For as long as I can remember, I have had a complicated relationship with food, exacerbated by depression. Some people eat to live while others live to eat.  I clearly fall into the latter category. It boggles my mind when someone says, “I forgot to eat lunch.” That has never happened to me. I need to eat every two or three hours to maintain blood sugar levels and to keep ravenous hunger at bay.


About one year ago, something unexpected happened to me.  A typical day,  I got up and headed to Shakers’ Diner to have coffee with my kindred spirit and friend Frances.

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When I returned home a little voice seemed to say, “Melda, you seem to be feeling better. I think you have enough energy to go for a walk today.”
“Really?” I thought
The last time I had that feeling was more than ten years ago.

I dug my worn-out sneakers out of the closet and walked out the driveway dressed in yoga pants and a tank top. Enduring blisters and shin splints, I huffed and puffed along the side of the highway for about 500 metres to Moon Line Rd.  Could I possibly hobble back home without have a heart attack?


It didn’t take a genius to recognize that I needed better running shoes. I had no idea how many years old mine were.  Attempts with different insoles and socks proved fruitless; a waste of money. Eventually, I asked a runner friend about her shoes and she recommended ASICS.

Ooh-la-la! Had I died and gone to heaven? What a treat for my feet!

Day after day, I awoke with the desire and motivation to walk. One month became two, then six-months and now it has been more than a year. Go, Melda!


Now that I have shared my amazing victory with you, I am going to take you through the past year. There have been many obstacles and distractions along the journey, but I have persisted.

I realize I am exposing my vulnerabilities to encourage and spur on anyone who is travelling the “get healthy” journey and may be wondering if it is worth it. IT IS WORTH IT!


That was the year we purchased Monk Funeral Services Ltd. and moved from Marmora, ON to Bobcaygeon, ON. For weeks I barely had time to eat because I had to learn so many new skills. Bookkeeping consumed most of my waking hours. On a typical day, I worked from 6am to 6pm. We went out for dinner and then I returned to my office for another six hours. My previously healthy eating devolved into eating whatever I could find any time of day or night. Oh, yes, there were consequences.

Poor eating habits resulted in an extra ten pounds each year. Ten pounds for ten years equaled a whopping hundred pounds. I had gone from a size 12 to a size 3X. Naturally, I was not happy about it, but the task seemed impossible.  I was dealing with mental illness and getting out of bed was an achievement.


While spending time at the Halifax Shopping Centre early last year, I realized my hips hurt after walking through a few stores.  Shopping is no fun when you are short and fat and everything hurts. Climbing stairs was out of the question. Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Yes, I was seriously overweight,; morbidly obese. I did not know my weight because I had refused to step on a scale for years, not even when my doctor asked.


Walking kilometres and miles was too overwhelming for my couch potato life. Then I heard about measuring in steps. That grabbed my attention. Measuring by steps seemed perfect to me. I have always had a thing for numbers, especially multiples of 100. As boring as it may seem to you, I found it motivating. I began to walk every day. Little by little I increased my daily steps until I reached…you guessed it…10,000. I had numerous routes and most days, I walked 3500 steps three times a day. I decided to purchase my first FitBit which kept track of all my steps.

Within weeks, my clothes were a bit loser, I had more energy and people had started to notice a change, but how much did I weigh? I don’t know because I refused to step on a scale. The number on a scale may mean nothing to you, but it has always been a big deal for me. As a teen, I got caught up with an eating disorder and was obsessed with weight loss.


Although I do not have a formal diagnosis, I believe that I have some degree of Body Dysmorphic Disorder. What?

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), a distressing
or impairing preoccupation
with an imagined
or slight defect in appearance.

No matter my size, I always see a fat person in the mirror. I have no concept of my true size. Am I really the fattest person in the room? Sometimes, I ask Glenn to point out someone my size.


Whoppee! Yahoo! Hot-diggety-dog! Wowsers! Yippee! Put your hands together! Would you believe
I have lost enough weight to fit comfortably in an airplane seat? I can shop in regular stores. I can shop ’til I drop. No need to look for a spot to rest my weary knees and hips. I reach or surpass my goal of 10,000 almost every day. Is that the end of the story? No.


At the one-year mark I decided to step on the scale. I should have known better. The scale and I have been mortal enemies for decades. The number on the scale crushed my excitement. It was much higher than I expected. Since I didn’t know my starting weight, I am guessing I had lost about 50 pounds, but the truth could be 75-100 lbs. Disappointed, I wanted to crawl into bed, pull the covers over my head and bawl my eyes out, but what would that accomplish?


I would like to emphasize I am neither looking for attention nor feeling sorry myself. Rather, I am putting this blip behind me and keeping my eyes on the goal of living an active, healthy life. That’s right.
This West Header will PERSIST, PERSEVERE AND PRESS ON and I encourage you to do the same.

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