My mother, Ruth, who battled obesity for her first 69 years, re-arranged her habits to shed 80 pounds over the next three years.
With the exception of those who knew her previously, she refused to speak of this noteworthy accomplishment. One doesn’t forgo favorite foods, increase (or begin) exercise, deal with tamped down feelings, and in general, upend one’s entire lifestyle unless the result is deeply desired. It’s a lot of effort to revamp mind and body; therefore most folks find it worthy of recognition. As I said, “most” — not all. “Why don’t you let people know about your weight loss?” I wondered. Her answer: “I should have never let myself get so out of control that I weighed that much in the first place.” My mother was incredibly understanding of almost anyone’s shortcomings — except her own. “None of us are perfect,” I replied, “The thing is you tackled it. Many people your age would have just given up. You didn’t.”
“I did what had to be done, which I should have done a long time before.” Once my mom made up her mind, there was no arguing.
Three years to lose 80 pounds, even when accomplished in a healthy fashion, is still slower than the norm.
In part, that pace was the result of the parameters upon which she insisted. Although she took a practical approach — smaller portions, daily walks, group support — her speed was retarded because she refused to sacrifice desserts. In mom’s world, one always saved room for dessert. (Hmmmm, might this be a window in why I had my own weight problems?) “I don’t mind losing a tenth of a pound a week,” she affirmed, “as long as I can have dessert.” Knowing how strong however was the temptation to go overboard with goodies, she banished from her home the most problematic caloric treats, and compensated by buying sugar free or low calorie. However, she continued to have dessert after every meal. Enter Joe; a white-haired, mustachioed, elegant, dapper widower — who might have been lifted from a Fred Astaire movie. [Read more...]