Posted on July 20, 2012 by Jennifer Lilley
It’s not every day I get emails from CBS News.
Ads for Target, yes.
Jokes from friends, yes.
CBS, not so much.
Time, it turns out, is a funny thing.
As luck would have it, the message came when I took a break from my obsessive “hit the refresh button every 30 seconds for new mail” check. In a rare departure from my need-to-know-now habit, I decided to mosey downstairs and take in a little Antiques Road Show. Then I read a magazine. La de da. Ate some pineapple. Just an ordinary, kinda boring, July 2nd.
At 10:00 pm, when I could no longer resist the urge, I checked my email. Sure enough, right around the time when I was knee deep in my Antiques Road Show guessing game (I bet it’ll go for $15,000, no make that $20,000) an email came in that stood out much more than any Bath & Body Works 3-day sale announcement ever could.
A medical producer for the CBS Evening News with Scott Pelley wanted to talk with me about a weight loss/maintenance segment based on a recent study they’d found. In researching the topic, they came across my blog, Flabby Road (Yay, me!!) and other stories about my 70-pound weight loss (Yay, Medifast, the meal plan that I used to lose those 70 pounds, or 245,000 calories, to be exact).
Mostly though, what struck them was the fact that I’d kept the weight off for over five—yes five—years. So they wanted to pick my brain a little more and ask some questions about me, a former Snickers bar and garlic knot addict, and discuss how on earth I beat the statistics considering more than half of people who lose weight tend to gain it back within a year or so.
So there I was getting ready to go into NYC the following day (better than my original plans to clip my toenails and mow). Imagine that. Just hours ago I was watching Mildred discuss her rare ivory shoe horn and pondering matters such as “should I lower the air conditioning now, or later?”
Then the email. Wow.
Flash forward 12 hours later, and there I was getting my hair and makeup done, having microphones attached to me (I felt very Mission Impossible) and driving with cameramen whose license plates carried the NYP (New York Press) designation.
Now for the update: as of this writing, the network has postponed the segment; they will consider including my taped portion for possible weight loss topics they cover in the future. I’m not going to lie and say I didn’t feel a twinge of disappointment upon hearing this, but you know what? It’s not a “no way on earth are we ever going to use your interview,” (I always try to stay optimistic; it’s a “no” only for now. One never knows about tomorrow). Plus, the experience alone—a day in NYC, taping in their studio as well as in Central Park, meeting lots of friendly folks—was worth it right there. I had a great time too because I was there not because I was struggling with my weight, but because I had overcome the problem. I was there because of my weight loss success and maintenance, and for that I was proud.
Not Forgetting the Struggle
Fun and glitz aside, the experience reinforced that weight loss can be achieved. It can be done. I realize that sounds trite, if not Vote-for-Me politician-ish, especially for those truly struggling with weight. I know there may be eye rolls at my seemingly Pollyanna-esque “you can do it” optimism. It’s not easy, you say, to just trade the kettle corn for a cup of strawberries. Trust me, I know:
I was the recipient of stares and sarcastic comments (About 10 years ago . . . Person: What did you do today? Me: Played some tennis. Person—with head-to-toe once over of size 20-something me: Well, it looks like you should play a lot more).
I’ve been in the car with my parents while the kids in the next lane gave me the puffer fish fat face expression, laughed, and then sped off. Those are the images that stick with you, the stuff you can’t just laugh off and chalk up to childish ways.
I used to pray that I wouldn’t be seated at a restaurant booth. It meant having to do some serious body wedging where the table, my body and the back of the seat all morphed together (much like the French toast and ice cream platter I was about to enjoy).
I’d curse my stretch marks (now, I joke: those light-colored wavy lines in my skin are none other than my wild streaks. Hey, we all have one—or 12—in us, don’t we)?
I’d cry. I’d eat. I’d laugh it off. And sometimes, I just really didn’t care at all. Another slice would make me feel ok with the world. Two slices, even better.
So sure, I may have been able to keep my weight off for several years, but getting there was not easy at all. It was a vicious, never-ending cycle.
So, How do you Know When It’s Time to Lose Weight?
Yet, I know: it can be done. Anything, for that matter, can be done. All it takes is determination and knowing when it’s time. Ah, that last point is a tricky one. After all, most of us already have the determined part down (“I’m determined to win, to retire, to forgive, to . . .”). But knowing when it’s time? Well, that’s a whole other ballgame and I certainly don’t mean any of this to sound like some magical “easier said than done” statement.
“When it’s time” isn’t so much when the childish jokes get to be too much or when friends hint at your hugeness by suggesting taking walks together. Yeah, you know they’re right, but what you also know is . . . it’s not time.
“When it’s time” isn’t when you realize you spent more money on larger size clothing and fast-food meals in one week than you spent on your family during an entire holiday season.
“When it’s time” isn’t when you’re so frustrated eating a whole sleeve of Oreos (after already eating half a block of sharp cheddar) that you just don’t care how you feel or look anymore.
When it’s time is simply when you’re good and ready. You. It’s not when the obesity stats say you should be ready, it’s not when friends say so or when the mirror says so. It’s when you are ready. It’s something only you know and understand, and when that time comes—which may very well hit you out of the blue, almost where you literally wake up one day in full “bring it on” mode—your energy will be unstoppable.
So now may not be when you feel like ditching the pint of ice cream, and that’s ok. You may, in fact, enjoy cold pizza afterwards. That’s ok too.
Because you will get there soon enough and you will succeed, I am sure of it.
Everything, in due time.
©Copyright 2011-2012, Jennifer Lilley, FlabbyRoad.com and Flabby Road: Moving on & Leaving the Elastic Waistbands Behind. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Jennifer Lilley and Flabby Road with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Jennifer Lea Reynolds
U.Jennifer Lea Reynolds is a weight loss success story who enjoys living a healthy lifestyle. A fan of the elliptical, roasted asparagus and remembering to put the lid on the blender, she’s appeared in many national and local print publications. She lives in New England where she writes professionally about health and wellness in online publications including U.S. News & World Report, Reader's Digest, Woman's Day, The Huffington Post, and more.