It’s often said that you don’t truly commit to losing weight or changing something in your life until you have a moment of epiphany. I tend to agree with that. When it comes to losing weight that’s definitely the case. I’ve seen my weight balloon over the past few years. It’s easy to place blame. In my case, my weight gain is because of several of the medications I have to take. However, I have to also take ownership of my careless food choices. I’ve used excuses upon excuses to justify being lazy about the extra effort that is needed to change. It’s been easier simply to allow my medical situation to conveniently compound a situation that I should take better control over. Nothing is accomplished by merely speaking about the changes I wish to make. Action is always necessary in order to facilitate real change.
My moment came just a few hours before writing this article. We had a very severe storm that caused the power in our house to go out for about two hours. Really, it’s that simple. The loss of power made me so angry that I said, “LaToya, you’re unhealthy and fat and you have to stop with the excuses and lose weight.” Really, the dialogue in my head was far more colorful but that’s the gist of it.
I have sleep apnea and as a result it necessitates me sleeping with a CPAP machine. Power outages are so few and far between that outside of the momentary annoyances of having to walk around and reset several clocks in the house, it’s a non-issue. However, like all the things we have come to depend on and sometimes take for granted, this particular time was different. We’d just returned home after dropping off my stepchildren. They’d visited for two weeks. During that time, their first extended visit, we didn’t always make the best meal decisions. My husband and I were learning how to juggle the challenges of what one could call a new normal.
I gain weight just by looking at food. Over the past 5 years I have gained on average twenty pounds per year. As the number of medications I take grow, I have become more apathetic about the required attention I need in making better nutritional choices. Rather than be proactive, I’ve simply thrown up my hands and have used my medications as the main villain in my weight gain and health woes. Since I don’t cook it is very hard for me to forego the numerous fast food and convenient day-to-day foods that I eat. I was exasperated by the extra effort that was required to make better choices. I felt that I was simply too busy and that there were other things more important than me having two desserts a day or eating what I want when I want it.
Severe weather doesn’t bother me much. In the midst of all the outer chaos I’m somehow able to tune it out. This too has been what I’ve done internally when it comes to me being more diligent about my health and my weight. Life is so chaotic that my eating is a way to tune some of it out. Yes, I’m an emotional eater. I also am the type to eat when I’m bored. As I laid in bed last night prepared to tune out the storm with my usual earplugs, sleep mask, and CPAP in place, the power went out. At first I thought that it wouldn’t be overly difficult to sleep without my CPAP, it’s not like I’d not done so in the past. The thing about the weight is that after some time you somehow forget that the more you gain, the more labored life becomes.
I could barely breathe and as a result I couldn’t sleep. I was exhausted. My body fought with itself. It needed sleep but it also needed relief. Those increasing extra pounds made its existence during those moments, impossible to ignore. Yes, I’d noticed just that night when shown the family 2013 Christmas card that I seemed to be twice the person I’d been in years past and I’ve even been very aware of how much more difficult it has become to do basic things like walking longer distances. Mostly I’ve noticed that the very Jawbone UP band that I purchased to fit on my then slender wrists to help me lose weight is now becoming uncomfortable to wear. But really, it wasn’t until trying to decompress and to simply sleep while Mother Nature was having a moment that it finally hit me. Like the result of the loss of power to our home, there are things that you just can’t tune out. It requires more that an acknowledgement or passive ignorance. In time, you just have to deal with it.
With power now restored and my CPAP now doing what it does best, my mind is on our treadmill in the next room that has patiently waited for me to become serious about its use. It’s a funny thing when something as simple as a two-hour power outage can change your life. I often think that life’s most profound in the simplest of moments. Enough excuses and enough passiveness, when it’s time to change, taking action is all you can really do.
This article appeared on page 5A in the 7/24/13 issue of The Union-Recorder.