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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Up and Down (04/02/09)

TITLE: Being Normal
By Joy Bach


In my Junior High years, my weight was 140 pounds. Changing into PE clothes in front of all those other “slim” girls was humiliating. It was mandatory that we take a shower after our exercise. Slinking away into a hole would have been preferable.

Since we did not have the money for me to eat lunch at school, by the time I reached Senior High my weight had dropped to 120 pounds. Walking all the way home for lunch had its benefits.

Due to arrangements made by my church, I did not complete my senior year. I married in February and moved to another state. That is when the weight came back with a vengeance. During my first pregnancy, I topped the scales at 154 pounds.

Should I mention that I am only 5’ 4” tall?

Not able to lose much weight before the second pregnancy, my numbers went over 160 pounds. Within months I was pregnant again. After that birth, my weight stabilized at 180 pounds.

Several years into the marriage, I became very ill. My digestive system was out of kilter, making me afraid to eat. Eating caused too many ramifications. So the weight dropped off. I finally stopped the downward slide at 106 pounds.

Then my husband left me.

I had no money and a lot of nerves. Macaroni and cheese was cheap. I needed comfort. So I ate. My weight climbed to over 200 pounds.

My sister died at the age of 42…mostly due to overweight. At 5’ 2”, she weighed around 300 pounds. Her death got my attention.

I began to work on me.

At the same time I was struggling to change my lifestyle, I was scheduled to have a hysterectomy. I listened as the doctor explained that sometimes women gained weight after this surgery, I decided as I sat there that I would rebel against that theory.

You don’t gain much weight eating Jell-o. I lost 12 pounds in the hospital. At my first check up, I asked the doctor if I could start exercising. He suggested I walk to the corner and back. That is where I started. As my strength returned, I walked around the block. Then one mile…then two. I gradually built my routine to six or seven miles a day.

I changed my eating habits, eating my last food of the day at 4:00 p.m. With these simple changes, I lost almost 100 pounds over the next two years.

Several years later, I re-married. Now what to do about dinner? It was difficult to cook for someone else and not eat. He really wanted me to sit down and eat with him. I struggled with this issue for several months, even resorting to an appointment with a counselor.

This slim man explained to me that I was being highly unreasonable to not sit down and eat dinner with my husband. He carefully detailed how I could eat just a salad or perhaps just a little of everything. I wanted to ask him if he would tell an alcoholic to have just one drink. I was a “foodaholic”. But I remained silent.

After a weight gain of 40 pounds, I put my foot down. I needed to stick with what had previously worked for me. So I returned to the practice of not eating after 4:00 p.m.

Over the next year I lost 20 pounds. Then our life became very stressful. We gained custody of our granddaughter. Eating has always been my comfort. Growing up in a legalistic church, I learned that smoking, drinking, and drugs were sins. But for some reason, overeating was ok.

Before I knew it I was back up to 190 pounds. Once again, I needed to re-gain control of my eating.

My husband had gone on the Atkins diet. No carbs. So I decided to try it. I religiously followed the “carb counting” for two weeks…and lost ten pounds. But I could not “stomach” the protein diet (forgive the pun).

I finally integrated all that I had learned about foods into a way of eating that works for me. I am now down to 160 pounds. And I’m still on my way down.

According to the BMI chart, I am JUST overweight. Any day now I will reach that magic number that tells me I am “normal”. If I stay with my plan, I will become “normal” by the end of June.

I can hardly wait. Do you suppose anyone will notice?

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This article has been read 572 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Connie Dixon04/09/09
Oh, let me count the ways (times) that my weight has gone up...down...up...down. I guess that's why they call it a rollercoaster. Great job of covering the topic!
Margaret Gass04/09/09
Oh, to be normal! I identified with your ups, downs, and need to be comforted...though my weight hasn't gone up and down. At 106, I thought I was fat...and then when I was, 9 or 10 years ago, I went on a diet/exercise plan and lost 40 pounds and 42 inches! I maintained that weight for three years, and then life interrupted--my weight is up, but I am healthy--no problems normally associated with weight. The pounds didn't go on quickly, so I will not expect them to go away quickly...but they must go! Thanks for sharing your journey. :-)
Ruth Ann Moore04/11/09
I appreciated and can relate to your entry. There are many ups and downs when it comes to weight loss. All the best for June.
Kathleen Morris04/12/09
Thank you for sharing this! Wonderful writing as well!