The summer before I started 6th grade, I began my first weight loss challenge. I was determined to look like the girls I secretly idolized on my favorite shows, movies and J-14 magazines. I knew to accomplish this I would have to lose a certain amount of pounds and get to a much smaller pant size. So I spent my summer updating a little notebook that I kept with my weight and whatever Active things I accomplished that day. I was 10 years old.
This wasn’t the first time that I paid attention to my weight or was unhappy with my body, but it is a memory that I look back on every now and again. I did lose weight, but I never got down to my dream pant size, and honestly I have never reached my goal weight.
I can’t remember ever feeling happy with my body. I was always trying to lose weight, creating new weight loss charts, trying (and failing) to maintain different types of journals, reading different articles and books, etc.
As I got to high school, I began having stomach issues. Every so often I would have intense pains that would make me feel like I was going to die. They were agonizing and no one seemed to know what was causing it. This continued as I graduated and went off to college.
There were times when the pain was so bad, that I could not handle it. I sent good bye texts to people I cared about as I waited in Emergency Rooms, where they could never tell me what was going on and eventually the pain would subside.
About four years ago, it was happening so often that I had to take a short Leave of Absence from work. Three years ago I finally had a doctor who looked further into it and found that I had a fatty liver, gallstones in my gallbladder, cysts in my ovaries and some digestive issues as well. At this point, I was working out at the gym and eating a pretty healthy diet. I was so upset that I was young and already having health problems, especially when I was actually trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
It was a combination of these health issues along with life shattering family issues happening at the time that caused me to put my health on the back burner. I stopped going to the gym and instead focused on working like crazy and trying to finish school despite the obstacles that kept getting in my way. I also ending up trading Meal Prepping for cruising through Drive-Thru’s. I busted my butt off at work, but other than that I became less and less active. If there was no studying or homework assignment to do, I read books or watched TV as I ate Lays and drank Coke.
Over time I gained weight. But I can honestly say that I did not notice it, or at least I did not realize how much I had really neglected my health. I was very much a rockabilly girl until my lovely vintage items no longer fit. So instead I started to wear leggings and loose shirts, telling myself that I was too busy to keep putting in this effort for my appearance and that comfort was key. My feet started getting wider and I blamed it on always being on my feet at work and bought new Nikes, trying to find something comfortable. It felt like it had crept up on me, but I was too preoccupied to care.
I gained more weight. I saw stretch marks appear in places that I didn’t even know they could be. It was harder to do even the most basic tasks like shaving my legs or putting on my shoes. Walking felt like a chore. But it wasn’t until a few months ago when I really noticed just how much I had let myself go.
My S.O. had bought us Disneyland tickets for our anniversary, so we set a date and ventured off to the happiest place on Earth. When we got there, they took multiple pictures of us in front of the Mickey Mouse head shaped flower display. The cast member took so many, I was excited to view them! We took our photo pass from the kind lady and went about our day.
Later in the evening when I was finally home from our adventure, I pulled out my laptop to look up our pictures, ready to purchase them all. When the photos uploaded I was horrified. I took a good look at myself and finally noticed how much weight I had really put on. I had never seen myself like that. I had never been like that. I was big. How had I let this happen?!
After a few years of avoiding the scale, I made myself get on. I was 235 pounds. This meant that I had gained a total of 90 pounds. 90 POUNDS in a two/three year period.
Instead of this new discovery motivating me to change, I fell into a state of depression. Pretty easy to do for someone who has been diagnosed with extreme depression and anxiety. I felt ashamed that I had allowed myself to become so unhealthy. I found myself looking at pictures from my past when I thought I was fat, remembering how much I despised my body. I was so cruel to myself all throughout my youth. I then realized that my body was just fine.
Our bodies are just fine.
It has now been almost a year since I had that wake up call, and I finally feel ready to take on this new challenge. Let me emphasize that I truly feel most of us, especially women, suffer from body image issues caused by unrealistic expectations shoved in our faces by the media. My 10 year old self should have been focused on playing all summer without caring about what the numbers on the scale said. Although I can no longer help her, I want to be able to help other girls and women in that situation.
Our bodies are beautiful in whatever shape or form they are in. I know I’m chunky, but I still love myself and the person that I am. I still think I’m an awesome person based on the relationships in my life, the things that I have accomplished and the way that I empathize with others. Being 100 pounds or 235 pounds does not change this. But there is a difference between self-love and self-destruction. I can honestly say that my weight gain is because of the latter. I was scared of what the doctors had found and I chose to find comfort in food.
I refuse to destroy the magical body that was given to me. I now see just how important it is to take care of it. So I invite you all to join me on my weight loss journey, not because I hate my body, but because I love it and want to make sure that when I’m 80 years old, I can still do everything I dream of doing at 30.
Stay Tuned & Stay Motivated ❤