Last week, I decided to buy myself a pair of jeans for the first time in decades. Come to think of it, I have NEVER bought myself a pair of jeans. The one pair of jeans that I have owned for at least 12 years was a hand-me-up from my sister Traci when she lost a boatload of weight. They were sized 24. Boot cut. Low riders. Hated them. You can see why.
Besides the fact they were getting re-e-e-e-eally baggy, I wanted to see what size I actually fit in. Trial and error in the dressing room: if I could pull them down without unbuttoning them, they were too big. Three sizes later, I’m walking out of the store with two new pairs of size 18 jeans. Now, that might not mean much to you, but it means the world to me. I haven’t been a size 18 since I WAS 18. And for the record, I’m not trying to be a size 2. I already know how much weight would be too much for me to lose.
I never dreamed of being Miss America. I dreamed of being Ms. Olympia.
Oh, but wait…it gets better.
Four days later, I put on a pair of my new jeans….and I can take them off without unbuttoning them! Mama is still shrinking! I have never in my life been so ecstatic to make an exchange!
Do you want to know the best thing about this? That I finally have someone to support me while my body changes, and that means that I have a better chance of keeping it off. My weight has yo-yoed my entire life, probably because I got such mixed signals from my relatives. When I was dieting, I remember being berated with “you’re not hungry!”, as if my hunger was under someone else’s control. On the rare occasion that I slimmed down, the berating became “you’re awfully thin!”, implying that I must have a terminal illness. The one time I got down to a size 14, my mother responded by saying “I’m going to have to get down to a 12, ’cause I can’t have you smaller than me!”, I took that to mean that she wouldn’t love me if I ever looked better than her.
And I haven’t been a 14 since.
Mom’s words had a profound effect on my weight-loss efforts. So did Traci’s death. When Traci died, she was close to 500 pounds, and the process of getting her out of the house and eventually laid to rest was so gut-punching for me that I vowed before God that I couldn’t go out like that. For the first time in six years, I don’t think that I will.
Jenise is my biggest supporter. Always has been. Sometimes, I don’t even know how to handle that. But hearing her cheerleading throughout the video…I have never been this motivated before. I’m feeling very good about myself right now.