I was at my daughter's school function last night and I ran into a mom I knew through various playgroups.
She spotted me across the cafeteria, looked once, looked again and asked, unsure: "Melissa?"
"Hi!" I called back.
"OH MY GOD! Look at you!"
Not to sound like a complete egomaniac, but I get that a lot these days. And it's wonderful.
Anyway, I hadn't seen this woman since the spring and she was so very complimentary.
"What did you do?"
"Weight Watchers and exercise."
"That's it? Really?" (Quick aside, I always wonder what answer people are expecting when they ask this. I suspect it's "weight-loss surgery.")
She had done WW in the past and asked me some questions about the current program and talked about wanting to get back in shape. I'm not a nutritionist or a trainer, but I am happy to share what works for me. I never want to feel like I'm pushing anything on anyone, but if there's a question I am happy to answer and encourage because if I can do it, seriously, anyone can.
We talked for about 10 minutes, in between wrangling kids, and as the program was about to start, we turned to part ways and sit down.
She looked at me, smiled, and said, quietly, "You give me hope."
Seriously, I could have cried.
People have been so very generous in their support, encouragement, praise and compliments. I've been called an "inspiration," and anytime anyone says anything like that it's very, very humbling.
But no one has ever said, "You give me hope." It just rocked me to the core.
I don't think I'm awesome because of what I've done. Yes, it's a great accomplishment that took - and takes - daily effort and discipline, but I don't think I'm better than anyone else.
Seriously, anyone - everyone - can do this. You just have it want it and do what you need to do, which when you get down with it are just consistent changes and decisions every day. You don't have to live in the gym, go on a reality show or eat food you don't like.
I despise braggarts and just because I'm now in shape doesn't give me license to become one. I don't have it all figured out, and maintaining my loss will never, ever be easy for me. Easier? Hopefully. Easy? No way.
For me, maintaining my humility through this is as important as controlled, planned eating and exercise.
If my example proves anything it is, again, that anyone can do this if they want it. I can't emphasize this enough.
To be an inspiration or source of hope for any person is a humbling, amazing experience and an unexpected, astounding benefit to getting healthy.