Letter from America
by Ellen Neumann
Sullivan County, New York
26th April 2012.
I was born in the Catskill Mountain region of New York State; a beautiful baby girl I have been told. My starting weight was a healthy 6 pounds 7 ounces. As I grew it became obvious to all that I would be tall; very tall. I was a skinny kid, always head and shoulders above my peers. I was a bit awkward and clumsy; forever tripping over my super-long legs and big feet. I reached my adult height by the time I was a teenager and remained thin. I evolved into a fairly attractive person. I liked the way I looked, never gave my weight much thought actually. I married, had children and although I gained weight with pregnancy, I never felt gross or especially fat. I worked outside of my home for 25 years in a job that was physically challenging which in retrospect was a good thing. Working hard helped me to keep in shape. I have been retired from that job for 14 years now and Oh Baby! You should see me now!
I am now what I consider to be grossly overweight. I could blame it on the fact that I have quit smoking due to a life-threatening illness two years ago. I could blame it on the fact that I have been through a lot of extremely stressful situations over the past five years. The illness and subsequent death of several of my dearest loved ones, a critical illness that almost took my own life and a demon cancer that rocked my entire family [we beat that one, God is good]. I could use these things as excuses for my ever-spreading bottom and a tummy that has taken over my entire midsection. I could say that I am depressed and sad because of all these things that have touched my life. I am not. I have rolled with these punches and popped up on my feet. I am stronger for having survived them. I am basically a happy person. “Then why are you getting fat?” you ask.
The truth is that I am lazy. I have gone on diets several times over the past 10 years and each time lost a respectable amount of weight. My clothes fit me nicely; my step became lighter and my smile broader. I was able to stick to the diet rigidly for say 3-4 months. The numbers on the scale spiraled downward rapidly for that period of time then started to slow. I could no longer continue to lose weight without increasing my exercise. At that point Failure knocked at my door. Instead of bolting that door, getting up off this computer chair and getting some exercise, I opened the door just a bit and let Failure slip in. Soon the door was wide open. The weight loss stopped and I started eating improperly again. I gained back all the weight I had worked so hard to lose and then some more.
I would like to say that I have “seen the light”, started walking, exercising, shooting hoops or something that would help to whip this tired pudgy body of mine into shape. Oh yeah, I would love to say that! I wish I could say I curbed my appetite, thrown out all the fattening foods and turned over a new leaf (of lettuce?). I could say those things, but they would be big fat lies. I am still sitting here at this computer many hours each day; sometimes doing worthwhile things (eds note here: worthwhile things like writing articles for DPNlive) and sometimes jerking around. I continue to make poor choices when eating. The most exercise I am getting is walking to my car and turning the key. I am not proud of these things, I am not bragging about my laziness and lethargy. I am merely stating the cold hard facts of my existence.
I have now been diagnosed with pre-diabetes. This means if I do not lose weight, I will be shooting needles into my body in the not-to-far-away future. I don’t want that to happen. I can turn this around if I change my evil ways. I am not so far gone that I can’t exercise. I am just plain lazy. My doctor has told me this. I may have to consider the possibility that I can’t achieve this weight loss on my own and seek help. A gym or a support group of some sort might be the answer. I am not sure if that is the way to for me to go. I have always been extremely independent and shun the idea of needing others to do for me what I should be able to accomplish on my own. I am struggling with that part of it. I am not sure what path is right for me.
One thing I can say with certainty: It’s not too late for me to change. I want to get it right this time and I want this to be the last time. I am indeed still breathing so all things are possible. Let the diet begin! OK! OK! The politically correct term is now “Lifestyle Change”, I know, I know! This time I am determined to get it right.
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