Dear Blog World,
When I began losing weight, I knew nothing of blogs. It was 2005 and I was just shy of oblivious to web activity that didn’t include email, People.com, and AIM. I had my priorities, we’ll say. For the first six months, I was largely on my own. I worked out, I ate lighter, I ate better, I made vision boards for inspiration. And at first, I talked to friends about it. There was always someone who shared the desire to lose weight, or at least to shape up and get healthy. It’s not hard to jump on a bandwagon; I’ve done it many, many times. That sense of support was uplifting. There was someone who’d knowingly nod when I said I was too tired to work out, too sad to eat a salad, too mad to stay motivated. Or someone to go with me to the gym. Like any other big goal, it’s consuming; it’s hard if you’re going it alone.
But after a while, the friends that were with me in the very beginning in trying to lose weight, they fell off our wagon. Maybe they took breaks, maybe they got bored, maybe they weren’t ready. It was okay. I knew that losing 135 lbs wasn’t going to breeze by and I reconciled that the work began and ended with me. Just me.
I chugged along and thirteen months after starting, I was literally half of my original size. Most of my friends didn’t even weigh as much as I’d just shed. I was that person who might grace the cover of People Magazine at the start of the New Year, one of those folks who lost seven thousand million pounds combined. Altogether thrilled and devastated at the newness, I took to the internet. A college friend’s registered dietician sister was now journaling what she ate daily on a blog for Self.com. Eat Like Me, as it was (and still is) called. The intention was to show a balanced and normal, healthy way of eating. I was immediately hooked. From there, I found other blogs discussed in the comment section. On to KathEats and EatLiveRun and HealthyTippingPoint and on and on and on.
And what I loved the most was that I felt alike. There’s a bonding that happens in shared experience, a tremendous calm and comfort that comes with fitting in and finding empathy. In truth, it’s the entire reason I love blogging now. Yes, I love posting recipes. I love cooking; I love baking til the sugar covers my floor like a white sand beach, and I love being absolutely out of my mind and showcasing that on a public domain. But those things, to me, mean far less than the grit of what I share about weight, about loss, about life.
It’s not that weight is more important. It’s not that weight loss and diets are consuming and worth complete attention. It’s the sharing. It’s making it known that this is what I felt, this is what I did, and oh how I cried or smiled, and maybe, just maybe, you’ll find a sense of peace somewhere in my mess.
I have trouble sharing my everyday life. I wind up thinking it’s not enough, not interesting enough to make a page. Maybe I’m scared you wouldn’t want to know what I ate for lunch, what Daniel told me about my hair in the morning, the logistics of my work, the way I eat straight from the pint at night. But yet writing nothing short of a novella about my emotional state after having lost 135lbs feels easier. More worthwhile. I suppose I think you’ll gain something from my loss. You’ll be able to do it, possibly better, possibly easier, possibly feeling more sane and normal, knowing what I’ve said about the journey.
Because that’s what happened for me. I read blogs and felt supported. It is really really easy to embark on a new path in life and to lose sight of everything else. When you’re losing weight, or giving any sort of addiction up, you tend to focus on that one aspect of yourself. It clouds the view of everything else. And maybe you isolate. I know I have a tendency to do this. My dad, years and years ago, whenever he tried to move beyond his alcoholism, it was as if that was the only thing he was able to do. He couldn’t go out, he couldn’t try new things, he couldn’t do much of anything outside of focusing on not drinking.
When I first lost the weight, I felt this sense of focus. It felt almost as if life was always getting in my way.
Hi, excuse me, Life? Umm…you’re blocking my weight loss. Can you move to the left five inches? Ooo just a smidge more..yup…to the left…nope still blocking my maintenance…oh OK hold still! Great, thanks. Just stay there til I tell you to move.
I couldn’t live this way. I had to find a balance. A way of living and being lighter and letting change and spontaneity live peaceably under one roof.
And like an outreached hand when you’ve fallen and don’t know how you’ll get up, blogs are there. I found friends, and support, and examples of people who not only knew what I was going through, but knew how to move on and forward. People who understood and exemplified eating both carrots and cupcakes and still moving everyday. A middle place.
There exists an online community for nearly everything, and I found mine in healthy living. In no small way, blogs have helped me stay here, 135lbs down from where I started.
So thank you to everyone who comes here and stays with me. For all the blogs and bloggers who inspire me and have kept me going for nearly six years. Thank you for being a part of my life and making me feel semi-normal, understood, and supported. Thank you thank you thank you. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Very truly yours,