The little red guy above that’s missing his left eye used to sit front and center on my desk back in Portland. He watched over me in our bedroom when we moved to Kaua’i in 2014, and went into storage while we traveled. He’s spent most of our time since we arrived on Kaua’i in our bathroom, but recently was moved out to our dining room table. He’s a daruma, one I bought back in December 2008 from the Mitsukoshi store in the Japanese pavilion at EPCOT. Made of papier-mache with two blank eyes, daruma are a symbol of perseverance and good luck in Japan. They’re weighted at the bottom, and their roly poly shape allows them to get back up if they fall over.
Following tradition, I colored in one of his eyes in January 2009 when I gave myself a goal of losing 30 pounds and maintaining the weight loss for at least a year. The other eye would be filled in when and if I kept the lost weight off for a year. That, as always, was easier said than done. Maintaining a weight loss has always been my biggest challenge, and I’ve failed every time.
I am not a naturally thin person, but I am also not a naturally large person. I have a small bone structure, and I don’t carry extra weight well. My body lets me know when I’ve gained too much, and will fight any attempts to adjust to an increasing size. The extra 30 pounds I brought back from our travels felt like much more. The bursitis in my hips came back. I had trouble getting out of our car. I got winded easily. I had trouble rolling over in bed. It didn’t matter that I bought larger sizes of clothing, or was wearing baggy/loose styles; my clothes kept getting tighter and more uncomfortable. I was flat-out physically miserable every day. I didn’t hate myself for being overweight but I hated the way my body felt, and knew I couldn’t blame it on getting older. In spite of lots of walking during our travels, I flat out overate . . . all the time, and had no one but myself to blame for the extra weight I carried around.
Following my doctor’s advice to lose 30 pounds, last year I once again buckled down. Brett and I begin walking daily. I also began keeping a diary of what I ate each day and planned my daily meals in advance. I counted calories, and my weight began to decrease. However, for some reason along the way, something completely new occurred: boredom and frustration never showed up. Following the rare times I did overeat, I got right back on the wagon. I’ve been able to stick with my new way of eating, and with the record keeping and exercise. The pounds that I lost last year have stayed off this time, for a year now. And my daruma has finally earned his second eye.
I am never going to be what anyone would call slender or skinny; I’m not built that way and it’s never been my goal. I’m not on some nutritional crusade, or have any great insights in what and how people should eat. I try to do what’s best for Brett and me; that’s all. My daruma looks at me now with his two eyes and reminds me every day that I changed how, why, and what I eat to feel good again. And, I stuck with it, I didn’t quit, and I reached my goal! I feel better than good these days. My bursitis hasn’t bothered me in ages. I have more energy, and no problems getting in and out of the car. I don’t even think about rolling over in bed, I just do it. My cholesterol level is a healthy 165. That I can wear a size small is nothing more than an added benefit; it was never the goal.
For most of this past year my daruma has sat at the top our shower entrance. I’ve looked up at him daily for the past year and asked myself, “Are you going to stick with this and finally give that little guy his other eye?” The answer this time was yes, and permanent changes have been made. And to my daruma I say, “thank you for hanging in there for so long.”