Accepting the New and the Now

18May13

I have a confession to make:

I’m a former fat kid.

Bigger confession:

I still see myself as that fat kid.

For years, I have joked about it as a way to protect myself. If I could make fun of it, it wouldn’t hurt when others did. And it was okay to make fun of myself.

I wasn’t born a fat kid, it started slowly. I was a pretty cute kid for awhile. My parents made delicious food and I was a solid member of the clean plate club. I hated exercise. Partially because of my asthma and partially because I was (and still am) an uncoordinated klutz. My allergies were really bad as well (got allergy shots once a week for 6 years) and gave me an excuse not to play outside. Basically, I was a lazy kid who would rather read or watch TV. Nothing wrong with that except I was eating way more than I was burning and somewhere between fourth and fifth grade I started ballooning and have been struggling with my weight ever since.

It’s amazing how mean kids can be. I was bullied a little. Nothing compared to the stories you hear, but enough to knock your self-esteem down a bit. I was quiet and kept to myself, anything not to bring attention to myself.

I distinctly remember going in for my 10 year old check up and the doctor telling me I was 104 lbs and laughing. LAUGHING. At a 10 year old with low self-esteem. At the time, I was confused. Why did my doctor find this funny? OH because I was fat and it is almost unbelievable that I could weigh that much at my height. For a long time, I have held this grudge against my doctor. How dare she make fun of a child. I think that was the start of my self image issues.

My parents put me on LA Weight Loss in 8th grade. At the time I was about 130 lbs and really short. Like probably should have been 90 lbs short. I was able to lose about 15 lbs, but as any child on a diet, I didn’t want to stick to it. It was a lot of measuring and calculating. If it wasn’t for my mother, I wouldn’t have made it a week. But it got me to a better place. I remember my aunts telling me, “you look better, now stay there.” They didn’t say it meanly, it’s just how my family operates. They are very blunt and they do mean the best by what they say. It felt good to hear that, but at the same time makes you think about what you really looked like.

Let me state for the record that I was born big boned and have extra padding. No matter what I did, I was always going to be a little bigger. I also carried the extra weight well.

Let me also state that my parents have always been super supportive and have always loved me unconditionally. They have never once said anything negative about my body or given me any self-doubt about what I look like. The decision to put me on a diet was not only excruciating for them but necessary for me to be healthy. I was a very unhealthy child and I wasn’t listening to them or the doctor. There was hope that an outside source would do the trick and it still allowed me to eat normal food. They were also able to do it in a way that didn’t make me feel weird about it, or realize I was put on a diet. The self-doubt came from outside sources.

High school was high school. I was still unsure of myself and it took me a long time to find my group of friends. I found my place doing tech with the theatre department. My friends were misfits who belonged together and I embraced it. It felt great being accepted when I was so uneasy about myself. I floated between 130-140 and reached my peak height of 5′ 0.5″ (That extra half an inch means I officially clear 5 feet!) By the end of high school, I think I was around 150/155 lbs.

Food and I have a tumultuous relationship. I started getting thoughts and images in my head of being the skinny minnie size 0. But I loved food too much. My family dynamic was surrounded by food. Every family gathering was all about the food and you weren’t done until you were in a food coma. Every achievement and good news was celebrated with food. I had issues controlling my portions and I always wanted more of everything. I was and will always be stubborn, so whenever someone would suggest I shouldn’t I wanted it more. Quite frankly, I had zero self control. I was a closet eater – as in I always binged when I was by myself. If no one saw me, it didn’t count. I constantly thought why couldn’t I be one of those girls who was naturally skinny and had nothing to worry about. I didn’t want to have to work for it. It didn’t help that my sister was a skinny minnie with boundless energy who stopped eating when she wasn’t hungry. So why couldn’t I be the same?

During my teen years, I battled with some depression and dabbled in thoughts I shouldn’t have. I wasn’t in a very good head space. But, I didn’t want help. This was about me and I could handle whatever it was and it was no one else’s business – not my parents, friends or family’s. I think a lot of it stemmed from my unhappiness with myself. Which really, no one could fix but me.

College brought the typical drinking and going out to eat causing weight gain. As long as the number on the scale wasn’t atrocious I didn’t worry about it so much. I did pretty well sticking around the same weight. I tried Weight Watchers with a friend sophomore year, and it gave me a better understanding of the food I was eating. It was much easier for my brain to view everything as points instead of calories. I lost weight, but never got down to where I wanted to, I think I got down to around 142 and stuck there. I have a problem where, once I know what I’m doing, I feel like I can cheat. Or I can calculate it all in my head and it will be the same as writing it all down. It wasn’t.

After college, I moved back home and the weight gain started again. Job searching and eating home cooked food did not do well for the waistline. I got back up to around 152 over about 9 months. Somewhere at the beginning of 2010, I finally decided to do something about it. I wasn’t happy and I was the only one who could change that. I knew I would need something to kick start my weight loss, so I started taking a diet pill. As much as I want to believe I could just change and have the will power to do it on my own, I knew I didn’t. My dad and I did it together and took Best Slim. I had tried others in the past and  this is the only one that ever worked for me. No side effects and literally curbed my appetite. My biggest issue was snacking and, as long as I drank my water, those cravings were gone. Whether it was mental or not, it worked for me. I lost about 20 lbs and hovered right above 130/135. It was an amazing feeling. I was down a shirt and pants size, I felt better about myself and had more energy. I bought a few new pieces of clothing, like work pants and a few jeans and tops. I figured the majority of my other stuff wasn’t TOO big, so I could still wear it. I was too scared that it wasn’t permanent and I would need all those old clothes again. Since high school, I was in a size 13 in jr’s / 12 in women’s pants and a medium/large top. For the first time, I could wear a small top and my jeans were a 10 / work pants an 8. It was a definite confidence booster to finally feel better about myself.

J and I started dating at the end of 2010. We both got comfy and a few extra pounds snuck in. More J than me, but still not good. My largest problem was I was feeling more flabby. I started noticing my old cravings coming back and J and I decided to go down the weight loss journey together. He is like me and needed that kick-start  and we started with Best Slim again. In the month since we have started, J is down over 20 lbs and I am down about 10. We have also changed our eating habits some – eating out less and cooking more, doing more salads for dinner, trying to cut the fried foods (which is difficult for my country man), adding more fruits and vegetables, etc. My big weakness are chips and fries or really anything potato. And ice cream, cannot forget ice cream. I also learned that I couldn’t not have it because it was worse than when I did have it. I had to learn to control my cravings, which is still a work in progress. I am also learning how to keep a balance – like it’s okay to have the dessert, but I cannot be gluttonous. I cannot gorge myself on food all day and not go for a walk because I will feel disgusting the next day.

Exercise is my next big hurdle. I HATE exercise and I don’t ever think I will be the type that learns to love it the more they do it. I have learned that if I don’t do any sort of movement, I feel like a tub of lard and it is not a good feeling. Things have to move – so we are starting slow. With the weather warming up, I have been taking Riley on longer walks in the afternoon as opposed to just letting her go to the bathroom and run around for a few minutes. This is something both her and I enjoy since she does get a little ansy. This dog loves to lay around, but sometimes she just needs to run. I started doing the Kinect when the weather wasn’t nice, but I really have to be in the mood for it. I think zumba would be a lot of fun, but I have a huge fear of doing things by myself and need someone to go with me haha!

Since none of my clothes fit anymore  I am in need of a whole new wardrobe. Thanks to the wonderful support of my friends, I started looking for new jeans. We went to Lucky and something magical happened. I fit into a size 4.  A FOUR! I have never been a size 4 in my entire life. I am officially out of the double digits and I almost couldn’t believe it even though I was wearing them. Granted, the jeans run stretchy so I had to go the size down BUT the fact that my normal size would be a 6 in JEANS was phenomenal.

Despite all these changes, it doesn’t feel real. I can’t believe it was me who wore this size, I have never been this small in my life. The problem? I can’t see it. The image in my head does not match with what others tell me. I still see that fat kid and I cannot shake that image. I am not sure that will ever go away, but I know I need to change it. I need to be confident in this “new” me, but I am struggling. I am filled with so much self doubt I can’t see the great accomplishment that is right in front of me. I feel like I will wake up one day and it wasn’t real and I was punked.

I still feel I look the same. I still see my love handles and extra jiggle. If it wasn’t for my clothes not fitting I would say everyone is full of crock. I don’t know how to go about changing that.

J and I had a serious conversation about this. I was going back and forth about getting these jeans because they are way more than what I would ever pay for jeans. My biggest fear was that I would buy these jeans and then balloon back to my normal size. I couldn’t afford for them to not fit a month later. He told me, “I wish you could see you how I see you.” That struck a chord with me. Why can’t I see myself the way he or anyone else does? If everyone is telling me these things, it has to be true. But the image I see in the mirror doesn’t match that, and that is where I need to start.

It’s funny, because when family sees me there is this shock and they say things like, “You are so slim now” or “You look so great now.” While I appreciate their compliments, it makes me wonder what did I really look like before. I have never been the best dresser, but did I look as horrible as these comments make me feel like I was? Again, it’s probably all mental and I over-think things WAY too much.

25 years later and I am finally focusing on loving myself. I thought once I got down to this magical size or weight, the confidence would come with it. I was wrong. I didn’t know that I would have to work at that too. It is almost as if I have to put all these broken pieces back together.

I must give a lot of credit to my support team. Between my family, friends, and J, there are a lot of people in my corner. I would never be able to do the things I am doing without them.

Long story short, I bought the jeans. They looked great and made me feel amazing. And I deserve it. Which is a really hard thing to admit to, because I am really good at justifying myself out of purchases  I am also going shopping to replace my closet and once and for all giving away the clothes that just don’t work anymore. I like to pretend I can still wear them and looking like a sack is totally acceptable. I really should be on What Not To Wear…

I’m also doing something this summer that I have never done before, I’m buying a bikini. I am the queen of tankinis when it comes to the beach. As a challenge to accepting the new me, I will be sporting something skimpier. Now, if I could only find this magical bikini that fits right we are golden! Where do people get decent bikinis anyway? I’m having an issue finding one without paying a ridiculous amount of money.

I am burying the self-doubt, or at least trying to. It’s not easy, whenever I look in the mirror I have to remind myself not to nit-pick. I refuse to step on the scale because I do not want to be obsessed with the number and want to focus on how I feel and how my clothes fit. I have been there and it causes nothing but anxiety. I think I am finally at a place where I can make conscious decisions without depriving or obsessing over every ounce of food. Or at least, I am trying to be. That girl I was isn’t here anymore, there is a new me. It’s all about the baby steps right?

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