Before and Before

I love immersing myself in a good story – mystery, adventure, romance, drama, comedy, biography – it doesn’t matter what, I devour them all. However, my hands down favourite is the story of metamorphosis and transformation. Who didn’t love it when a made-over Eliza Doolittle walked down that staircase, or freak out when Jekyll morphed into Hyde?

I’m especially fascinated by the real-life transformation stories found in fitness magazines and reality shows. I gravitate to the Before & After section without reading a single word of text, completely mesmerized by the metamorphosis and vow to one day be in the pages myself.

My elusive quest for my own after began at the tender age of 14, shortly after I hit puberty and stopped growing vertically and sprouted Italian birthing hips.

1978 (age 14)  Be nice people - body suits and fuzzy hair were big in the 70s!
1978 (age 14)
Be nice people – body suits and fuzzy hair were big in the 70s

My first ever before photo was taken on February 6, 1978 – I remember it well. I asked my sister to take it… she chuckled then, and every time I asked her to document my resolve through the following decades. She never laughed at me (okay, maybe when I insisted on wearing gloves in my inaugural photo), she was laughing at the absurdity of it all. Who willingly stands in their underthings, posing to record their shame?

1998 (age 34) Don't I look thrilled?
1998 (age 34)
Don’t I look thrilled?

Needless to say, these before photos never made it into the family album, but spent a brief time on the fridge next to my kids’ art work, and inspirational quotes during the pre-Pinterest era. When my resolve dissipated and I became indifferent the quotes, I went hard-core and tried to scare the motivation back into myself by posting the following image from National Geographic alongside my before pic du jour. It did nothing but gross my kids out and give them nightmares.


Recently, I dug into our electronic files and boxes of photos to find some of my many befores (we’re a snap-happy family), but found an entire chunk of our archives missing. I tore the house apart. I still haven’t found them and I’m gutted. I searched high and low and eventually checked my usual go-to places when I’m upset. “Are they in the jar of Nutella?” Nope, not there. “Are they in the bag of chips?” Hmm, not there either. “Are they in the tub of ice cream?” No?! “Why can’t I find them, I’ve looked everywhere!!!!”

This is how it goes for me, I turn to food for a multitude of reasons and very rarely for nourishment and sustenance. I consider myself to be fairly bright and intuitive, but I haven’t been able to figure this eating to live, instead of living to eat business. Like most who have struggled with their weight, I’ve yo-yoed and sometimes have even got close to a healthy weight. Along with my before and before and before and before photos, I have the odd oh, you’re almost there photos, but I’ve never bagged me an after.

We are all living, breathing, walking stories, and this is mine. My friends call me Mare, and I invite you to journey with me as I search for my after.

Humble Pie – While writing this post, I nuked a bowl of tomato soup and poured half a bag of croutons in it for “substance” – I would have used potato chips, but I polished the bag off last night as my post second-dinner snack. Hung up on a duct-cleaning telemarketer. Noshed on a wedge of my favourite breakfast food – Italian pantone with dried fruits and raisins. Popped over to my neighbour’s house to drop off some documents. Texted back and forth with a co-worker. And taste-tested at least half-a-dozen Halloween sized chocolates.

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