"I have worried about you for years, Tara. You have always been so confident and comfortable with yourself that I didn't think you would ever decide to lose weight."
My friend, Marjy, is lean and frenetic. We've always joked about being physical opposites.
I smiled. "It never bothered me enough to do anything about it." I didn't need to explain more than that. Marjy knows that I am lazy and that I detest hard work.
"I know. That's why I worried. I am so relieved that you are changing your body and your habits. You are going to have a better, healthier, longer life than you ever thought possible."
Marjy is a teacher and colleague who will soon be a Registered Nurse. She's nearing the end of her clinical rotations, and she has seen, first hand, obese people like me with all sorts of weight-related illnesses.
She's my friend, so she never pushed or lectured. But clearly, my weight was on her mind. It tormented her.
What I never realized was that starting was the hardest part of the process. Now that I've been exercising regularly for a few weeks, I have momentum.
Changes are happening without much effort from me, changes I didn't think were possible.
Last week, Grace wanted to play with Aunt Amanda, so we dug the driveway out. We'd had a lot of snow over night and in the morning, and the road hadn't been plowed. As soon as the car hit the unplowed street, it stopped moving.
Joe pushed the car off the street, and I put it back in the garage.
Instead of giving up and going inside, I pulled my hood up over my head and asked Grace if she wanted to walk to Aunt Amanda's house. She did.
Joe protested. "There's 10 inches of snow on the road!"
"Yeah," I replied. "We'll be fine."
"Grace is not going to want to walk the whole way to your mother's house."
"Then I'll carry her."
"Dear, I really don't think you should walk over there," he stressed. Joe doesn't disagree with me often, but when he does, I usually take his advice.
Except not this time.
"I hear you. You don't have to go. You are welcome to stay here. We'll be back before too long," I replied as I grabbed Grace's hand and started down our driveway.
There was a time in my life - as recently as two months ago - when I would have happily gone back inside to sit on the couch.
Now, it's different. I exercise vigorously most days, and a ⅓-mile walk seemed like small potatoes.
Even if it was ⅓-mile up a seriously steep hill.
Even if there were 10 inches of snow on the ground.
Even if it was cold and still snowing.
Even if I don't have a coat or a pair of snow boots that fit.
We made it to the end of our street before Grace started whining. Around the corner, two dogs romped in the snow; that was the end of her walk.
Safely on my shoulders, Grace began to laugh and clap.
This is so fun, Momma! This is a fun piggyback ride!
I had to stop every five or six steps to catch my breath and let my heart rate slow down a little. It was harder than my most strenuous workout.
"Are you okay, honey?" Joe asked. "I can carry Grace. Let me have her."
"I got her," I declared, in between gasps.
The next time we paused, he tried again.
"Really, I've got her," I maintained. "I'm - totally - writing - a - blog post - in - my - head."
I looked at him out of the corner of my eye and grinned.
Joe laughed. "So I was right! Are you going to admit to this being a dumb idea? Is your post going to say, 'What was I thinking?!? Why didn't I listen to my husband?'"
"Nope. It's going to say, 'How many calories do you think I burned walking ⅓ of a mile, uphill, in 10 inches of snow, carrying 40 pounds?'"
He was quiet the rest of the walk.
When we finally arrived at my parent's house, I was sweaty and tired and elated.
It's powerful momentum that pushed me up that hill, and it is going to keep pushing until I lose this weight.