As a child–all the way through high school–I was a beanpole. A tall, lanky beanpole. Then I turned 20 and the beanpole morphed into a gourd.
I gained about 20 pounds. I’m 6 feet tall, though, so 20 pounds was easily camouflaged… until I turned 21 and was able to hit the bars and clubs. Since typical club attire does not include fisherman sweaters and snow pants, the 20 pounds had to go. I buckled down and shed the extra padding. The new me clubbed all night with the super-schexy at the hottest meat market in town, The American Pie. I had arrived, baby!
But the seal had been broken. Little did I know, I had set myself up for a lifetime of struggles with my alter ego and nemesis, BFB (Big Fat Beth).
Later, I met El Jefe at American Pie. We dated for a couple of years, got engaged, and I sloooowly became Bigger Beth.
Some brides aim to lose the dating weight before they wed. Bah! Skinny brides are sissy brides! I kept expanding. Surprisingly, El Jefe locked, loaded, and pulled the matrimonial trigger… standing next to Really Big Beth.
Within a year, Really Big Beth succumbed to Big Fat Beth. Big Fat Beth was evil. She got in my head. I had the reverse of anorexia. I could look in a mirror or at pictures of myself and think, “I’m not THAT big”.
I’d see a large woman in a crowd and tell myself, “Well, I’m certainly not as big as HER! You bet your sweet sticky buns I’ll have a funnel cake!”
A few years into our marriage, it was time to reproduce. After several years of trying… and failing… we sought the help of fertility doctors. During a consultation, one female doctor (with the bedside manner of a rotting troll) told me, “You are obese. I guarantee you are having fertility issues because you are obese. Further, fertility drugs won’t work for you because you are too fat.”
“You know, Dr. Name Omitted to Protect the Troll’s Identity, that flamboyant barrette in your hair isn’t going to buy back your youth!”
She was not amused, and I was severely beaten down. However, it was exactly the kick in the head I needed to see what I had become. She recommended Weight Watchers, and I joined the very next day. Nine months later, I had lost more than 60 pounds.
In her defense, I had peaked at more than 255 pounds by the time I darkened her door. In my defense, I lost more than 100 pounds and STILL could not get knocked up… even with fertility procedures. In fact, El Jefe and I banged our heads against the Great Wall of Infertility for seven painful years. But that’s another blog post…
To this day, I like to pretend I march into her office and report that she was wrong about the source of my infertility and that her field's overpriced medications didn’t work even when I was no longer obese. But I’m not bitter, or anything… (yes I am.)
Even I can see that Dr. Troll unwittingly saved my life. That was 13 years ago, and I have, for the most part, kept that weight off.
For the most part…
I have bounced around about 20 pounds… up… down… up… down. But I have never let Big Fat Beth take hold of my psyche again. Bigger Beth and Really Big Beth made cameo appearances. But I continue to hold off BFB.
I have re-joined Weight Watchers about 27 gazillion times. I’ve reached my goal weight a million times–and gotten cocky a million times more. Cockiness is a slippery slope. So is boredom. I lose interest quickly, so I’m always seeking the newest scientific breakthrough or trend. As a result, I’ve become a bit of a serial dieter. I have done it all: count calories, count points, cut carbs, eat clean, metabolic cooking, someone else cooking for me (Good Measure Meals). The cycle is always the same. I lose the fluff, get cocky or bored, gain the fluff, hear BFB’s thunderous footsteps approaching and rotate diets till I settle on something I can stick with.
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Sadly, however, the formula for healthy weight (loss) is: 80% nutrition + 10% fitness + 10% genetics. Did you get that? 80% nutrition! (Damn you peanut butter and sangria!!!)
But here’s the kicker: serial dieting, fitness, or even white-hot fear of BFB are not what have kept BFB at bay. You know what my secret is?
Beautiful People. I surround myself with beautiful people. Not just physically but emotionally beautiful people. I aspire to be as beautiful as the people with whom I am in love. My people are so pretty, outgoing, funny, genuine… sunshiney! Big Fat Beth is putrid like black mold. I am ugly, hateful, depressed… and alone when I am BFB. Sunshiney people can’t hang with Black Mold Beth. Not for long, anyways. Black mold is life-sucking and fatal to a relationship. My key motivator is to keep BFB banished so I can be as beautiful and glittery as my people.
The main person that I shield from the moldy, soul-crushing darkness of BFB is my daughter, HRH (Her Royal Highness). That girl’s beauty is blinding. BFB is not worthy of HRH, and HRH would not thrive under BFB's reign.
So… there it is. That’s my big secret to long-term weight loss. I had to find it in my head… not in a magazine, website, or diet book.
What motivates you to stay on track?