August 23, 2016
"Do you have some news you'd like to share?" she asked.
"Everything's going well," I replied, "if that's what you mean, but there really isn't anything new happening."
Then she said, "I thought you were pregnant." Oh boy! No I was not pregnant and I didn't realize I looked pregnant!
I'll never forget that moment. It was a turning point, truly life changing. Our conversation continued on, only to get worse and actually quite degrading. As if being told you look pregnant, when in fact you are not, isn't painful enough, she went on to outright call me fat while squeezing my "fat" arm to emphasize her point.
This was agonizing for two reasons.
- Nobody wants to be told they are fat.
- The person who told me this was someone I was very close to, admired and held in high esteem. I met her when I was around 10 years old and had adored her ever since.
In the year or so leading up to this event, my life had become hectic. I got married. My husband was active duty military and was TDY at Ft. Bliss, TX for training. I stayed behind at my parents' home in NC to finish another semester of college. I was also working a demanding sales job to help make ends meet. While I certainly enjoyed my school work and my current career there was little time in my life for exercise and eating well. In all honesty, I had gained weight. My formerly slim and trim self, morphed into a woman who was tired, stressed and 30 pounds heavier than she should have been.
While I don't agree with the way my beloved friend approached me on the subject, I am grateful that it happened. It was heartbreaking in the moment but it opened my eyes to the truth. Having felt such emotional pain from this incident I decided right then and there (okay, actually I cried on my Mother's shoulders for a few hours and then decided) to turn my life around. I made up in my mind that NO ONE would ever call me fat again.
I began to set my alarm clock an hour earlier so I could get up and power walk each morning. At that point we had moved to a light infantry post, Ft. Drum, NY. Most mornings 0500 (5 a.m.) were filled with hundreds of soldiers "ruck" marching the loop where I was walking. I felt I had lots of company. In a matter of a few months I shed the excess weight and was feeling wonderful. No one has ever called me fat since then.
I share this story because it was life changing. When that distressing conversation occurred I had a choice: wallow in self-pity and continue down the path of treating my body poorly, or make a deliberate change to turn things around.
What about you? Are you at a crossroads in your life? Are you at a place where you are tired of feeling uncomfortable in your own skin? Are you ready to look and feel your best?