Once I decided it was time to tackle my weight problem, I joined a gym and started swimming laps. It's so easy to write that, but I still can't believe I actually did it. Join a gym? Me? The word itself conjures up visions of that tortuous place where you donned horrible mustard-yellow "gym suits" and failed miserably at scaling those blasted ropes and poles.
I don't part with money easily -- just ask my husband... frugal is the kind word for me! -- so to plunk down $500+ upfront and agree to $60/month was a huge commitment for me. I was ready, though, and mentally I agreed with myself to swim three times a week.
At first the going was slow. I dragged myself to the gym. Once there, I swam in fits and starts, bored, easily tired, in a constant argument with myself. Seniors in surrounding lanes passed me easily. Lifeguards made for the nearest chair, equipment at the ready. Once, a friend knifing through the water in full Speedo regalia shouted over, "Don’t give up!" just when I thought I was doing pretty good.
For almost a year, I saw little progress. A year! I guess swimming isn't the most effective means of weight loss. Well, at least if you're more like a barge in the water than a skiff. Not only that, but no one else really noticed any difference either. I wasn't buoyed by the encouraging comments of an admiring horde.
Yet I was ready. I was determined. Now that I've talked with many people about their weight loss, I can tell when someone has gotten to that point. You hear it in their voice. It's time to act and there's no going back.
And, guess what? Those 30 minutes, three times a week slowly added up. Today, almost five years later, I'm 30 pounds lighter. I know, five years. Rome obviously wasn't dismantled in a day in my case. But I'm happy as long as the needle on the scale is going in the right direction.
Today, many thousands of laps later, I weigh 127 pounds and have dropped three sizes. Buying my latest swimsuit, I felt almost dizzy taking size 10s into the dressing room. (Okay, if it's humid and sticky, I can barely hoist the thing onto my body, but it's a 10!)
The lightness extends to my mood, too. I have a new relationship with food. I neither crave it nor fear it. It’s not the enemy anymore. Neither am I the enemy. I don't hate myself every time I pick up a fork. The enmity with my body is over, too. My debilitating back troubles are gone. And my stubbornly high blood pressure has dropped back to normal.
Although William Faulkner once said that the only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself, I'm happy to write about the end of my battle. I hope you'll know the joy of ending this one monstrous inner conflict once and for all, too.