To: 2010 From: Lynn I’m not going to miss you. But I am grateful for your lessons, which have made me a stronger person. Just do me a favor and don’t talk to 2011 on your way out the door tonight. I’d like 2011 to come into my life fresh and without bias, OK? Thanks.
Tomorrow marks six years since I began my life-changing journey from morbidly obese to thin. It’s a road with miles of unpaved stretches, but none have been as long as the stretch of road that is (and soon to be was) 2010, a year of many “Come to Jesus” moments in which I stared dumbfounded at the crossroad before me.
Soon after the new year, my left knee started slipping and I’d grown a cyst the size of a golf ball. I also tore both of my biceps tendons…again. I was only able to exercise 3-4 hours a week as opposed to my normal 7+. “Even as my body becomes more imperfect,” I wrote in April , “it remains a body in maintenance, and because I only get one body, the imperfections and maintenance must learn to coexist, and like rivaling siblings, learn to live under the same roof…
“Some days I feel like a 15th century sailor adrift somewhere in the Pacific with an albatross around my neck. I want to trust what I’ve learned in the last five years, but honestly, I’m a little worried that these ligament/tendon/joint issues might call out the old me who’s MO was to give up, give in and stop focusing when she couldn’t walk and chew gum at the same time. I don’t feel like and certainly don’t think like that person anymore, especially since I’m more attuned with my body. God knows I want more than the old status quo. But still the question lingers: What if?” I’m usually a pretty optimistic and happy person, but I reached a point in May where I could no longer ignore the anger simmering inside. From my post, “ On The Other Side of Weight, Displaced Anger Still Exists ”:
“I haven’t wanted to explore this, mostly because there’s not a damn thing I can do about it now and I can’t change the past. But the question is begging to be asked, the question I’ve avoided since making goal three years ago: Do I have all this arthritis in my knees, shoulders, wrists and toes because I was overweight and obese for so many years? Like stretch marks and loose skin, is arthritis my daily reminder that, for years, I fed my insatiable desire for starches and sweets; gained and lost and gained and lost a lot of weight; and for the most part treated my body like it was separate from me?
“The answer is probably not a resounding yes, but it’s not no either. I am, in many ways, responsible for the shape of my body now. The choices I made about diet and exercise and the things I declared acceptable (basically ignoring the weight elephant in the middle of the room) accelerated the degeneration of my knees and feet, and perhaps contributed to the degeneration of my wrists and shoulders. And right now, that truth feels pretty shitty.
“No matter how much weight I’ve lost, no matter how far removed I am physically from 300 pounds, I am and will continue to live with the consequences of my obesity.”
I stepped up to the surgical plate in June for a knee debridement. Convinced I would gain weight, I worried. I’m good at that. If they gave degrees for worrying, I’d have a Ph.D. But like John Hiatt sings, “Have a little faith in me…” A little faith, as I learned, goes a long way.
“One of my biggest concerns about having knee surgery wasn’t the procedure itself,” I wrote in August . “Rather, it was how my body would react to greatly reduced movement and whether I would succumb to Old Me Habits. Would I become dubious? Eat more because I was immobile and feeling sorry for myself? Reward and/or soothe myself with food? (‘You’ve been through so much, Lynn, honey. You deserve some chocolate.’) While I’ve maintained my weight for more than three years, I’ve not yet been challenged. Would New Me persevere?
“I can maintain…This isn’t like the time before and the time before that and the time before that. This is New Me, not Old Me. Go New Me!”
2010 also brought with it several personal challenges, but as I bid farewell to this year, I do it with a grateful heart. I am glad for the lessons of 2010 and particularly for a resilient body, for if there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s to never take my body for granted. RTR reader Annimal wrote this more eloquently than I ever could:
“I have recently taken a job as a hospice nurse. Every day I care for people whose bodies have simply given out on them. Time, wear, age or rotten draw of the genetic pool have left them unable to walk, sit up, feed themselves, talk.
“Those with intact minds pray to die in their sleep, some slip quietly into blessed unawares.
“Be grateful for the five miles you can bike. The fact that you are able to check your own mail. That you can bake a cake and present it to your family. We all can rue what we feel we ‘can’t’ do anymore; it takes faith to feel blessed with what we can do.”
Do all you can to be the best you in 2011. Thank you for your continued readership and support. Wishing you good health.