The Ghosts of Pounds Past


If I look back now, I can pinpoint the exact years in my life when I was relatively healthy. The nine years before my bio-mom stopped caring for our family and left me to make my own questionable food decisions in the hours between my return from school and when my father came home from a long day at work. The year after my 15th birthday when I joined Nutri-System. The year before I became pregnant with my daughter. And now, these last two years since the death of the mom-of-my-heart, Heloise. All of those periods in my life (and I truly hope this last one never ends) have two things in common: one, I was convinced the weight would come back (and sadly, eventually it did until this last time), and two, every one of those times in my life began with the knowledge I had done it before, so I must be able to do it again. But always, that awareness was tempered with another awful knowledge: It had always come back.

During the longer, fatter times, I would page through magazines and catch articles on one celebrity after another who had miraculously taken off 25, 40, 100 pounds, and Disillusioned-Me would try to be inspired while a darker voice inside whispered: “It’ll come back for them, too.” And sadly, usually, it was true: Oprah, Carney Wilson, my beloved Melissa McCarthy, and has anyone heard from Kirstie Alley lately? All beautiful women regardless of their size, but all seemingly prove my point – the weight always comes back.

As the pounds slipped off me in Hawaii, I lived with a constant sort of post-traumatic stress disorder: while for the first time in my entire life, I realized I had gained true self-control – I was no longer eating to lose weight, I was eating for my own good health, and I paid little attention to the scale until a good 30 pounds had disappeared – I was terrified of losing that self-control. It was as if the specter of all that excess poundage was following me around, a silent shadow over every dietary choice I made. I would look at myself in the mirror, not quite believing this was my body now, and I would never quite enjoy that moment to the full – because all that lost weight was haunting me.

It still does. The twenty pounds I gained over the last year being back in Maine scare me. But maybe that’s what’s changed this time – all the other times, as the weight started slipping back, I purposefully ignored it. I’d get rid of my scale, buy bigger clothes and pretend I never noticed. In fact, maybe my ruse worked so well that I really didn’t notice until I had to weigh in at a doctor’s office and see the cold, clanging truth as that slider clicked into place over a weight I didn’t realize I’d been carrying around. Or until a friend sends me a picture of myself, and I’m horrified to realize the woman in the image isn’t my biological mother, it’s me.

But this time…this time, I carry with me the memory of all those early mornings in Hawaii. Getting up just as the sun was breaking through the towering cumulus clouds that I think only exist in Hawaii, the warm breeze of morning carrying the low tone of neighbor’s chimes nearby as I pulled on my sneakers and headed to the gym, towel slung over my shoulder. I remember how proud Jared-the-trainer was every time we did a measurement, and especially that final time just a couple of days before I left Oahu, I remember why I begun this – that I want to be an active mom, that I don’t want to die because of something I could have prevented – and I know I can’t go back, not really. So I struggle, and fall down, and I recover, and I remind myself of my hard work, and I get right back up again. I get back on my running machine and reassure myself with the knowledge that my body still knows what to do, that I don’t have to fight to get in my 30 minutes, that my heart rate is still low and steady. I promise myself again and again that even if I have to lower my speed, I won’t ever take an exit off the road to Wellville.


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Categories: Honesty is Healthy:

Author:Dory Diaz Photography

Dory is a professional wedding and portrait photographer, writer, and social media addict.

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4 Comments on “The Ghosts of Pounds Past”

  1. February 16, 2013 at 11:53 pm #

    I truly thank you for your posts, so honest and open. I am a dietitian and see so many clients afraid that if they lose weight they will just regain it so they stop trying. I will be passing your blog on for them to read so they can have hope and know they’re not going at it alone, and everyone falls off track but the important part is never give up.
    Lou @ The Honesty Path

    • February 17, 2013 at 4:10 am #

      Lou, that means more than you know. As I think about what I want to accomplish with this blog, the largest goal I have in mind is just that – letting people like me know they’re not alone, and that they can make changes for their health that last – even if, like me, they’ve failed before…or even if they fail again. I’m really glad to know anything I’ve put out here might help someone else. Thank you – it helps keep *me* going.

  2. July 27, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    Asking questions are really good thing if you are not understanding
    anything entirely, however this article gives
    good understanding even.

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