Sometimes, the path you’re on takes an unexpected turn. Like the blind date that turned into your best friend. Or the chance encounter that became a fantastic job opportunity. Or, on the flip side, the pregnancy that only led to heartbreak instead of joy.
My unexpected turn was a miscarriage. It was my third pregnancy, and I believed it would be as uneventful and blessed as the previous two. And yet, this baby’s life ended before it had a chance to start. The phrases that people used to try to comfort a grieving woman still baffle me. “It’s a blessing in disguise,” they told me. “At least you have other children,” they said. “It happened for a reason,” I heard more times than I could count. On the outside, I smiled and said all the things that were expected of me. I took care of my children. I loved my husband. But inside, I was lost and raging and struggling to understand. Life, for me, had started on a bright and beautiful path, and I did not know how to cope when things became difficult. I withdrew into myself, spending more and more time reading books or playing the piano. My husband would take the kids to the park to play, and I was more than happy to spend that time alone. My answer to all of life’s problems was to stop, eat a Reese’s while drinking a Dr. Pepper, and then decide what to do. Yes–my drug of choice was a little chocolate cup filled with peanut butter.
Thirteen years later, I can see that I have been given many other blessings. My daughter, my two sons, my marriage, my family. But that destructive path I began traveling so long ago resulted in a different, more sedentary lifestyle than the one I had known before. Those choices I made resulted in extra pounds I am now carrying. 100 of them, to be exact.
There is something cringeworthy and shameful about the number 100. I feel embarrassed even as I write it. I wonder if I will have the courage to publish this blog in a place where people I know can see it. How does a person get to be 100 pounds overweight without making life changes? How did I not see that I was on the wrong path? How did I not know I was headed in the wrong direction? The answer is that I did know I was headed in the wrong direction, but I didn’t have the will and determination I needed to fix it. It took too much effort to turn around.
My children have been gently nudging me towards health for a while now. Suggesting a walk. Suggesting a different diet. Suggesting a bike ride. Gently, of course. And always because it’s something they want to do. I have truly been blessed by how delicately they have handled my increasing weight problem.
Last week, I finally gave in and took the dogs for a walk with my daughter. It was a beautiful autumn day. The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and I had the best companion a person could wish for. The years fell away, and suddenly, I remembered what I loved so much about being outside and being active. One mile became two, and before I knew it, we had walked a brisk 3.6 miles. And I had spent two hours with my favorite girl in the world.
We made plans, she and I, to create milestones I could reach for. One: Changing my nutritional intake. Meaning changing my eating habits. And logging EVERY SINGLE LITTLE BITE. Two: A one-mile fun run set for December 3. Three: a 5k. Sometime soon. Just as soon as I can put a little more jog in my WOG. For the unenlightened, a WOG is a walk/jog, and right now, most of my WOGGING is walking. We’ll talk about step four after I make it through the first three steps.
100 steps. I took 100 steps in the wrong direction, and it will take me 100 steps to get back. 100 steps until the body I have on the outside matches the skinny soul I have on the inside. You see, I am a skinny soul hiding in a big woman’s body. I just have to find the courage to make the change.