Wednesday, March 2, 2011

From Becky to Reba

Well, I'm very behind on introductions, but there's someone I would really like all you readers to meet. She's a friend and reader of mine, who back in January, decided to start a journey of her own. Everybody, meet Becky!

Now, Becky is my 2011 hero, because she has set out to do something that I know isn't easy—she's out to find her skinny jeans. I know she's going to be successful; in fact, I am saving my very own collection of descending jeans (size 20 to current) to pass on to her. I'm excited to go back, share some of her story, give you a link to her blog, and get you to cheer her on, just like you've done for me!

A couple weeks into January, I got a message from Becky. She'd been reading about my crazy life for a year, and somehow I hadn't scared her away. She was done letting the scale's needle of doom write her story for her. She was ready to be healthy and in control. Yes, deep down, she was ready. However, Becky and I are kindred brains. Just as my brain had required a few weeks to warm up to the idea of a lifestyle change, Becky's brain also needed some coaxing.

Consequently, we had our first meeting in the Valley of the Shadow of Caffeine and Sugar. Starbucks was a nice neutral locations, with no commitments necessary, outside of a frappacino. We talked and LAUGHED for a long-time, more and more convinced that our stomachs might have been separated at birth. I recognized the fear in Becky's eyes, the ice-cold gripping fear of FAILURE. Well, ok, maybe the “ice-cold” part is an over-dramatization of the frappacino, but I did remember all too well, the cynicism that had gripped me as I'd begun my endeavors the year before.

When we left the Starbucks, Becky's only two assignment for the next 10 days were 1) to think about all the positive changes that weight-loss would bring into her life and 2) not to go into oh-my-goodness-I'm-starting-a-diet-in-10-days-!- mode and eat like her life was coming to an end. This mandate perhaps gave way to our best laugh of the day, because she looked at me wide-eyed, and said, “YOU! Get OUT of my head!”

And I knew that was what she was thinking, because that is exactly what I would have been thinking. Ten days later, she arrived at my house to do our first Wii Weight-in. She had already cut way back on sodas and dropped three pounds. In the eight weeks since, she has started a blog, burned up a whole bunch of calories at twice weekly Zumba class, learned a bunch, and lost 22 pounds! Before I know it, she's gonna be ready for my jeans!

So, hop on over to, and watch Becky melt into Reba. This time next year, the twin brains, and their tamed twin stomachs, are gonna rock twin skinny jeans!

So What Now?

You're going to think I'm crazy, but if you've been reading my blog for any period of time, and it has taken you this long to come to that conclusion, you're a little slow anyway. Why will you think I'm crazy? Because after the day of the big race, and after I had schlepped (o.k., so it was a fast schlep), and after I had hung out in the hot sun waiting for all my buddies to finish their events . . . I was still up at 5:30 am the next morning; because I just HAD to see the sun come up over Myrtle Beach one time before I went home.

Indeed, after my race, I had found myself stumbling toward the TNT tent in somewhat less than a straight line. I was a bit dehydrated, and in all honesty, it took me about an hour to drink, eat, and rest enough to start feeling excited about what I had accomplished. I started making phone calls and texts, and just enjoying the activity going on around me. For more than an hour, I sat on the barrier near the finish line—observing others as they finished, and waiting for Cathy and Easterlan to finish walking 26.2 miles.

The next morning, as I watched the sky blush with the approach of the sun, I started to consider what would be next for me. This year I've lost more weight than I ever thought possible, I've become more healthy and active than I ever dreamed, and though I've faced some emotional and psychological issues along the way, I'm emerging a stronger person. What is it I want to do next? How do I make it all stick?

Now, I don't know how many of you ever looked at your high school grammar teacher and said, “When am I ever going to use this in real life anyway?” Well, that moment is about to come, if you consider the subject from the teacher's point of view. The first year I taught grammar, I had a cracker-jack 7th grade. They were all SO smart. I knew from day one, if I didn't stay on top of my game, they were all going to make fools of me. The thing that surprised me, was that as I TAUGHT the grammar, I LEARNED the grammar on a more dimensional level.

Oddly enough, I think that's my answer here too. I've lost the weight. I've run the race. I'm learning to live with the occasional panic attack. Now, I want to take what I've learned and help as many people as I can, to accomplish the same goals in their lives. I know what it is to transform on the outside, but I also know that the transformation starts on the inside. I want to be a friend and a mentor, to people who will in turn succeed, and to become friends and mentors themselves.

The sun rose that morning, weightless, into a clear blue sky. I left the beach enlightened, and with a renewed sense of clarity. In my bag, I had seashells for my children. This is my 100th post. In my bag, I have seashells for my children.