When the news about Oprah’s slow, steady, and yes noticeable weight gain made headlines recently, I don’t know if anyone was surprised. I know I wasn’t — on the covers of her magazine she managed to upkeep a svelte appearance, but candid photos don’t lie. All the Spanx in the world can’t hide steady weight gain. The evidence was there, and when Oprah candidly admitted that she was back at 200 pounds, my reaction wasn’t one of disappointment. It was one of identification. I know exactly where Oprah’s coming from, with respect to weight issues. It’s a road I’ve been walking my whole life.
I think my first forays into weight loss groups and professionally designated diets started when I was 12 or 13 years of age. I had always been a big girl, but as I approached my teenage years, puberty exacerbated an already existing situation. I spent my teenage years unhappy with my body, and I’ve written about those struggles in the past. And all these years later, I am still struggling.
Every year I make myself an unrealistic promise that I never keep. I’ve tried pills and diets, bought books that sit unread, DVDs that go unwatched, and machines that sit untouched with layers of dust on them. I know now that I’ve tried everything except the thing that works — not just a controlled diet, but also regular, regular exercise. And here’s where I identify with Oprah — I have allowed my aversion of exercise develop into something else. Something that feels more daunting. For Oprah, it was a medical diagnosis that made her feel helpless and fearful of exercise. For me, it’s stress, an overwhelming weekly workload, and an impending deadline.
All through my teenage years, my father warned me — exercise NOW. Lose weight now while you still can. It’ll be ten times harder when you turn 30.
Well, guess how old I’m going to be this year?
The big 3-0 is approaching me with alacrity, and like I said in my NYE post – the time for excuses is over for me. I am no longer content to let life feel overwhelming, and to throw up my hands in despair. I am tired of feeling frustrated with myself. If it has to be, it’s up to me.
Still, there’s a part of me that’s like — man. If Oprah couldn’t do it, who am I? If a woman with a team of experts surrounding her, chefs to whip up her green drinks in the morning, the best trainer, whose job is to help her create “The Best Life”, and a schedule that surely she can tailor to fit her immediate daily needs… if she can’t manage to lose the weight and keep it off, who am I?
In Oprah’s own words: “If you look at your overscheduled routine and realize, like I did, that you’re just going and going and that your work and obligations have become a substitute for life, then you have no one else to blame. Only you can take the reins back.”
That seems easy to say, when you’ve got a team of expert jockeys to help you hold the reins in the first place.
What if you’re alone, riding a horse that’s always been own-way and wrongheaded? What if you’ve got a daily grind to fit your life around, and/or the added weight of a husband who loves candy, or kids who refuse to eat anything but mac and cheese that their mac and cheese loving mommy makes for them? What then?
I am gearing up for a daily struggle that I know will become easier with time. No more soda. No more junk. It’s time for water, fresh vegetables, and a daily sweat. I’m done with fad diets with induction periods. I want to cook healthy meals that I look forward to enjoying, that nourish my body and satisfy my appetite. I want to be happy with my body — cosign with the big O on that one, I want to be fit and healthy and strong. I want to take the reins of my life back, and do it all by myself. That’s my goal for 2009.
Oprah’s weight loss struggle, and watching her getting back on the horse again, has inspired me more than anything. Here’s why — watching Oprah struggle has taught me not to pin my own successes on any celebrity role model, or weight loss guru. I can learn from her struggles and certainly take into consideration all of the tips her team of experts offer to her and all of her viewers. But that’s as far as it goes.
The only person am looking to for motivation right now, is the person I’m looking at in the mirror. And I know she can do anything she truly dedicates herself to.
Are you struggling with weight loss issues? Talk to me — tell me what you’re trying, or plan to try. What’s working and what hasn’t? What are your goals for the new year?