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Friday, May 26, 2006

The Importance of Being Selfish

I have five children, a husband, a plethora of pets, two stepsons and a career. If I'm lucky, I get five minutes a day to myself. Very often I don't even get that. My money is spent on my kids--shoes, clothes, books, special days at the zoo, etc. Self sacrifice comes naturally to me. It's just my nature. Others first. Myself last.

I'm not looking for some kind of recognition. Maybe someday, when my kids are raising my grandchildren, they'll come to appreciate what a parent does out of love. But I realized some things when I was at RT and I thought I'd share.

Before I became pregnant with baby #5, I was a trim size 8. I took some care in what I looked like every day. I fixed my hair in styles that required more than thirty seconds and an elastic band. I put on a little makeup. I had my nails done regularly. But when I was pregnant, I gained a ton of weight. And when I couldn't lose it, I became depressed and reclusive. I refused to buy myself new clothes that fit because I hated the fact that I couldn't lose weight. I didn't bother getting my hair done anymore. I wore it in a ponytail every day. Makeup? I had no time for that either. I basically hid in my house, wearing dumpy old maternity clothes. I lost a whole year of my life.

And then I decided to go to RT.

I wish I could be like other women I admire--women who are comfortable in their skins, no matter what size clothing they wear--but I'm not. Having been "thin" all my life, I had real issues with what I saw in the mirror every morning. The last thing I wanted to do was face 800 to 1000 strangers --agents, editors, book sellers and fans--hating the way I looked. And so I decided it was time to be a little "selfish". It was time to think a little about me.

It was really, really hard, but I put myself on an extremely strict diet. I didn't always stick with it, but I was able to lose enough weight to get out of the Women's department of clothing stores. Because I'm small-framed, this made a huge impact on how I looked. No more shirt and jacket shoulders hanging halfway down my arms or sleeves rolled two or three times so I could see my hands. No more pant legs dragging on the ground when I walked. I didn't look like a kid playing dress-up in someone else's clothes. I paid an obscene amount to get my hair "painted" (hubby's term) and I also splurged and had my nails done. When I left for RT, I felt like a new woman. And the sweet compliments I received all week made me feel that much better.

I'm far from perfect. I'm getting older, and I don't look like a little 20-something anymore. I still have a couple more dress sizes to go, and even though I've hit a plateau and can't seem to shake another pound, it's great liking how I look. I think it's important for women--especially women who are neglecting themselves for the sake of their children to take some time for themselves. If you're where I was--hiding from life--find some way to make a change for the better. Whether you realize it or not, your family is paying the price along with you for your "martyrdom". See a doctor if you can't lose weight on your own. Get your hair done. Buy a new outfit. Quit smoking. Live life.

And set an example to your children.

posted by Tawny Taylor at 9:15 AM |


Commented by Blogger Jen:

Thanks Tawny. I do a lot of that. Neglecting myself for my children, I mean. I've learned to take better care of myself. Unlike you, I wasn't thin all my life so losing weight is always a challenge.
I'm so glad you had a good time at RT. It's awesome that everyone gave you compliments. What fun.

10:15 AM 
Commented by Blogger Laine Morgan:

What an excellent post. I, too, gained a ton of weight with my last baby - 80 pounds! That was four years ago, and in January of this year, I finally lost all I wanted to lose and a little more. Now, I'm 5'10", 125 pounds, and a size 6 for the first time in eleven years since I had my first kid. I feel great!

You are so right about losing the weight and getting healthy. Not only does your health affect you and how you feel, it affects the whole family. Bad habits pass down to your kids if you aren't careful, and what mom wants her kids to make the same mistakes she did?

Although losing weight is hard, it can be done, even with a hypothyroid like mine. It takes discipline and will power and a good dose of exercise, but the weight does come off!

Good for you for sticking with your weight loss goals. You did look fabulous at RT!

11:20 AM 
Commented by Blogger JENNA:

I'm right there. I lost the baby weight after BabyBoy, but medical issues since packed on more weight than the babies ever did. I really need to find something that works for me.

11:51 AM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:

HUGS to all of you. Losing weight is really hard. It wasn't always so difficult for me, but now that I'm older, it's almost impossible. I hope you're able to find something that works for you!

Laine, what did you do to lose weight?

6:16 PM 
Commented by Blogger Shelley Munro:

Great post, Tawny. And congrats on the weight loss. I've seen a few photos from RT, and I thought you looked wonderful!

I'm struggling a little with my weight at the moment. I'm not overweight as such, but all my clothes are on the tight side, so I definitely relate. My trousers split down the back this week. That was my wakeup call :(

6:55 AM 
Commented by Blogger Laine Morgan:

I wouldn't recommend my diet to anybody. Basically, it was to eliminate Coca Cola, and eat my 1000 calories before 2 PM, and then nothing after that but water. I exercised strenuously for about an hour a day, five days a week. I lost about two pounds a week. On Saturdays, I would eat as much and whatever I wanted. This cheat day really helped because it was a motivation to stay on track during the week. That's how I lost it, and I've maintained this current weight since January. I'm not the healthiest eater, so I had to find something that worked for me. And this did. :) But be warned, the first few days of not eating after 2 PM is very hard. If you can make it past the first few days, your body will adjust and you won't even be hungry.

11:31 AM 
Commented by Blogger Shelli Stevens:

What an inspiring post! I have a 2 1/2 year old and can totally relate. I gained 80lbs in pregnancy and still need to lose at least 20 to get back to my pre pregnancy weight. Which isn't perfect, but I loved my body then. Curvy and sexy. But healthy. I'm really working on getting those last pounds off. Weight Watchers!

Congrats to you! I saw the picture you put up at your book signing, and thought you looked gorgeous! I don't know when that was in your weight loss journey, but you looked fabulous regardless :)

8:29 PM 
Commented by Blogger Tawny Taylor:

Eliminate Coke?! OMG, forget the no-food-after 2:00 thing. I can't live without my Coke fix...although I drink diet. That can't be as bad. Right?! Right?! God, I hope she says "yes".

I'm going to have to try something new. The TrimSpa isn't doing a thing. It's been a week and I've gained a pound :( Grrr! I hate having a metabolism as sluggish as a hibernating bear's!

4:15 PM 
Commented by Blogger Canice Brown-Porter:

What a fantastic post, Tawny! It is always wonderful to hear such glowing from a fellow Diva! And, you truly are! WTG! I've been fighting weight most of my adult life. Before the kids, I was doing good to hit 100 lbs on a good day. Thyroid problems have been my downfall since the mid-90s. I'll get to my goal weight, it's just a matter of time. I have to give up the Coke Zero?

6:27 PM 

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