*This post is the beginning of (what I hope) several posts about my struggle to maintain good health-especially a healthy weight. It’s been a long journey for me already and I wanted to give some “background” about my own story.*
I was recently chatting with another (popular and in the public eye) blogger about one of her blog posts. She had posted about joining Jenny Craig. I had mixed emotions about this. On the one hand, I thought it was kind of a sell out tactic-the celebrities do this and it’s tiny portions of microwaved garbage and if you stop eating it, you gain the weight back-for what? But then I thought-damn, this woman is brave and putting herself out there. Am I not alone in this fight? This spiraled into a whirlwind of emotions and feelings that I had hoped would be gone forever or that I had shoved down so deep within my mind and being that I would never ever be able to find them again.
You see, I have struggled with my weight everyday for just about the last 30 years or so.
I suppose I could dredge up childhood photos and then pre-teen photos, and then photos from high school and finally current photos…..but I won’t (right now). Suffice it to say that when I was growing up, the phrase ‘obese’ wasn’t tossed around like it is today-especially with the word ‘childhood’ in front of it. I look at pictures of when I was born up until 5 or 6 years old and think ‘That’s one cute kid-badly dressed, but cute.’ Hey, it was the late 70′s, early 80′s -and that fashion is supposedly en vogue these days.
When I look at pictures from about age 8 and up, I can see it happening-although at the time, I just don’t think that I ever noticed that I was “bigger” than the other kids. I still ran around in gym (but couldn’t climb the rope-argh), played an instrument, used the monkey bars at recess and had a ton of friends. I ate the same food as my friends-and sometimes would feel adventurous and sample the cafeteria fare. When I look back, I am so grateful that I was a) oblivious to the fact that my waistline was expanding and b) no one said anything-I really can’t think/remember anyone making fun of me.
I think it was when I was in high school that I started to notice that I wasn’t the same size as most of my friends. That didn’t stop me though-I still found t-shirts and clothing at the Gap, dyed my hair, experimented with makeup and hung out with friends. I was even considered ‘smart’ and in the top 10% of my class GPA-wise. Not bad, eh? What didn’t I have? A boyfriend, good eating & exercise habits, a stable set of parents (they were going through their own relationship struggles at the time). Again, I really don’t remember anyone specifically pointing at me or bullying me. I am trying to figure out if I am just suppressing memories or if people just never said anything….
So when did things get out of control? Gosh….that’s hard to say. My weight has gone anywhere from 114 all the way up to 197lbs. That’s a serious amount of yo-yo over 20 years, wouldn’t you agree? There was one particular photo that really put things into perspective for me. My then-fiance-now-other-half had taken that picture and when he showed it to me, I asked him if that was what I really looked like. When he hung his head, I knew it was. I cried over that photo for days before I finally decided that I was going to make a change. I’ll spare the details but let me say that approximately a year and a half later, I looked like this:
Great right? Try staying that way. I did all sorts of things-including training for a figure competition. I was featured in magazines, did articles for a local paper and did work with some supplement companies. I have a great portfolio! I even became a personal trainer-people were amazed by my success. My clients would ask how they could attain my abs, arms, thighs, body.
It was short lived. It’s not easy to make a living when you need to work out 3+hours a day to maintain yourself. Personal training (even if you were booked solid) wasn’t paying the bills and I didn’t have the resources to promote myself so that it would. What a mess, bills piling up, me trying to transition into a new job/career and the biggest challenge-moving. To another country. Granted Canada is still a part of North America. But it meant starting over. No friends, limited family, no job.
Before I knew it, I was 180 lbs. Again. How did it happen I wondered? Back to the gym I went. I would work out hard, then eat away my progress. I paid a trainer big $$$ to tell me I was working hard, when in reality I was eating myself silly. I would lose 20-25 lbs and then gain it back 3 months later.
I tried the whole ‘acceptance’ thing-kept telling myself “hey, you aren’t ever going to be a model, so why don’t you just get used to the size you are _______insert weight here and embrace yourself” My weight was hovering between 155-165lbs at the time. Still shopping off the rack but almost in plus sizes.
I couldn’t deal-I didn’t want to face it. Was I destined to be the ‘fat friend’? Am I the girl with ‘the pretty face but if only she would lose the weight…’ Was that me?
Four months ago, I didn’t want that. I still don’t. So again, I started searching…for trainers, for gyms, for nutrition. I went to my naturopath and then to a diet clinic. I started a detox (whole foods) and lost 15lbs. Being somewhat inspired, I dug out some notes and a plan I had from one of my nutritionists that I had seen during my ‘fitness competition’ days. I cleaned up my diet. I increased my activity-I tried new things…dancing, zip lining, biking, walking. But could it possibly work? And more importantly, would it stick?
Well months later, here I am:
I’ll admit it-things are good, and getting better. I am interested in moving my now ‘fitter’ body-a lot. I am discovering that my fear of heights is something I want to accomplish and eliminate. Food has become my fuel and not the center of my world. When I eat, I tend to think “Is this going to get me through my day/workout?” Especially noticeable…the changes in my skin tone, energy levels-better and higher.
So what now you ask? Well I don’t know….there’s still that ‘fat girl’ inside of me which I don’t think will EVER leave. When I look in the mirror, it’s still hard to see the person staring back at me. Trying on clothes is something that I would rather not do in a store. I may have shed some pounds, but I can’t get rid of the mentality. I think the main difference this time is that I am getting used to the balance-living in the middle. Something I have never been able to do…..
I’ll be honest, the time has come to stop the yo-yo dieting and living in the ‘extremes.’ I want it for myself. Now, more than ever.
So to my blogger friend who is writing about her journey, I raise my glass (of filtered water) to you and wish you the best in your quest. I’m cheering you on-all the way to the finish line, wherever that may be.
Anyone else ready to make some serious changes and stay healthy? Do you think that there are any influences on your weight/health? Have you ever struggled to be healthy and fit?
*Such a pretty fat is a wonderful book by Jen Lancaster, a fellow ‘struggler.’ I highly recommend reading it.*