55: A Kick in the Keister

55: A Kick in the Keister

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reboot Your Life

A Kick in the Keister

Vision is not enough, it must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs.

~Vaclav Havel

“So how did you do it?” my girlfriend Teri asked. “Do what?” We sat outside on lawn chairs in the warm summer sun. Slices of lemon floated on top of our glasses of ice water.

“You know what I’m talking about.” Teri sipped her drink. “You’ve lost forty-five pounds and kept it off for three years. What’s your secret?”

I wondered if I should tell her how hard I’d hit bottom, and I wasn’t talking derrière. The day the scale registered the highest number I had ever seen was a real eye-opener for me. I was sick of the ups and downs.

“Come on,” Teri prodded. “Tell me.”

“Well, first you have to know that it’s not just one thing, like joining a Weight Watchers group or buying pre-packaged prepared meals.”

“Okay, what then?”

I thought back to that day on the scale and how I found my purpose and resolved to change my life. I was tired of not being the me I wanted to be. Oh, sure, losing weight was not the cure for all my problems, but it sure would help with my self-esteem. And my physical ailments too — the doctor had told me to lose weight to keep my blood pressure under control. I didn’t listen to him and went about my regular lifestyle of eating burgers and fries.

Then came that day on the scale. It was time to get a handle on things, especially when I took a look at my backside in a full-length mirror. It was time to give myself a swift kick in the keister.

“I did lots of little things,” I said to Teri.

“Like what?” Teri stared at me over her water glass. “I can stand to lose some weight.”

“Okay, where do I start? First, I hate the word “diet.” It conjures up images of deprivation. Definitely not a good feeling. And on top of that, what I was going for was a lifestyle change in my eating. A weight loss that would be forever, not a temporary loss and then gaining it all back again.”

Teri nodded her head. “Been there, done that.”

“I don’t say that I can’t have something. Now I say I choose to have this or that. It makes me feel empowered and in control of myself.”

“What else?”

“Oh, gosh, there’s so much more.” I sipped my water and thought about all the things I’d learned over the last few years, like how eating is affected by what I keep in my cupboards and refrigerator at home, what I choose when I’m in a restaurant, and how family gatherings can be a minefield of emotions that can trigger overeating.

I looked up. “Okay, here’s something quick and easy to do. Switch to fat free, use a small plate and small fork, and stop eating when you feel three-quarters full. It lets your head catch up to your stomach.” I paused. “Oh, and portion sizes are key. Remember when a small soda was really little? The sizes they serve today are way too much.”

“So do you ever blow it?” Teri smiled. “I can’t believe you haven’t had a juicy cheeseburger with fries.”

I laughed. “You know what? When I was working so hard on losing the weight I only ate lean and healthy. Nothing fried or greasy. Now, if the scale says I’m within a pound or two of my goal weight, I occasionally eat a burger and fries.”

“Ah ha. I knew it. You can’t stay away from those things forever.”

“You’re right, you can’t. But, and this is a big but, no pun intended because I have always tended toward a big butt,” I paused to laugh at my own joke. “If I eat a meal like that, I ride my exercise bike an extra thirty minutes.”

“What about chocolate and candy bars and glasses of wine?”

“Oh, I have all those things, but in moderation, and in small sizes. Did you know Snickers have little minis?” I got up and grabbed my water glass. “Do you want some more?”

“Thanks, I’m good.”

In the kitchen I refilled my glass with fresh ice and added another slice of lemon and then I rejoined my friend outside. “I didn’t give up my favorites. I just eat them in much smaller sizes and not so much. Like root beer floats. I love those.”

“How is that on your diet?”

“It’s not, because I’m not on a diet, remember?” We both laughed. “I have this tiny glass that holds three ounces. I put a small scoop of ice cream in it, a splash of root beer that foams up just like in a big glass, and I eat it with a small spoon, savoring every bite.”

“And that’s supposed to be satisfying? I’d want a giant one in a jumbo-sized cup,” she answered.

“Just that little bit satisfies my cravings. And when I look in the mirror, I like what I see much more than how a giant float tastes for five minutes.” I settled into my chair and laid my head back.

My girlfriend was quiet for a while. “Well, you look good.”

“Thank you, and better yet, I feel good. My blood pressure came down and I’m not winded going up a flight of stairs. I had a friend, Tracey, who was there for me while I struggled through the weight loss. She was great. She held me accountable, plus there were times that no matter what I did, the scale just didn’t show what I thought it should. That’s when I needed my friend to talk me down off the ledge.”

“So is that it, though? Is that all you did to lose the weight?”

“Well, I added exercise, of course, and squeezed it in where I could, like doing deep knee bends when picking up stuff around the house and forward lunges and squats when blow drying and curling my hair. Sounds weird, huh? But it works. I also took my dog for a walk all the time, and I rode my exercise bike every night for thirty minutes while I read the newspaper.”

“Geez, that’s a lot.”

“Not really. All the little bits add up.”

She was quiet for a while. Me, too.

Then she said, “So, will you help me be accountable?”

“You bet I will,” I answered.

~B.J. Taylor

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