Since embarking upon this, my ninth journey into the land of Weight Watchers (and no, I am not exaggerating, although this is only my second uber-serious trip), I have lost a good amount of weight. Thirty pounds. This would make most people ecstatic. But I’m an over-achiever. I want to lose more quickly. I want to look and feel better about myself now. I want to be back at my goal weight yesterday. But this is not the case.
I’ve stalled during the past month, and although I have been going through some serious medication withdrawal/switcheroo that has messed with every molecule in my body, I still yell at myself for not being where I want to be. I should be more kind to myself. I should be more understanding of myself and those poor molecules. But I’m 200% German (100 from each side…that’s how it goes, right?), I demand perfection and precision from myself. And perfection and precision has not been happening during the past month. I’ve been a mess and my weight loss has stalled. I’m frustrated and angry at myself. Why am I still such a hippo? the nasty, unkind voice in my head screams.
Then, two days ago, a revelation of sorts. I was going through a box of items that were in a dining room cabinet at my mom’s house. I haven’t looked through this box since we emptied out the house two years ago. The box contained, among other things, hundreds of photos. As I was sifting though these photos, I found a snapshot of me taken in 1997. In it, I am leaning on my beloved Volvo and smiling at my dad, who took the photo. The car looks great, but what is most noticeable and striking about the photo is me. The photo was taken at my highest weight—more than 300 pounds. I stared at that photo, put it down, went back to it, got some coffee, took it out again. I know the picture is of me and I can clearly remember what it felt like to be that heavy with weight and anxiety and emotions I could not express, but I still cannot fathom that I looked like that. How did I let my weight get so out of control?
The how, of course, is a much broader topic. You may have to wait for the book for answers on that front. But the main thing I am taking away from the photo today—a Tuesday, my Weight Watchers weigh-in day, a day I know I will again feel a bit frustrated that I am still a distance away from my goal—is perspective. No, I am not at my goal. Yes, I have had a difficult month. But then I look at the photo again and I know that my weight loss journey is not just about a pound or two today. It is about the road I am on for the long haul. The road where 300 pounds is nothing but someone’s taillights in my rear view mirror and the destination is much closer than it was when I got into that Volvo on that day in 1997. The road that will lead me not just to a number on a scale, but to a feeling of accomplishment and knowledge that, no matter what, I am in control of the GPS, the radio, and, most importantly, the steering wheel. I will get where I want to go. And the girl in the photo will be cheering me on during every mile.