Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Appreciating What I Have

The best part of camping is campfires and the warmth that comes from them, the conversations that can be had around them, and the irresistible food that can be cooked on them.

The second best part of camping is finally coming home to my own shower where the hot water is abundant and I don’t have to worry about whether or not someone can catch a glimpse of my butt through the tiny crack between the cinder block wall and plastic curtain.

Jon and I went camping with a few friends over Memorial Day Weekend. We drank beer, played Cornhole, ate s’mores, walked around the lake, and slept through a thunderstorm. It was probably the best time I have ever had while camping and it was a much-needed retreat from the stress and uncertainty of the last few months.

The weekend also marked the one-year anniversary of the beginning of my weight loss. I made exercise a priority after our Memorial Day Camping Trip 2008 and I started learning about nutrition and viewing my body as a calorie-burning machine as opposed to a nuisance shortly thereafter. Since then I’ve lost a total of 66 pounds. I weighed a staggering 242 pounds last May and I’m now down to 176 pounds. One year ago my favorite pair of jeans were a size 22 and I now fit into a size 12. I started off as morbidly obese and now I’m simply overweight. I used to look in the mirror and see a girl who had given up over a decade ago. Now I look in the mirror and see a woman who loves food but does her best to keep it in check.

I constantly have to do a double take when I look at those numbers because I can’t believe I—the queen of giving up long before trying—actually did this. I think my saving grace was that I actually found it all fun and interesting. Somehow I turned fitness and nutrition into a hobby so I wouldn’t see it as a chore. If I had done this before I was ready or without reading every nutrition-based book I could get my hands on I wouldn’t be where I am, and I certainly wouldn’t be so adamant and eager to continue on to my goal or sustain this new lifestyle. My moment was right and I can’t put into words how proud I am of myself for taking advantage of that moment and making the most of it.

The biggest surprise of the weekend came on Saturday night while we were all congregating around the grill. Our friends presented me with a small green envelope with “Congratulations Kate!” printed in cursive font on the cover. Inside the envelope was a card congratulating me on my weight loss, a personal, hand-written message from each friend, and a Target gift card to aid me in replacing my now defunct wardrobe.

It was one of the sweetest things anyone had ever done for me, and it was hard not to cry from the sheer surprise, kindness, and overwhelming excitement I felt running through me as I realized what had happened.

Thirteen long years ago I entered a bout of depression. The depression helped me convince myself that I didn’t have any friends and it packed on pounds faster than I knew possible. I was able to convince myself that nothing about me mattered. But here I am, thirteen years later, shedding weight by convincing myself that I do matter and receiving wonderful encouragement through friends I didn’t believe could exist. I can't help but be moved by the realization that they think I matter too.

Thanks, guys! What probably seems like a small gesture to you means more to me than I could ever say. I think I said it best with my initial reaction when opening the card--You all ROCK!

1 comment:

Stacy said...

You're welcome! Sorry I wasn't there to witness the reaction! Unfortunately, camping is quite clearly a "couples" thing, and the last thing I want to do is bunk with Stephanie and Dave in their tent since I'm already in their house. (-;