Sunday, January 15, 2012

This Fat Lady's Song

They say it’s not over until the Fat Lady sings. Well, this fat lady has been leading an unhealthy lifestyle. I have been sedentary. I eat too much. I don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, even though vegetables are really some of my favorite foods. I know how to eat healthily, in fact, I like healthy food. I know how to exercise. I know what I need to do to be a healthy person. In theory, I want to BE a healthy person. I can even picture myself looking svelte on the tennis court or playing in the pool with my boys. The problem comes when I need to act. See this much of me didn’t happen overnight. Yes, my family history includes several big boys and girls. Yes, I’ve “struggled” with my weight since childhood. Yes, I have a relationship with food. I love it and it LOOOOOVES me. I use it to soothe hurt feelings, ease the end of a stressful day. I get a fix from food. It’s not just fuel for me and therein lays the problem. I have carefully created this body over decades and even trained my husband how to help me. Even knowing what to do, DOING it is my downfall. And my body has been a willing participant, until recently. See, other than being obese (boy, is that a hard word to write!), my body has been healthy. Cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, etc. have tested normal – until recently.

Early last year my blood sugar tested borderline high. No big deal. We’ll keep an eye on it. Then my period (sorry guys – men can skip this paragraph if needed) started going more wonky than normal. It’s never been tremendously predictable, but last year my cycle was a monthly study of extremes. Last February, I went to the Emergency Room because I was losing a lot of blood. Eventually, I was referred to a specialist and a biopsy showed pre-cancerous cells in my uterus. A few months, a D&C and an IUD insertion later, we’ve got it in check. But what did the doctor tell me? “LOSE WEIGHT.” More fat cells in the body make it produce more estrogen which can cause cancer. CANCER.

I know each of us has been touched by cancer in some way – someone we love or loved diagnosed with cancer. Maybe we’ve lost our loved ones. In my case, it was my father. My daddy died in 2003. Now, the word CANCER hit me with a big club. It should have scared me straight. But even being faced with such a scary reality, the food was there to soothe my fear. My carefully crafted habit of eating through my emotions is protecting itself. What will I do if my way to cope with fear, stress, feelings of inadequacy, even happiness is stripped away? The thought of that sent me to the cabinet looking for potato chips or mustard and onion pretzel pieces. So I’ve thought a lot about it. I’ve tried to rally the troops into doing what I know is right. Yet still, every night after my boys are asleep, I sit on the couch usually with a snack or dinner leftovers in my hands.

So last night, in my usual post bed-time-scramble corner of the couch, this fat lady munched away on honey mustard and onion pretzel pieces. I was not hungry. I, in fact, was overly full from one too many tacos at dinnertime. I was thinking about this body that, although I have chosen it, it’s not what I want. I thought about my sore knee and poor foot that gets abused daily by the weight put upon them. I thought about how if one of my sons ran out into the path of an oncoming car, or simply ran away from me playing tag; I would not be able to catch him. I thought about how much I miss my dad and imagined my boys having to feel that way being so young. I thought about my husband and how he loves me and would probably enjoy a wife with more energy or with curves actually in the right places. I thought about how good it would be to not worry about the lecture from my doctor at an appointment. How good it would be to look good in clothes and choose clothes that way – not choosing something just because it fits. How wonderful it would be to just not be exhausted all the time.

This fat lady also thought about accountability. Or actually, I thought about the fact that I give myself none. Which after taking the long scenic path, takes us back to my original thought. They say The Fat Lady sings at the end, right? So, this is this Fat Lady’s time to sing - my time to sing to the end of my obesity. I was going to write that it’s the end of my making wrong choices, but I’m pretty darn sure that I’ll be making plenty of those. I warn you that it will most likely be a very long song. I have a whole lot more than just a few pounds to lose. Writing this blog is one of the ways I’m going to hold myself accountable for my lifestyle choices. My writing will be published for the whole world to read, if they so wished. The chance that just anyone could read this and make comments and maybe insult me or be disappointed is one way I’m keeping myself in check.

So keep your fingers crossed for me and wish me luck (and a strong will). Until next week…


  1. From one fat lady to another... Bravo! I have always looked up to you and you continue to give me reasons to. I love you and will be trying right along with you to do hard things.

  2. Thanks, SusieQ. Right back atcha!

  3. I'll be following your blog Amy and giving you encouragement along the way. You are a great friend and I want you around for a good long time! Love you!

  4. You are an amazing inspiration and I can't wait to be your cheerleader! 2,4,6,8- Amy Westbye, YOU'RE SO GREAT! Thanks for letting me be part of your journey, and I promise to be a better helper and not to bring you anymore lemon bars!!! Love ya girl!

  5. Thank you, my friends. It means a lot to me!