Happy New Year!
In the film, Freedom Writers, teacher Erin Gruwell tells her incoming class that they are going to “toast for change.” Champagne flutes filled with sparkling apple cider adorn one table; another table holds book bags filled with life-changing books for the upcoming semester. As she passes out the book bags she tells her students:
From this moment on: every voice that told you, “you can’t,” is silenced; every reason that tells you things will never change, disappears; and the person you were before this moment—that person’s turn is over—now it’s your turn.
As the students take their bags, each raises a glass to declare how their lives will change in spite of the odds that daunt their gang-filled lives. It is a powerful film that brings me to tears every time I watch it, but this time, that quotation resonated in a BIG way.
A new year: a clean slate. Whether it is my birthday in May, September (a throwback to a new school year), or the ball dropping in Times Square, I have always used these mile markers to take stock and adjust my priorities and goals.
This year, rather than resolutions, I was inspired by an email to make 2014 a revolution. What a difference a consonant makes.
I woke up on January 16th, exhausted from pain, with little food in the house because the mere thought of travailing grocery aisles sent my screaming knees back to bed. And then another email came, this time from Dr. Oz, introducing a two-week detox program. My body and brain were in serious need of something. I followed the program as best I could for several days with what I had on hand, and finally made it to the store so I could precisely follow the plan. My angry knees berated me for two days.
Today is DAY 13. I lost 11 pounds the first week and felt like crawling into a hole as the toxins surged through and out of me. I am still not sleeping as well as I’d like, but each night is a little better. Tomorrow is my weigh-in for the end of the second week. It will not be my last week on this program, for I am finally ready for a revolution of my mind, body and spirit and I am declaring it to the universe so I can’t weasel out of it.
I have been carrying around two-full grown people for the better part of the past twenty years. At least a person and a half for the ten years before that. But when Erin Gruwell told her students that, “the person you were before this moment—that person’s turn is over—now it’s your turn,” something in me snapped. I realized that the physical weight I’ve been shouldering (and boy are those shoulders tired), was nothing compared to the weight of all the people, disappointments, betrayal, remorse, anger, and fear that comprised those pounds. And so, in spite of the countless calendar pages wherein I told myself that I wanted to be thin again—and even when I would lose 10, 20, even 30 pounds—the girl I was, and the voices that whispered in my head, kept me coming back to the status quo. In a drowsy epiphany this morning I realized I have been most disappointed in myself all these years. Enough.
I may venture to figure out some of the demons that have kept me trapped within this wall of flesh, but maybe I’ll conclude that it doesn’t even matter. The only thing that matters is what I do today and what lies ahead. And though I am usually pretty private about my weight struggles, I am feeling brave this year and I know there is someone out there who understands all the tangled hope and doubt that accompanies weight loss and may benefit from my open declaration. Maybe I’ll even get brave enough to annouce the ACTUAL numbers on the scale, not just the pounds lost. But not yet.
I will be following Dr. Oz’s program to a “T” until I’ve lost 35 more pounds, and then may make some adjustments. Because SO many commenters on his site seem culinary-challenged, I am going to post some recipes. I hate plain Greek yogurt too, but have found ways to use it without derailing anything. If you’re following Dr. Oz’s plan, stay tuned.
I do know this: I am still tired and my knees still hurt, BUT: I feel lighter. I am losing visceral fat (the really BAD fat around your organs), and when I feel hungry, it is real hunger. For the first time in DECADES, I don’t just feel optimistically aspirational. I am not just wistfully remembering my 23-year old self when I weighed 130 pounds and measured in at 38-23-36. I can’t be a hot young thing again, but I can be a strong, healthy, beautiful woman of a certain age. I feel the fire that usually brings stunning results in my life.
Welcome to the revolution.