In our ongoing quest to keep open the dialogue of weight maintenance, AIM opened a new forum a few months ago, “Ask Us (Almost) Anything,” for you to share ideas or questions you’d like us to address in future posts. Last month we talked about grocery shopping. This month, on our one-year AIM anniversary, we wanted to address the question that takes us back all the way to the beginning: “What was your ‘last straw’ moment, or your kick in the butt, or whatever it was that finally made you say ‘I just have to do this!'”
Some of you know my “last straw” story. I wrote about it in “One Thing,” and I’ve discussed it in several interviews over the years. In 2004, I had thought carefully over the course of several months about whether to lose weight or to accept my body at 300 pounds and forget about it. But it was a photograph of my daughter and me in December 2004 at her 20th birthday dinner that opened my eyes to the broader aspect of weight and self-acceptance.
When I reread “One Thing” this week in preparation for this post, I read it with a 9-year perspective. A lot has happened since that fate-filled photo was taken. In nine years, I’ve lost weight (perhaps too much) and I’ve gained some back. But what was true then is still true today: true love transcends weight.
Transcendence Part One: The people I most admire are those who love themselves. Period. They don’t use the words “if only…” or “despite…” or “but…” when speaking about themselves. What I learned in my months-long journey to my decision to lose weight was that if I wasn’t my own best friend, the person I loved most in this world, then I couldn’t lose weight and keep it off because I would be doing it for some other reason or person besides me. If I was going to take my body down that scale, my heart had to be the captain of the weight-loss ship.
Transcendence Part Two: The other folks I most admire are those who love others unconditionally. Like those who love themselves unconditionally, the people who love others unconditionally also don’t use the words “if only…” or “despite” or “but…” when speaking of the people they love. The last straw, that moment I started understanding the impact of weight on my life, was when I understood that my children loved me no matter what I looked like.
Here’s what I wrote: “At first glance I did the usual, ‘How could you let yourself get that big?’ self-flagellating ritual. Then something caught my eye. Something bigger than my third chin. Cassie had placed her cheek next to mine and she was beaming. She was happy because she was with her mother on her birthday. Not her morbidly obese mother, her ill-dressed mother, her isolated, guarded, self-loathing mother – those were my descriptors. Cassie loved me just the way I was.”
Goodness knows I’m not perfect, and it seems I’m always learning the lessons of loving myself and allowing others to love me, but the teaching had to start somewhere. And for me, it started with that photo, the mother of all “Aha!” moments.
Do you have a “last straw” moment? And are you committed to loving yourself…JUST AS YOU ARE? Share a comment with us here.
AIM: Adventures in Maintenance is Lynn, Lori, Debby, Shelley, and Cammy, former weight-loss bloggers who now write about life in maintenance. We formed AIM to work together to turn up the volume on the issues facing people in weight maintenance. We publish a post on the same topic on the first Monday of each month. Let us know if there is a topic you’d like us to address!