Real Weight Loss: What it looks like!
I’m both slightly embarrassed, and strangely proud and empowered to post this today. All of our journeys with weight, food, health and activity are very different. Some of us (of all sizes) have really had to struggle. Others (of all sizes) may have never even thought twice about what they eat or what they weigh. I am definitely in the part of the population that HAS struggled. Whether genetics, environment (what I ate and did while growing up), or my specific life situations are to ‘blame’……. I have struggled big time!
At 12, in 6th grade when they weigh us all in the gym (part of the Presidents Fitness Test or something?), I was already 137 pounds and embarrassed that some of my peers may have heard this number! But by the time I started high school, with an eating disorder in full swing, I was only 108 pounds. I still thought I was fat. My mom would walk in on me in the middle of the night (2 AM) and I’d be working out. She had to take my door off the hinges when she cleaned my room for me one day only to find diet coke cans filled with puik that I hadn’t emptied into the toilet yet (GROSS, I know!).
By the time I graduated from the Junior College years later I was an uncomfortable 210 pounds or so. When the four rings that I wore daily, including my high school class ring and the first ring a boy ever gave me, were too tight on my fingers, I felt ashamed. Fingers can get fat too? My goodness! I joined weightwatchers and lost 45 pounds.
Around the ages of 20-21, I started drinking alcohol and eating more. It wouldn’t be uncommon for me to eat 3 fast food meals per day, a fourth if I was wasted and needed Jack in the Box at 2 AM even though I already ate dinner. It really should have been no surprise when, only a few years later, I was at my highest weight ever: 260 pounds! I found out that a boy I had ‘dated’ had told my friends that ‘at least he got to date me while I was still cute.’ And then I was at the movies with a few friends when we got popcorn thrown at us by some boys (jr. high aged or younger), as they made ‘quiet’ remarks about how fat we all were. It brings tears to my eyes even now that people can be so cruel. My struggle has been difficult, even without the remarks and silent thoughts of others.
A few years ago, I was diagnosed with a ‘non cancerous’ but aggressive tumor. For a week, I thought (based on what doctors had told me) that I had a high grade cancer, and I cried myself to sleep every night. I also vowed to myself that I would start taking better care of me. I slowly (VERY slowly, over a couple years) changed from a diet which consisted of ONLY processed foods and drinks (fast food, microwavable foods, diet coke, no water, no fruits/veggies), to a diet with no soda whatsoever, lots of fruits and veggies, and processed foods only 10% of the time or so. I lost 70 pounds! I thought I was on top of it. This was it! I felt amazing!
Well, throw in a major surgery (where even a year later, I wouldn’t say I’m completely recovered, and the tumor they took out is back and painful again as well), a new boyfriend (a live-in boyfriend, the first serious one in at least 5 years), and I am actually proud to say I only gained 27 pounds over the last year and a half or so. I can post this today because I have re-lost 10 of these pounds and am finally in the swing of things again. But the problem is we don’t think about the struggle when we are doing well, losing weight, feeling good. But we need to, because at whatever size we are at, for some of us the struggle will remain forever and always.
To any girl or woman out there struggling, I am here with you in spirit. I am here when you cry during clothing shopping trips because it just isn’t fun anymore (or maybe it never was). I am here when you silently carry around the shame and embarrassment that other people PUT on you for not fitting their ideal expectation of beauty. I am here for you when you are struggling with decisions regarding what you are feeding your body, even when you make the wrong choices. But I am also here when you decide (with no commitments, deadlines, or expectations) that you value your health enough to make some changes. To realize when you’ve gone off track and get yourself back on. And, I’m here when you have climbed the mountain in front of you (maybe literally!). And you have done this for no one else, only for you! For your health, well being, and future.
Today, more than ever, remember that we all have different constraints. Do the best you can with what you have and what you know, and if you do that you will continue to grow.