Back in 2019 as I was approaching my 50th birthday I made and important decision. I was tired of not fitting into my clothes anymore and changing my outfits 15 times until I felt semi comfortable in my clothes. I’ll never forget getting ready for my friend’s birthday and wearing a pair of black slacks, a new blouse and a wrap to cover most of my body so that my high school friends wouldn’t see how much weight I had put on. I’ll also never forget how good my friends looked that night and finally made a commitment to myself that the following year, I would look and feel just as good too.
And so, I embarked on a journey that took me almost a year to lose 30 pounds. I know some people who have followed the program that I’m on — it’s called Optavia — and they took off the weight much quicker than me, but I had to do it my way and thankfully, slow and steady won the race. While I was a lifetime member of Weight Watchers — now known as WW — I felt like I wanted to try something new and after seeing a friend lose 25 pounds with Optavia, I was in – hook, line and sinker. She connected me with her health coach and we were off to the races.
The interesting thing about Optavia is that it kind of gives you a taste of all the different programs that are out there. You do eat food that they provide but you also learn how to cook great meals that are low in carbs and super flavorful. Plus, during your journey you are assigned a coach who will hold you accountable and offer advice when your weight loss efforts have stalled. Plus, there’s the entire mental piece to the plan which helps you develop healthy habits for life and for me, that was a total game changer.
I can’t tell you how much I have learned over the past 2 and a half years but I do know exactly what foods will add extra pounds to my petite body and I also know how to make everything I eat these days fun and flavorful. I even started a Facebook group back in the summer which now has over 22,000 members – all offering amazing recipes, hacks and tips to focus on your personal goals and keep your eyes on the prize.
I’ll be featuring some of my favorite meal recipes on the site and hopefully, if you like what you see, you may even want to try it out for yourself. As the saying goes, nothing tastes as good as thin feels. I hope you enjoy my stories and I hope it motivates you to take care of yourself in 2022!
I hate jogging.
There I said it. Despite the fact that I know that jogging can thin out your butt and your thighs within a matter of days, it’s one of those sports (is jogging a sport?) that I’ve always dreaded. And I think the reason why I hate it so much is because of my fourth grade gym teacher.
Here’s the sad thing. I don’t even remember his name anymore. But I remember exactly what he looked like — he was short with wiry black and gray hair, black rimmed glasses and he wore sweat suits to school every day. He was actually a really funny gym teacher and made many of us laugh while we played dodge ball or attempted to climb ropes. But it was jogging that pretty much put me over the edge.
At the time, I was pretty chubby. In fact, that was the year that the boys started to tease me. A kid named Keith (yes, I remember his name) and his friend Larry (yes, I’ll never forget him too), decided it was funny to start calling me Stubby Beth. And that name pierced through my heart like a dagger. At the time, I didn’t think about how gym class could help me shed pounds — it was just another reminder that when we all slipped on our shorts and t-shirts, the boys had their chance to tease me. And tease me, they did.
But let’s get back to my gym teacher. Every day when we’d start class, he’d line all of us up and then make us jog around the gym. While we jogged, he’d make us recite this poem:
Jog, jog, jog
Move your hands, move your feet,
Not too fast, not too slow
Jog, jog, jog
Whenever I’d come rounding a corner and my gym teacher saw me, he made fun of my technique. Here was one of my favorite lines:
“You look like you’re milking a cow.”
And yes, while I did in fact look like I was milking a cow, there were never any words of encouragement from our sarcastic gym teacher. Just insults and jokes that he thought would encourage us to run faster, keep our arms in place and get through class without passing out.
I somehow made it through that class but when all was said and done, I wound up hating jogging and all that it stood for.
I hated that I was winded every time I jogged one lap around the gym.
I hated that my gym teacher made fun of me whenever I passed him by.
I hate the fact that after 30 years and change, I still remember that stupid poem but can’t remember my teacher’s name.
And I hate the fact that I still remember the names of the kids who teased me and made me feel fat.
Which brings me to today. Today I started jogging again. Yes – jogging. I actually jogged for three songs on my iPhone. Approximately 12 minutes of jogging before I wanted to pass out or throw up.
I know jogging is hard. But I know that if I can keep with it, my thighs will thin down again. But that’s the key – keeping with it. I know no one will ever call me Stubby Beth again and no mean gym teacher is going to critique my running skills but every time I pick up my pace on the treadmill, I am instantly transported to that gym with that teacher and those boys.
And that dear readers is why I hate jogging. But despite my ill will toward running, I will keep trying. For the sake of my thighs and the sake of my butt – I will run like the wind and hopefully this time around, no one will think I’m milking a cow.
Since my daughter is now 10 and I can’t blog about the specifics of what goes on in her daily life, what I can share is an earth shattering observation about her weight…and mine. You see, my daughter is now in 5th grade – the same year my weight started spiraling out of control and my parents contemplated signing me up for Weight Watchers.
My daughter, who is now 4 feet 7 inches tall, weighs 65 pounds. When I was her height and was 11, I weighed 106 pounds. Yes, you heard me the first time. Four feet, seven inches tall and one hundred and six pounds. I was forty one pounds heavier than my daughter is today.
When I turned 12 and the teasing at school became incessant, I did finally step inside that Weight Watchers Center and while I initially had to lose at least 30 pounds, I grew four inches and reduced the weight loss goal by 10 pounds. And so, while I managed to lose 20 pounds, I have to say that in hindsight, I was very fortunate that my parents decided to take the bull by the horns and guide me along my weight loss journey.
Today, when I think about kids who are struggling with obesity issues, it often takes me back to the days when I was standing in their shoes. And trust me, it was not fun. It was not fun to be teased, to be out of breath when I walked up a flight of stairs, and to feel completely self conscious since I was one of the few kids who couldn’t fit into a pair of Jordache jeans or Sergio Valentes – and back in the early eighties, if you didn’t own a pair, you were deemed uncool for school. With the help of supportive parents, I managed to reach my goal and while I’ve always struggled with weight as an adult, I’ve never let the scales tip too far over the line.
If you’re a mom with a child struggling to lose weight, let me offer this word of advice. Take them by the hand and join a program where you can shed the pounds together. Start exercising with them – go bike riding, ice skating, play the Wii or just take a long walk. If you help your own child achieve their weight loss goals, they will never forget you for it. Just ask me. I’m forever indebted to my parents who realized I had a problem and helped me confront it head on!
So while those 40 pounds may be a thing of the past, they are a constant reminder that staying fit and healthy is truly a family affair.