(In celebration of Mother's Day, Amy has written this week's Elzer Family Update. This is my wife's first post and I love her as much as I love her unique perspective on our diet. There is no question in my mind that without Amy's passion and desire for our success and her endless devotion and support, we would all have quit this program on Day 4 or 5. On this special day where we honor the family matriarch, I thank Amy for holding my hand during this difficult journey and I send all my love to my best friend and soulmate. The photo above is a tribute to Amy and her mother, Mary. -- Happy Mother's Day!!!! )
“What’s your secret?” that’s something Steve and I have been hearing a lot lately.
It’s a question that always gives me pause.
I have to think about it each time it comes up in conversation. Is it the diet, is it the increased exercise, or are the planets in just the right alignment?
Like Steve, I have been heavy from childhood and I have tried numerous diets. So what is so different this time around?
Let me be clear about this; Steve had an epiphany, I did not. He was in pain for weeks. Pain, that the kids and I could not understand, suffering that we could not help him with. He lay in that bed upstairs, in agony, examining and re-examining his life and his choices. You all know what he decided to do, but how in the heck did we become involved?
When I said those fateful words in the doctor’s office that day, “okay, we’ll all do it!” I had no idea then what it would mean. Actually, I may have said it hoping Steve would reject the idea and go it alone as he had in the past.
Sure, the kids and I could stand to lose a few pounds, but I didn’t really want to diet. I didn’t really think at my age it would be easy or productive. I thought I’d have to starve myself, I thought I’d be deprived and who needs that? Rather, I had been subscribing to a “love me as I am” policy. I have a husband and children who love me as I am, what would be the point? Nope, dieting was not for me!
I decided I would just be happy the way I was!
“People come in all shapes and sizes,” I told the kids when they asked me if I thought they were fat. “You are so much more than how you look on the outside,” I would say. “You are funny and smart, you have lots of friends, you are beautiful…” I was becoming Stuart Smalley!
But my “Daily Affirmations”, weren’t helping, we were just getting bigger and bigger.
Steve was desperately afraid the kids would have the same problems we did growing up. He wanted to spare them. I wanted them to be happy, enjoy their childhood, and more than anything else not become freaked out about weight or how they looked. I wanted them to focus on being good people, having kind hearts, and improving their minds. If they decided later that they wanted to make a change, then let it be their decision, not something we forced on them.
I was frightened of giving them the message that they weren’t good enough, that we didn’t love them exactly the way they were.
So what changed?
Okay, get ready to roll your eyes and cue the sappy soundtrack! Love. Yes, you heard me, love. It was pretty clear to me that I wasn’t going to do this for me, I had many opportunities to change things and I didn’t. I looked at Steve, saw the pain in his eyes, found myself glancing again and again at a sink covered in diabetes, blood pressure and cholesterol medicines and I realized that he couldn’t do it alone.
If we wanted Daddy around for a long, long time, we needed to make damn sure he succeeded! I stepped into the breech for him, and I dragged the kids along with me.
I can’t help but think this makes me a fraud and a phony. I did this for them, not for me, so when people tell me I look great, I say, “yeah, but have you seen Lucas and Hannah!”
I expound on how my husband is no longer on any diabetes medication and he is being weaned off his few remaining prescriptions.
Sure, I’ve lost weight, but it doesn’t mean as much to me as what everyone else has accomplished. I search the internet for recipes, not because I like to cook, (and anyone who knows me, knows that I do not like to cook) but because I need to keep it fresh for them.
Everyday I rejoice at the hurdles they overcome, or steer them in the right direction when they just can’t imagine another day without a cookie or a slice of pizza.
Don’t get me wrong, I love that I’ve lost 50 pounds. I mean I really love it! I’ll admit I did a happy dance when I fit into a size that I haven’t been in over 10 years! But I realize that’s it’s not just about me, and in the past when it has been, it hasn’t lasted. So maybe I’ve had my epiphany after all!
The “secret” of course, is not the diet or the exercise: shock, surprise, those things work.
The key is the motivation, what gets you going, what keeps you going. It can be as simple and sweet as wanting to look good in your wedding dress or as complicated and intense as not wanting to be in pain or on medication the rest of your life.
My “secret” is my family, the transformation I see in them, the joy on their faces when someone tells them they look great, the delight over looking good in a pair of skinny jeans!
Ensuring their success, guarantees my own. No, I wasn’t going to do it for me, but I would do anything for them.
I’m a Mom, it’s what I do!
Copyright, Amy Elzer, 2009 All Rights Reserved