May 21, 2019

If you charted your weight over the course of your life, you’d have an upward swoop from birth to adulthood, while your body is doing things like forming bone and growing muscle. Common knowledge (and medical history) says that your health is best maintained if the chart then levels out and you live on the flatlands for the rest of your life. River bottom land; good soil there. Stable. Maybe the occasional spring flood, but for the most part, the living is easy.

I’ve come to see that my weight is FAR from the best measure of my health, but it’s certainly a convenient one. My doctor says she can spot potential problems if she weighs me even when I come in for a skin thingy. I think she’s just doing it that way because doctors have always done it that way – “step on the scale” being as automatic as “and your co-pay is how much?” But she thought she could spot malignancies if the weight fluctuated in surprising ways, and my annoyance  at that is trumped by my superstition; there’s a lot of cancer in my family, and she shuts me down with that one.

Where was I? Oh – weight is not the only measure; it’s not even a particularly good measure. But it’s one I’ve known over time – and I know that the chart of my weight would look like the approach to the Rocky Mountains.

There’s a gradual slope up in the foothills of the college years, and then the first of the low mountains. Then I “got a grip” and lost some weight, only to discover I was now climbing an even higher mountain. This pattern repeated, and every time I lost weight, I’d put it back on plus more, until I got up to 260 pounds.

That’s where Barbara stepped in.

I’ve been working with Barbara at Body Dynamics in Falls Church, VA for some three years now. She told me in the beginning that she could help my cardio endurance (and she and I ran and walked a mile today, so she was right!). She also looked at me critically and said “And I think we can take some weight off you.”

I rolled my eyes. Having tracked up and down over this mountain range for five decades and more, I wasn’t just skeptical. I was defeated. There was NO WAY she could do it – and even if she did, it wouldn’t stay off. It would be back. And more.

Today, I weigh about 240 pounds. (I’m not exactly sure because she won’t let me weigh myself anymore.) But the loss of “only” twenty pounds is deceptive. More significantly, I’ve gone from size 22 jeans to size 16s. I’ve lost more than a foot off my waist. And – see above – I can run/walk a mile without EXCESSIVE complaint.

There’s a terribly nice lady who works out at Body Dynamics while I’m working with Barbara. She’s friendly and funny and supportive and we exchange bitches happily. Today she told me I looked particularly slim. I thanked her, but said that nothing had changed; I’d lost many, many inches in my first year with Barbara, but I was holding pretty steady now. I asked Barbara to measure my waist against the number she’d gotten last December, and I was right – I’m the exact same as six months ago.

So I was ginning myself up to be fussy about my lack of progress when it occurred to me:

I’ve kept the weight off for about two years. My size 16 jeans are getting kind of old and might need to be replaced soon. My weight and size is STABLE – after a significant loss.

Do you see what’s so staggering about this?

I’m sitting on a ledge on the side of a mountain – a ledge that’s actually broad enough to be considered the high plains. From where I am, I can see the heights to which I had ascended (and believe me, there was higher still to go). I can see how far I’ve come down from the top.

I’m still miles above the rich bottomland along the river – I’m still many, many pounds away from where insurance company actuarial tables say I should be. But I’ve been at a lower level for the longest time (by FAR) since I’ve been keeping a mental chart of my weight.

I’m stable.

And healthy as hell.

I’m sitting on my landing on the path down the mountain, thinking – damn. This is the prettiest view I’ve ever seen.

Screen Shot 2019-05-21 at 12.34.50 PM

Thank you, Barbara!

2 thoughts on “Plateau

  1. Thank you for renewing an appreciation for the plateaus — in weight, in life drama, in work.
    Also, did you know I think of you every time I do plank. “Pru moves across the room on her forearms,’ I think. Then move my arm an inch or so whereupon it all gets instantly MUCh harder and I am once again blown away by your endurance and strength – also filled with relief that I do not have such a task mistress as Barbara watching my every move.


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