Lighter Side of Pride – week 3


Anna’s Story:

16 September 2012

Yet another interesting week!  On Tuesday, I visited my former school, where I taught the last 18 out of my 19-year career.  It was so great to see my best bud, my brother CY!  While I had a chance to visit with him and a few other former coworkers I honestly care about, the theme was constant:  “Wow!  You look like you have lost weight.  You look happy.”  My trip to my former campus taught me ONE very important thing.  I made the right career choice.  I may not have lost weight BUT I didn’t gain anything either.  Well, maybe I gained a little perspective!

Technically, I haven’t lost any weight in the last week.  I am starting to retrain myself to deal with stress by doing a quick low weight – high rep activity.  If I’m at home, instead of eating half a box of Cheese-Its, I do 50 bench press reps with a 45 pound Olympic weight bar.  At school, I will pop into the weight room and do 80-100 leg press reps with 90 pounds.  It kind of takes the edge off and, if I do snack, the metabolism is jump started.

I am beginning to find my happy place.  This has been a long process.  As happens to us all, my life was turned upside down almost five years ago.  Everyone has an event in their life that defines or destroys them.  Mine was when my partner of 14 years died in December 2007.  Wait, let me back up.  When I met my partner, I knew she had multiple sclerosis.  What I didn’t realize was that any chronic illness seldom stays singular.  I was not expecting that over the next 12 years, other chronic illnesses would make themselves known.  I did what I normally did when stressed – I ate.  When she was in the hospital, I ate.  When she was at home, I ate.  The last 2 years of her life were particularly hard.  The last 6 months – absolutely impossible.  Liz was an incredible woman.  She fought long and hard – for me – but, everyone has their limit.  During this time, I got up to 197 pounds.  In fact, if I drank as much as I ate during that time, I would be in rehab and/or on the liver transplant list.  I decided to use that event as a frame of reference è if I could survive her death, nothing could destroy me.  I looked and found there are no support groups for 37 year old lesbian widows.  I floundered for a while. It has taken a long time for me to start putting myself back together.  I have done that with the help of a wonderful group of friends.  They are the kind of friends who circle the wagons to protect you, even when you don’t know you need protecting.  Dawn has come into my life unselfishly – knowing about Liz and my ambitions for another degree.  She is not intimidated by my past or future.  Most importantly, she makes me laugh.

Starting Weight:  169 lbs.

Present Weight:  171 lbs.


Dawn’s Story:

Co-worker at lunch on Monday: “would you like a piece of my birthday cake Dr. Adkins?  Dan (her husband who is an amazing cook) made it.”

Me: “yes I would, but I am going to decline.”

Co-worker: “why?”

Me: “my ”˜fat pants’ are tight.”

All the women in the lunchroom laughed and some nodded in agreement.  This is for me, an all-to-common scenario.  I get to a point, and then I quit/give up/find an excuse/etc.  Honestly, I struggled the first part of the week.  Saying ”˜no’ to a piece of cake was hard to do.  I was ready to invest in a Mumu company and start increasing the profits.  Somehow, saying ”˜no’ to the cake triggered something in me.  Instead of finding my reason-not-to, I hit the gym.  I hit the gym on Tuesday.  I hit the gym Wednesday.  While I missed it Thursday because of my school’s Open House, I went Friday.  By Friday I was starting to feel like some weight was coming off, but was afraid to believe it.  Saturday showed me I was right, see results below.  Somehow, this makes me feel better about not taking that piece of birthday cake.  I think I can hit 150!

Starting weight: 161 Starting BMI: 28.5

Current weight: 152 Current BMI: 26.9

Dawn Adkins has her PhD in Health & Organizational Communication. She has written several published articles on health issues as well as designed health-oriented campaigns. Any constructive comments regarding this article should be addressed to: dadkins@pridehouston.org

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