I’ve been working toward Shirt Day for a few months now. I get close, near enough that victory tickles the tip of my tongue and makes me drool. But then Shirt Day slips away on the heels of an apple or maybe an extra serving of plain yogurt. And I start over.
What is shirt day? It’s the day I reach my first goal weight of 125 lbs. When that happens, I plan to reward myself with a new shirt. Probably from Walmart. Maybe Target if I’m feeling particularly flush.
And then I’ll set my sights on 120 lbs. Pants Day!
When I reach 115, I think I’ll buy something special. At 111, I’ll drag my husband off on a vacation. Maybe Alaska.
Now, before anyone gets all uppity about how 125 lbs. is a perfectly respectable weight for any adult, let me explain: I’m 5’2” and fine boned, and when I graduated high school, I weighed 111. When I met my husband, I weighed 98. When I got married, I weighed 105. Over the next 20 years, right on past my 50th birthday and beyond, I bounced back and forth between 105 and 111.
I could bike and run and ride, do barn work and yard work and keep my house spotless—do anything I wanted to do without running out of energy or needing to rest or being sore the next day. I was fit, and I liked being fit.
Then I had some issues with Lyme disease (understatement). I kept on pushing, stayed fit, worked my ass off maintaining my health while stunning pain hooked into every corner of my body. Meanwhile, I forgot who I was. I didn’t know what year it was or what day it was or who was President. But I still worked out—it’s part of who I am.
Then my thyroid tanked—not uncommon for people with chronic Lyme—and for three years, my hypothyroidism went undiagnosed. I still walked 5 miles a day, even though all I wanted to do was lie down in the middle of the road and hope a truck hit me so I wouldn’t have to get up and walk home. I gained 10 lbs, then twenty, then thirty. I cut my daily calorie intake to 700, and I gained another 5 lbs. in 5 days. My heart did flip-flops. My ankles adhesed and tore and swelled and turned purple. My vision went haywire. Everything hurt.
So I quit, told myself this was temporary, sat in a chair, and wrote a couple novels.
And I got pudgier.
Now the problem has been diagnosed and treated. All that is left is to see whether I can get this lumpy, sweaty, sore old body back into shape—to reclaim the person that is me. I know it’s not about weight, but the scale gives me an objective measure. It helps me to see how far I’ve come, and it gives me a goal.
One day at a time.