My Story

If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you.  I came to live out loud.                                ~Emile Zola

Struggling with health and weight.  It’s the story of my life.  Mostly, I’ve made attempts at weight loss more than I’ve made moves toward health.  But today is a new day, and I’m ready to share my journey toward a healthy lifestyle with weight loss as a positive consequence.  And, just so you know, I’m terrified of sharing all of this! 

At 45 years old, I’m morbidly obese.  I currently weigh 281 pounds (Gulp!  Did I just post that???) at 5 feet 8 inches tall.  I wish I could blame it all on being big-boned or having bad genes, but I’d be lying.  My weight is a reflection of years of poor eating habits accompanied by a sedentary lifestyle.  It’s also, as I’ve recently discovered, an outward sign of my relationship to myself.

I suppose I was a little overweight growing up.  Although my eating habits were poor, I was physically active.  Dance classes–ballet, jazz, flamenco, tap–were an almost daily part of my life from age 3 through high school graduation.  Ballet classes, along with other forms of dance, were part of my routine during college, too.  These activities undoubtedly kept me from becoming severely overweight during those years.

After college, however, my physical activity practically ceased to exist, save for the occasional forays into attempts at weight loss and drunken weekend disco dancing.  I quickly gained and then lost weight repeatedly as I engaged in typical yo-yo dieter practices.  My weight went up and down, fortunately without serious health issues, until today when I find myself at my current weight of 281 pounds.

Although weight loss has typically been the Holy Grail, today it is just one piece of the prize I seek.  At this age, I am not only worried about losing weight, but also about my future health and quality of life.  As I mentioned, I’ve been fortunate to escape (so far) without seriously debilitating diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or the like.  The worst I’ve experienced are gallstones, resulting in surgical removal of my gallbladder, and a kidney stone (OUCH!).  I am not on any medication nor have I ever needed to be.  I know these days are numbered.

What will my life be like in 10 years?  Will I be able to squat to the toilet by myself?  Will my knees be so damaged from lugging around extra weight that I’ll need knee surgery or have to use a cane to walk?  Will I develop diseases I’ve somehow managed to escape?  Will my body begin to crumble due to the crappy treatment its endured at my hands?

Forgetting about the future for a minute, what is my life like now?  What are the activities in which I engage or do not engage due to my health and my weight?  Do I ride my bike?  The seat on my bike sinks down under my weight.  Do I take dance classes?  As much as I love dance, I am unable to move quickly enough to participate in dance classes.  Do I take yoga classes?  My weight is too much to bear in most yoga poses.  Do I participate in Pilates sessions?  My stomach gets in the way of Pilates exercises.  I am a master of excuses and rationalization and, frankly, I get winded from tiny bursts of activity.  I’m tired of this; it doesn’t work for me anymore and I’m ready to change.

My cynical self tends to think that this is just one more fling of the yo-yo (Here we go again…), but I do my best to shut that voice out through healthy self-talk, of course (Thank you, Martha!). Honestly, it would be great to focus on dramatic weight loss just to be thin again.  I mean, who am I kidding?  Being thin feels AWESOME!  But, what is driving me right now is not weight loss, but rather the vision I have of the all too near future and the quality of life I’ll lead if I continue making the choices I’ve made.

I see how family members have suffered due to health issues and I don’t want to live the rest of my life like that.  I want to live a healthy life as I grow older running around playing with my nieces and nephews and, someday, their kids.  I want to struggle with the regular pains of aging rather than those incurred due to my mistreatment of my body and mind.  Granted, I can’t undo the inevitable upcoming consequences of my past behavior, but today–this minute–is completely in my control and I’m taking charge.

I find myself in this place at what some would consider late in the game, but I’m happy to be here now.  I’m ready to face this challenge, so I’m taking action.  I’m eating healthy food, moving my body daily, and continuing to work on the gremlins.  I don’t expect this journey to be easy; I’m braced for the potholes and hairpin turns ahead (As Bette Davis’ character said in All About Eve, “Fasten your seat belts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.“).  It will be a mixture of feelings of pride, awesomeness, humility, fear, and sheer terror, but I am committed to sharing it all on this blog.  I realize that by doing so, I am putting myself way out there and that thought both terrifies and excites me.  This is how I’m choosing to live my life.  I am wholeheartedly working through this health thing and I hope you’ll come along for the journey.

With terror and excitement–xoxo

val

26 thoughts on “My Story

  1. good for you!
    it sounds to me like you are really committed to this. go val!!
    love that you look at this as a journey. that’s what life is, and it takes some time to realize that. it took me 37 years.
    love the blog!
    ❤ b

  2. I am proud of you. I know how hard this must be for you to blog this part of your life. Hopefully it will help you gain confidence and help you keep going. You are right losing weight is not the goal but an added bonus in changing your lifestyle. However weight loss will not be the only added bonus. You will gain confidence in yourself, you will also have greater mental health as well. It is a all new outlook on life itself. You are breaking down mental and physical barriers by doing this. I can’t wait to be part of your journey. You are an awesome person and it is time for you to understand, feel and believe that. You are on your way to discover who you are and what you are made of. It is a scary journey because you are stepping into the unknown. Most of the time it is easier to not change because it is comfortable. It is what we know not matter how unhealthy it might be. However once you realize you have more to lose by not changing, you are getting closer to get a good look at yourself and your life and make that step toward a happier path, no matter how scary and difficult it might be. You will see that once you break those barriers, you will feel so free. It is liberating. Looking forward to be part of your journey.
    Love

  3. Thanx for letting me be a part of your blog prima! I’m inspired by your guts and honesty, even feeling a little motivated to look at my own weight and health issues in a more positive way. I am ready to take the ride with you and excited to see where your journey takes you. Besos!

  4. We love you, Valerina, and we are behind you 100 percent!

    Thanks for including us among your “nearest and dearest”!

    Know that you always can count on our love, respect, and support!

    Abrazos, Tia Judy

    • I love you all, too! I am so fortunate to have you all in my group of nearest and dearest and so grateful to have such a group at all! Thanks for your support, love, and respect. I appreciate it more than you know!
      xoxo
      val

  5. Val, u r a very brave woman! I am so proud of you!
    It’s all about living healthy and living a full and joyous life. I too recently have made that decision. Just seeing all my father has gone through because of his drinking and not eating right. There is still time for us!
    Hang in there! I will be With you through your journey!

  6. Yay Val! This is great! It is really just about feeling good. Getting up everyday with the energy and clarity to do the things you want to do. Feeling bad sucks!
    xxxxooo
    J
    p.s. work is finally slowing down for me so let’s get together soon. Dinner? Somewhere healthy of course.

    • Jeannie!!!! Doing it! At least I’m already familiar with a lot of the challenges that will come up so I just have to deal. Some surprises are sure to surface, too. We’ll see! I’m glad you’re here with me! Yay!

      And, yes, healthy dinner soon. I’ll text you.
      xoxo

  7. Valeiters I LOVE the title of your blog (as I’m sure you know). I’ve been wanting to change my own eating habits and try to be a healthier person for a few years now and cant seem to get the ball going. Should it finally happen it will be because of you and your strength. Thank you for including me, I’m with you and will follow you all the way! God bless you and I love you.

  8. Val: You are SO SO SOO inspiring!! Takes a lot and you’ve got the talent and drive to do it. And now I’m so super hooked! Got to get me a vita-mix today!! Lots o’ love, Kat

  9. Val: Joined the Wheatsville Co-Op today. Thanks for the introduction and inspiration. You are my Amazing Guru! Abrazos, Tia Judy

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