Today, Valentines Day, I celebrate with my husband our love and I celebrate the greatest love I have found, the love of self. It took a really long time for me to get to a point of really believing I was worth it and worth loving. When I finally got there, a world of endless possibilities opened up for me.
February 14, 2008, was a day to celebrate….Valentines day celebration with my best friend and love of my life and a day to celebrate reaching Lifetime at Weight Watchers.
I joined Weight Watchers for the 5th time, in March 2006. I had tried many different diets over the years. I lost weight and regained the same weight plus more many times through the years. And this time, when I went back to Weight Watchers I knew I HAD to go. I had found myself in the kitchen, standing in front of the sink, an open bag of Oreo cookies in one hand and tears flowing down my cheeks. I ate those cookies, not even tasting them, while talking to myself.
And then I said the words, out loud, that made me stop—“Terri, you are killing yourself……and I DON”T care, no one does and no one will care when I am gone”.
Saying those words out loud, while shoveling the cookies and my emotions down my throat, was like a slap in the face. I didn’t care. And that scared me. I had to do something to change what was happening, to change the way I was feeling.
And I did. The next morning, for the 5th time, I walked into a Weight Watchers meeting. I was scared, nervous and ashamed. I had been to that meeting before and I didn’t want to see anyone I had seen before. I was so embarrassed to be back at the meeting and this time I was at the highest weight I had ever been. Something had to change.
I sat through the meetings that first year, which was the longest I had stuck with Weight Watchers. I learned to track my food, to eat the right portions and to make healthier choices. I loved my leader…..she inspired me each week and she cared about me and the other members. And that made a huge difference for me.
That first year I lost 20 lbs. 20 lbs! The most I had ever lost on my attempts with Weight Watchers. But I was struggling. I couldn’t seem to push past that 20 lbs and I still had over 50 lbs to go.
It was at that point that my leader gave me a popsicle stick…..she said it was to remind me to stick to it. I took that popsicle stick home and taped it to my pantry door, where my comfort foods waited for me to eat them. Later that same day, I got a call from a family member. The phone call upset me and when I hung up the phone the first thing I did was walk straight to the pantry. I wanted the peanut butter, chips, cookies…..anything that I could eat that would stuff it all back inside.
And then I saw it…..the popsicle stick.
I stopped without opening the pantry door and I turned around, sat down on the couch and then it hit me……I am a food addict. Food was my answer to anything in my life and food was the answer to how I felt about myself and how I dealt with the pain of the abuse in my childhood.
That A-HA moment changed everything for me. I realized in that moment that I did not think I was worth the effort it would take to lose the weight and get healthy. I was not worth it……I spent my young years and teen years being told just how worthless I was, and I realized, in that moment that I believed I was worthless.
I needed to change something. I sat there and cried, allowing myself to feel the anger, sadness and frustration. Then I grabbed my laptop and I began to write what was to become my weight loss journal—and I titled it “Stop Eating Your Emotions”. It was while I was writing that I decided I needed to start each morning looking in the mirror and saying 4 words. Those 4 words are the most empowering words I have EVER said to myself:
I AM WORTH IT.
I started the next morning. And I did not believe it. But I kept saying those 4 words, every morning. I did not believe them that first week, or the next. It was a couple of months of saying those 4 words before I started to believe it.
I am worth it!
I am worth more than that jar of peanut butter. I am worth more than the chips and cookies. I am worth it to go to my meeting every week and I am worth taking care of.
Those 4 words changed everything for me.
It took me another 10 months to lose my last 52 lbs. I lost 72 lbs to reach my goal weight. I felt amazing! I liked myself and I believed I was worth it.
The weight I had struggled to get rid of represented all of the excess baggage I carried from the abuse and abandonment of my younger years and my teen years. That a-ha moment allowed me to realize that I needed to sort through the baggage….one bag at a time….before I could get rid of the weight. And that is what I did those last 10 months. Each pound I lost was another piece of garbage I threw out of those bags…..each pound was another memory to get rid of, another person to forgive. And as I sorted through it all, I gained my self-worth. I gained confidence and I learned to forgive. The little girl in me was finally healing and it was amazing.
January 10, 2008 I reached my goal weight and 6 weeks later, February 14, 2008 I achieved lifetime status with Weight Watchers. I DID IT! I found “me” under all that weight and I found a way to love myself. I could not have done any of it without the support of my family, without my meeting and without the other members and my leader….all of the support was invaluable to me.
But reaching goal and lifetime was not the end of the journey. I am human and I still fall back on old habits. I still have some “bags” to finish sorting through. There are days when the old doubts find their way into my thoughts and I have to remind myself that I AM worth it. And yes, there have been times when the weight starts to creep back up and I find myself struggling to get back down to my goal. The difference now, today, in this moment in my life, is that I have the tools and the support to get myself back on track, to keep from going to far back down that hole.
I now work for Weight Watchers as a meeting leader. I am inspired everyday by those who attend my meetings. They remind me every single day that this journey is worth it……difficult, but worth it.
I still go to meetings as a member because I am a member first and an employee second. I still have that popsicle stick. I still start my mornings looking in the mirror and saying those 4 empowering words.
I AM WORTH IT.