"I've decided that perhaps I'm bulimic and just keep forgetting to purge."

-- Paula Poundstone

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Something has to click

A few recent conversations have me thinking about what motivates us to make real change in our lives.

Yesterday, a co-worker sat down in my office to tell me he’s proud of my weight loss and that he and his family have struggled with weight for years.

His college-age daughter is beautiful, witty, popular and obese, he says.

“Dad, I know all there is to know about nutrition,” she told him.

Still, for now, she hasn’t made a step toward a healthier life.

A recent note from a dear friend reads, “You would think that since I can barely walk because my knees hurt so badly that I would have more determination, but alas, it would seem I enjoy walking with a limp.”

And on Monday, I got a note from a Facebook friend.

“My daughter ballooned after her dad died (I think she was trying to BE him) and went from her wedding dress size of 8 up to 3X,” she wrote. “No one could talk to her about it, she called herself Jabba, and continued to wear her dad's clothes (shirts).”

Her daughter found the will inside to make the change, and there’s a happy ending:

“We just came back from visiting her, and while we were shopping I found that she's back in that size 8 again!”

So, what is the secret to success? What keeps some of us walking with hurt knees while others drop from size 20-something to size 8?

I think it’s different for all of us.

Forgive me for constantly referring to when I quit smoking four years ago, but it’s the one huge life change I’ve made successfully, so I fall to it when I look for something – anything – I’ve done right.

I had quit smoking once before that but picked it back up after two months.

When I made the change that stuck, I had the extra motivation of watching my grandfather die from lung cancer, and I was devastated. That’s him in the picture.

And, get this: He had been a smoker but had quit over 20 years before he got lung cancer.


Anyway, I just couldn’t imagine going to visit him in his last days and smelling like smoke as I gave him his final hugs.

As for weight loss, I’m certainly not counting anything as a “success” quite yet, but I do know that something clicked inside me, much the way it did when I quit smoking.

There became no “trying” but simply “doing.” I gave myself no choices.

I “woke up” after the worst year of my life to realize my life was, well, in the shitter.

After I lost my job at The Journal, I became severely depressed. My whole identity was stripped from me.

I honestly didn’t know who I was if it wasn’t what I “do.”

Plus, my Journal “family” – my only family in a 500-mile radius – was blown apart.

It was devastating.

It was also the first year of my son’s life, and while I’ll always be grateful for having that at home, it will also always be overshadowed by the depression.

Ah, I digress.

I’m back working, my son is happy and healthy, and I just finally emerged from the fog, I guess.

But I emerged even more gigantic than I had been.

So far, I’m on the right track, but it’s because it “clicked” again. It’s not poetic or earth-shattering, but that’s the only way I know to explain it.

What has clicked to help you make big changes?

Remember Aunt Barb? She found out yesterday that she has cancer. Please remember her in your prayers.


  1. Glad you are clicking and sharing.

    The FJ blowup touched a lot of families in ways that I am sure most of us have little idea about. It really stinks. I feel most awful for families like your own who had no control over the very tough situation at the FJ and I must admit that your wake-up call to lose weight is inspiring. The part where you said you were "doing" instead of "trying" rang true on so many levels when I read it.

    I am happy you have your current job and now your health in addition to everything else.

    Keep it up. You got this!