and after I gave birth to my first child, but I will be at a much healthier weight for me -- a weight I can live with and maintain for the rest of my life. I think that's a worthy and achievable goal. 

If anyone else would care to join me on this journey (either as cheerleaders or fellow walkers), you're most welcome to tag along. (I'll be doing a lot of walking on my treadmill and in my community. I've already started, in fact.) You can contact me via the comments section below or, if you prefer, you can send me a tweet @anndouglas. 

That's it from me for now. 

Bravely,

Ann

The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
— Lao Tzu