Voices of Recovery: Happy Dance

I was in a hurry to get to church, so when I stepped on the scale it took me a beat to register the number, 274.  I stepped off, kind of stunned, then stepped back on. Yup: 274. Fifty pounds gone. Fifffff-teeee!

I hopped off and pulled my towel back on, then did a little tap dance that Snoopy would be proud of. Fifffff-teeeeeeeeee!

“Sean,” I called from the bathroom. “Sean! Guess what? I’ve hit 50 pounds removed! Can you believe it?”

“Sure, I can, honey,” he called back. “You’ve been gettin’ close and you’ve been real good with your food and walking and stuff.”

“Yeah, but – fiffffff-teeeeeee!” I threw on my bathrobe and rushed off to David’s room to wake him up. “Your mama has hit 50 pounds!” I crowed to the sleeping lump.

He rolled over, one eye open. “Whatcha gonna do to celebrate?” He yawned.

“Ha! You think I haven’t been planning for this? I’m going shopping!”

But first I had to text my partners in crime in this adventure: my mom and Dr. Pamela Peeke. Mom was thrilled about my losing so much weight, but Dr. Peeke pointed out other things I’d accomplished in the last five months: my lower blood sugar, how much less medication I was taking for my anxiety, how each day I saw myself growing calmer. “Don’t borrow trouble,” my grandmother used to say. I was finally beginning to understand what she meant.

As we drove to church, I thought more about what Dr. Peeke had said. My dimples were back – they got stretched out when I was heavier. I had much more energy. I could dance with my kids at school – in fact, one morning when we were “bringing home a baby dinosaur” (with hand gestures as we skipped around in a circle), one of my kindergartners said, “Mrs. Leonard, I can tell you’ve been missing some weight.” I can bend over and tie shoes!

Last week both my preacher and David told me they could see I was thinner. I feel proud when people notice. It makes me happy.

There was that word again: happy.

But there was more to it than compliments and cute stories. I’d had a hard time eating enough food when I got back from rehab but I’d gotten that straightened out. Even though exercise is my greatest challenge, I’d taken a 45-minute walk each afternoon except for twice. I’d even joined a Zumba class, although Dr. Peeke had told me to take it easy by staying in the back of the room and moving to the music instead of going for the knee-crushing lunges. I’ve never had a hard time with rigidity – that’s what OCD is – but I was learning how to take care of myself daily, which is a different thing than self-discipline.

This was a milestone of more than weight, more of a milestone than my first, which was getting out of the 300s. I’d been a baby then, still anxious over making the right food, getting out for my walk, worrying about going back to teach after Christmas.

Who would I be at my next milestone of another 25 pounds removed? I couldn’t wait to find out.

I also couldn’t wait, after a church service in which I offered up my profound gratitude, to go to the mall. I was headed for the glossy, glassy Chico’s. I needed a new pair of jeans, thanks to that fiffff-teee pounds, and I was pretty sure I’d now fit their stock, which goes up to XL, a tight fitting 22 I hadn’t been able to buy there before.

As I stood in front of the mirror looking at myself in a size 3 jeans – a Large, not an Extra Large, three sizes below their smallest! – I thought about the hundred dollars-plus that I was about to pay. It had been five months since I weighed 324 pounds. Would these fit in another 25 pounds?

Maybe not. But like Grandma said: “Don’t borrow trouble”. Or in my case, “Celebrate who I am today.”

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    2 Responses to Voices of Recovery: Happy Dance

    1. Avatar
      Barbara Bledsoe March 31, 2015 at 11:40 am #

      This is a fantastic and inspiring article! You did a “Happy Dance” for yourself, and I cried “Happy Tears” for you.

    2. Avatar
      Jill Housewright April 3, 2015 at 12:17 pm #


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