100 lbs in a Year

Title: 100 lbs in a Year
Summary: Chronicles a journey I took to lose weight.
Disclaimer: This work of fiction is based on true events, but names have been changed in order to avoid the whining of others. The story is copyright Dawn Kelley and all rights belong to me.


Our break-up was my decision. I never doubted that it was the right choice, but facing the quiet of loneliness after our break-up was more difficult than I expected. I thought I would simply go back to being who I was– before Tif. Instead, I found that too much had changed. I had grown used to her presence, to receiving her text messages during the day, and to the nightly calls. There had never been anyone before Tif. So how could I have know that there was no going back?

It took me 29 years to get that first kiss and it was surprisingly less than exhilarating, but it was the first time anyone ever wanted me enough to desire kissing me. So I allowed it. How could I turn away the girl that loved me despite my greatest flaw? Not many people considered a 5’4” girl over 200lbs desirable. For the longest time I thought her desire was enough to keep our relationship going. I was wrong, and upon realizing this I awaited an opening to let her go. With-in the space of three months she gave it to me and my first and only girlfriend became my first and only ex-girlfriend.

I underestimated the power of that transition. I didn’t know that after a relationship you never get back the person you were before that relationship. A fear gripped me that I would always be alone now. I was sure that I was the failure because I had failed to find the heart to love her back. Other days I was sure I should have kept her because she was the only one who would ever want me. How many people out there kept their bad spouses just to have someone? While Tif had her issues and I felt disconnected from her on many levels, hadn’t she had adored me?

In the middle of this worry a doctor’s appointment changed everything. It was a standard check-up, but the way the doctor fretted over my papers I was sure she was just waiting to drop some seriously bad news on me. I remember her sitting on a chair nervously as she learned toward me with this pensive look on her face and said:

There’s nothing wrong with you.” (At this point I breathe a sigh of relief) “I mean for the moment, you are in perfect health. In the long term however I am worried about your weight.”

I knew it was a reasonable worry. I didn’t blame her for her concern over the matter as I was easily approaching 300 lbs. I had honestly been concerned about it for years, but accepted that I was never destined to be a skinny girl. Of course there’s a difference between a girl who’s “not skinny” and a woman approaching the size of a baby whale. The biggest sign that I was passing the level of a reasonable weight for my height was the fact that normal shoes had begun to bother me. In fact normal shoes became so uncomfortable that I began to exclusively wear open back shoes.

Have you ever thought about gastric bypass?” the doctor asked.

I had thought about it. I had even watched a TV special about an overweight teenage boy who had gotten the surgery. He praised the surgery, but I thought it was the stupidest surgery that ever existed. As I understood it the surgery simply made it physically impossible for you to overeat by reducing the amount of food your stomach could handle. I didn’t actually change the desire to overeat, just made it harder to do. If you overate anyway you could do serious damage to yourself. I wasn’t even a fan of the less invasive gastric band. In my mind, there was one simple solution, eat less – exercise more. One of which you were simply forced to do by the surgery. So I quickly told the Doctor that I wasn’t interested in the surgery and would take on the problem myself. I had one thing on my mind as I left the office and that was to prove the Doctor wrong about the need for surgery.

I was almost 30 and as birthday’s are like personal “new years” in one’s life, I made my birthday resolution. I would lose 100lbs in a year. I didn’t quite know how to reach this personal goal, but I stumbled forward into research on the matter. While I knew exercise more and eat less was at the heart of it all the question of how much more to exercise and how much less to eat without falling into extremes was an unknown quantity to me. Then Chalene Johnson came along and put everything I needed into a nice little package for me.

Chalene Johnson is one of the training superstars of the company known as Beachbody based out of California. Chalene’s popular Turbo Jam exercise program was transferred into video form by the company due to it’s extensive success in the gym-class circuit. I remembered seeing infomercials for her program as a teen and thinking they looked fun. However, it wasn’t Turbo Jam that I went to for solutions. I caught an infomercial on TV for her latest strength training program, ChaLEAN Extreme. I’m not stupid, I take all weight-loss solutions presented in infomercials with a grain of salt. They tend to try to eliminate the idea of hard work along the way. The thing that made Chalene’s program special was her assertion that the program would be difficult, but that if you trusted her she could change body in 90 in days. In addition to that she promised tools in her “complete weight loss program” that would change one’s life entirely. It sounded like just what I needed and so I committed myself to giving it a chance to change my life.

The emptiness created when I left Tif is now filled by the new love of my life, Chalene Johnson. Chalene has made me believe that my 30s will be the best years of my life. The first couple of days with Chalene are difficult as soreness quickly becomes my companion. My mouth also craves the careless amount of sweets and large portion sizes I use to give to it. I embrace the difficulties of that first month as a part of the process and I am eventually rewarded by a certain comfort in my routine. Chalene has given me a plan for weight-loss success and soon they become so much a part of me that the idea of swaying from those rules seems like sacrilege.

To tell you the truth, as the weight starts to come off, I become scared that someone or something will come along to ruin my carefully designed plan for success. I avoid hanging out with friends out of fear it will mess with the Chalene design, despite the fact Chalene herself advises against this sort of isolation. My food diary alone is seen as extreme by most of my friends as none of them can imagine having to write down everything they eat.

I prove them wrong with my progress. I take pictures every month and while I don’t have the body I dreamed of yet, my body changes a lot over the course of 90 days. I even need new clothes because the old ones are far too big. I return to the Doctor with a 30lb weight loss to brag about. Only the goal I have set is bigger than my doctor and older then even my relationship with Tif.

In the back of my mind, the weight is what kept me from love for so long. It was the fear that no one would ever want me besides Tif that caused me to stay with her even when I knew it wasn’t working. I believe that if I can get off the weight, someone besides Tif might love me. Only I am afraid even of that happening too soon. If someone loves me before the 100lbs they might become a distraction that will take me back into a place of contentment that will come between me and Chalene. I am sure if something comes between me and Chalene that everything I’ve learned through her will begin to revert and soon I’ll be that girl who was almost 300 lbs once again. So when Chalene’s 90 days of exercise end, I follow up with other video programs by other trainers. In a period of about seven months I experience a weight loss of around 70 lbs.

Then the darkness comes and takes everything away. I never knew how critical BG&E was to all the systems I had set–up until it was gone. I had access to a gym at the College, but I always felt kind of lost in the gym. I never knew what to do or how much of it to do. The machines were mostly annoying and complicated or kind of boring. I couldn’t afford a personal trainer so that wasn’t an option for replacement. The video trainers were the next best thing, someone who told you what to do and how long to do it on whatever scedual you wanted. Whenever you stuck in the video, there they were. Without BG&E, no TV, no DVD player, no video trainer. The refrigerator just doesn’t work without electricity so this eliminated my carefully stored pre-prepared meals. I dare anyone to attempt living on dry goods alone. It only get you so far. Even fruits and veggies don’t last long without some way to preserve them. My diet soon fell to ruin through the fact I had to purchase food everyday.

Unfortunatly, this wasn’t the case of a downed powerline. My mother and I lived in a rented house and the landlord was running it off stolen electricity. As far as I knew the electricity was in his name and covered by our rent, but when BG&E cames to investigate I found out otherwise. I am lost on many levels. My mother and I eventually decide to move elsewhere, but it is only after much negotiating with BG&E and many arguments with the landlord. I get up in the mornings and move like a zombie, begging only to be rescued from the darkness so that I can embrace Chalene and her routine again. I’m struggling to find last minute help for us to our move. Then an angel comes in the form of my friend Michi (who drags along with her our friend Matt). She shows up to help just when I lose hope that any help will come and through this simple act steals every bit of love I that belonged to Chalene.


My new commitment is her and all things that are not her and that don’t include her have become less important. I have moved into an apartment with her and Matt and the three of us are almost inseparable now. During my love affair with Chalene I half-heartedly participated in our friendship. Michi was one of many who didn’t understand the necessity of certain parts of the Chalene plan. She congratulated me on my success and admired my dedication, but was also constantly trying to get me to ‘losen up’ and ‘let go’. It was because of advice like this that I dedicated myself to a sort of solitude. I felt if I let go of the habits instilled by Chalene a little bit then I was one step away from letting them go completely. I was right. Even after Michi pulled me free of the darkness I was still stumbling around trying to remember how to reorder my house of fitness and failing because it wasn’t my number one priority anymore. Living with her wasn’t helping the process along and it wasn’t because I suddenly decided I valued her advice over Chalene’s. It was much more primal than that. I gave Chalene up slowly because Michi was actually physically there.

In the months since I left Tif I have forgotten human warmth and now that I have let Michi in she has reminded me. Michi and I left our exs around the same time. Even before those break-ups came to pass we often discussed relationship problems with each other. In the months that followed the break-ups our casual work friendship evolved. The first time she shoved her arm in mine as we walked through the mall I felt uncomfortable. Even after Tif, I just wasn’t comfortable in even the most basic friendly physical interactions with girls. My instinct was to recoil when she touched me. Not because it was unpleasant, but because it was too pleasant. I believed my over-weight body set my attractiveness just below gargoyle and this pleasant feeling that resulted from human contact was a tease of the thing I could never have. Politeness kept me still the first time she walked arm-in-arm with me through the mall. In the beginning, I built a wall around my heart to protect myself from her.

When she rescued me from my darkness she knocked down that wall. Sharing a bed with her completely exposed my heart. I want nothing more to reach out and touch her most nights, but I respected the fact she didn’t want that from me. The shared bed is merely a convenience because our other roommate is a man. I spend most nights with my hands stapled to my side, but feeling the presence of her in the air around me. Feeling has seduced my senses. Even though I am forbidden to touch, just being near her has sent a part of me alive again that I tried so very hard to dismiss from existence. I’d hurried these desires away so deep inside after Tif that the sheer rush of them being pulled to the surface again has created an intoxication all their own.

I do not give up Chalene easily. I think of her as I lay in the darkness and will myself to get up. Occasionally, I succeed in getting up and turning on a video. For awhile I hold on to keeping my food diary. I remind myself constantly of the goal I made to lose 100 lbs in a year, but that 100lb goal no longer seems so important. Weight-loss is still on the shelf of important things to-do, but now there are things above it I find myself reaching for. Like the purchase of some small trinket that will make her smile.

Michi loves me and I know this, because she’s said the words more than once. However, Michi has been slowly falling in love with someone else. I have accepted her love for me unjudged, because to judge it and question it would reveal the limitations of it. ‘I love you enough to want to be close to you, but always there is that line you will never cross.’ There is someone, however, who can cross the line and it’s our roommate, Matt.

I knew early on that Matt’s assistance in my rescue from darkness had more to do with making Michi happy then any particular dedication of friendship towards me. I don’t know that I knew he loved her then only that he felt connected to her and I felt connected to her and that our friendship with each other was developed through a shared love of her.

Matt and I had a thousand conversations in his car criticizing Michi’s current object of affection, Chuck. We ripped him apart for his failure as a dating prospect often talking about what it was she really needed. In truth, all we were really talking about was how much better we would be as the object of her affection. It was only in realizing the depth of my love for her that I was able to see the emotions reflected in him. Seeing it didn’t really matter until I reached the point of her confession. It just wasn’t working out with Chuck, we all knew that. Well Matt and I knew it, but Michi seemed to be struggling forward through it despite this fact. I found out why soon enough. It was fear that kept her holding on to Chuck. As Michi lay beside me in the night she confessed to dreaming of Matt. It burned me deep down to my soul to hear this. A part of me had been waiting for some sign that I might be the exception to the rule for this clearly heterosexual girl. The truth was I was just a safe barrier, like Chuck, between her and her feelings for the friend she didn’t want to lose. Between the lines of her confession of attraction for Matt I found a oneness with Chuck. If she was dating Chuck, she couldn’t date Matt. If I was in her bed, there was a barrier between her and Matt. Our friendship was all it would ever be as far as she was concerned, but Matt could possibly be more only that ‘more’ came with risk. When I figured out the feelings were mutual I had no choice.

Neither Matt nor I have directly spoken on our feelings for Michi. I don’t think we ever could have, because then we would have had to acknowledge being rivals and we liked being friends. Once I reach my decision it is Michi I sit down for a chat. I illustrate to her all the reasons I am pretty sure of Matt’s feelings for her. I convince her taking a chance is better than not takiing it and keeping Chuck as a safety net wasn’t making anyone any happier. It seems simple. Making her happy is the right thing to do. It doesn’t hurt in those first moments. In fact, it feels good to be the one to bring these two together.

Then comes the night I remove my pillow from her bedside and take it to the couch. Again it seems like a simple thing, the right thing. They want each other and my duty is to get out of the way. I embrace duty for the sake of her happiness. I go to the couch and Matt steps into my place at her beside. The first night I share that apartment space with them knowing what they are to become, the pain comes. Knowing he is there touching that which I wasn’t allowed to touch, holding her as I was never allowed to hold her, knowing that he will have her warmth come willingly upon him eats at me.

I become sad, moody, depressed. I feel lonelier with them then I ever felt before them. I feel emptier than I did when I gave up Tif. I cry often and Michi does not understand. She still has me, her friend, and gained a man to love, Matt. For her nothing has changed and nothing has been lost. I try to put my feelings into words the best way I know how. The absence of a platonic sleeping arrangement, to her, seems nothing to be so emotional about. I want her to see the situation my way and hardly understanding it myself I fumble explaining it to her, making her frustrated.

It is only now I sort of understand it. Sleeping by her side after so much self-imposed solitude became one of the deepest physical connections I have ever known. Despite our very adult ages, Tif and I had sex like teenagers in the back of a car. She would not come to my house and I could only visit her at hers. She lived with her grandparents and staying the night with her there was out of the question. Staying the night somewhere else was too much of an expense with our low-paying jobs. We were always rushed in those brief moments we were together in private to capture the magic of making love only to find the brief release of quick sex. Sex with Tif paled in comparison to the intimate peace I’d known simply sleeping night after night at Michi’s side. It was more than the physical nearness of the sleeping. There were nights where Michi and I lay side-by-side sharing our minds – opinions, fears, hopes, dreams, wants, desires. It was because of that physical closeness that I learned to feel comfortable telling her anything, even if we weren’t in bed when I told her. It was in these moments that our physical proximity became an intimate connection for me. In these moments, even when we spoke of her resisting feelings for Matt, we were in a place so deeply intimate to me that it was a sort of making love. When I gave it up, it was never the same again. Talking on the couch at opposite ends, talking on the steps after work, talking at work, talking as we walked to the store, just didn’t have the same kind of intensity as those quiet talks in bed when we were resting and at peace with the world.

I never doubted my decision to push her to cross the bridge with Matt, it was only that the pain of loss was greater than I could have imagined. It became too much for her to handle, my pain, my up and down emotions, my love that she could never complete. She couldn’t rescue me from this darkness I had descended into, and she had to do what I did with Tif. She let me go. Of course, letting me go meant kicking me out of the apartment and that caused a whole new level of hurt.


I have failed. Failed both in gaining love from another and in finding a love for myself.

I return to my mother and I remain in darkness. Not the darkness caused by BG&E (for my mother is no longer renting from that landlord), but there’s a darkness inside me. I learn to hide it. I learn to smile every day and come to work cheerful. The darkness soon begins to lift and I am really okay, but I look the tools of routine I gained while dedicated to Chalene and still feel like a failure.

It is my 31st birthday and I have only lost 70 of the 100lbs I set out to lose. Of the 70 lost, my summer of loving Michi has cost me around 15 of those pounds. I try to embrace Chalene again, but she eludes me. I did what I did before, I re-watch the training videos and try to work up that fire I had before and I can’t find it. The tools are there for me to use. I have a fridge now, I have a TV now, and I have all the knowledge I learned through seven months of successful weight-loss. Yet, I can’t get it together. The gifts given to me by Chalene seem permanently locked away from me.

As for Michi, it takes a few months but we start taking at work again. She initiates it. Our separation and bitter feelings over all that went wrong when we lived together slowly fades as time passes. Michi and I are friends again, but it is different. In learning to be her friend again I also learn to smile at the love I had a hand in creating. She and Matt seem are enjoying a great gift in loving each other. I eventually find an even deeper personal value in losing myself in her so deeply. I realize that my self-imposed solitude, my unwavering dedication to routine was as much my downfall as loving her to the point of forgetting all other things. Like diet, like exercise, life must have balance. Any routine must be elastic and able to bend itself around a flow of life in a way that allows for friendship and the occasional cheat-at-eating day. Neither my unwavering dedication the the ChaLEAN Extreme routine nor the full release of it led to any permanent success. I resolve to start again as a wiser person.

I decide that though I haven’t loss that 100lbs in a year, I will lose 100 lbs in total. I know I need a plan, but I need to make the “Dawn” plan. Chalene was merely a teacher that led the way. Michi was also a teacher. Each showed me a piece of something I needed in my life. Heck, there were even life lessons in Tif. So I make a plan with both of them in mind.

The videos are easy to start again, I just get up every morning and stick a tape in before work. I also sign up for an exercise class at school for a little social exercise experience a couple times a week. Attacking my diet comes a little later. However, I know diet is the most critical part to any weight-loss plan so I make a shopping list of necessary items. The first trip is always the hardest as it’s about getting all the essentials, but after that it’s only about filling in the depleated supplies on a weekly basis. Little did I know this one stupid shopping trip would bring upon the next obstacle in my weight-loss goal.

I came home with a ridiculous amount of very heavy bags, but I felt very satisfied I had finally put the icing on the cake of my plan. Some of the bags were so heavy I found myself pulling on the porch banister in order to get the leverage to lift the heavy bags. As I ran my hand up the wooden banister, using it for leverage a searing pain appeared in the palm of my hand. It’s just a splinter and I enter the house expecting to make a quick removal of it. Unfortunatly, the little sucker is in there deep and I can’t seem to reach it.

For a week I can’t put any weight on the hand. Push ups- no deal, pull ups-impossible, lifting weights-can’t do it. Even yoga’s out of the question thanks to planks and downward dogs. I modify in my aeorobics class at the college, using a body bar to avoid the need to grip hand weights, but can still only go half as intense as the rest of the class. By the first day of spring break I have given up. I haven’ t pushed play at home in a week so sure my hand will be back to normal by then and I can start again fresh, but any attempt to put weight on the hand after a week still causes searing pain.

My carefully outlined plan is escaping me because of a stupid piece of wood. I play video games to release the stress and frustration of it all. At work the frustration haunts me. I stare at my hand a thousand times, cursing it for its limitations. Then I remember Chalene saying “some exercise is better than no exercise”. I recall the fact that I have been doing something in aerobics class and something is better than nothing. I decide my hand will not defeat me! I am unable to follow my currently set calendar which is unwaveringly based upon my current video series choice, Beachbody’s P90x, but I have an idea of the rhythms of exercise now, Cardio, Strength, Stretching. I don’t necessarily need some video trainer’s exact design to beat this thing.

I go through all my exercise videos and sort out the ones not limited by my hand. I place them in a pile and design my own calendar. I also decide that maybe this injury won’t resolve itself on its own and commit to stop being hard-headed and go see doctor. The next morning I get up, I grab a video from the ‘can do’ pile and I push play.

I know, as I follow the new routine, that failure is not calculated by the many pitfalls along the way, but in deciding not to get up once you fall down. In all things I must decide how greatly I want to change, commit to the changes that need to be made to do it, and succeed by going on even if it’s going to take longer than planned to get there. I have succeeded in simply choosing to go on.

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Welcome to RhondaWeasley.com. Dawn is a writer, theatre artist, and film maker. She loves to create and be a part of the creative. This is my webspace playground, for blogging, displaying my work, and general all-around fan fun.
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