I am fat. Obese. Twice the size that I ever would have imagined myself.
"How did this happen????" is what I ask myself when I see candid pictures of me that people take and post on Facebook. When I look in the mirror, I don't see that girl. Ever. I don't know if it is the lighting in the room, or the angle in which I view my face in the mirror every day. Or denial. Yes, it could be that.
Why am I talking about this?
I had an epiphany at lunch today, and I realized that people who know me professionally just think of me as the fat lady. One of the ladies at lunch showed a picture of herself 20 years ago during college. I had a couple pictures of me from that time, and they couldn't connect the picture of a healthy person to the person I have become. They saw a thin girl and a fat girl and decided I must be the fat person.
I wasn't always fat. I remember being 9 years old, and I did 2.5 hours of ballet 4 days a week. I was a perfectly average little girl. I was not slim, but I wasn't chunky either. When I wasn't dancing, I was playing outside. On holidays, my uncle would see me each a piece of candy and tell me that I better not touch it because I would get fat like my mom. I ignored him and ate the candy.
Then, the sickness of 1987-1989 occurred. I had pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, asthma and allergies all rolled into one. I was in and out of the hospital and on steroids for 3 years. My face got really round, and I wasn't fat, but I definitely was puffy. This is when my obsession with not getting fat started. My family would make well-meaning comments about how I should watch what I ate. I was definitely conscious as a tween that I was bigger than my fellow classmates. Heck, I started to develop in 4th grade and was always conscious... but I made sure that I didn't gain too much weight... until high school, when my mom would say, "if only you could weigh...". I had a BMI of 23. I did weight watchers. I did slim fast. I ate rice cakes all day. Eventually I got down to a BMI of 20. But it was hard. And I felt disgusted with myself for being so fat.
I went to college and gained the freshman 15. I also blew out my knee completely and wasn't real mobile. Not an excuse, but a definite challenge. By the time I graduated I was back to a reasonable weight. Since then my weight has oscillated back and forth like a pendulum, gaining more, losing less, gaining more, losing less. I have also had long bouts of health issues & continue to have joint issues which sideline me for months. I lived in a few places and tried Lean Bodies, Weight Watchers, Atkins, Southbeach, counting calories...
When I lived in Denver, I had a great trainer & was also blessed with good knee status. I lost 60 pounds and was able to maintain an amazing life. What was different? I was able to ride my bike a lot on trails. I had a good personal trainer. I didn't get injured. I was relatively healthy. I counted calories for that portion of my journey again.
Then I moved cities again, and immediately I blew out my already reconstructed knee with a new trainer. I also had personal issues around that time and the weight packed back on immediately. Then I went on a Dr sponsored weight loss program. It was awful. They had us eating 800 calories a day, and my entire system failed. I couldn't go to the bathroom, I was tired and shaky all the time, I turned grey. I couldn't think. And I only lost 15 pounds over the 6 month period. I was exercising 90 minutes a day and had severe calorie restriction, and it was so disappointing.
When we got Sofie, I was able to maintain the weight loss because we had an active lifestyle while I was on maternity leave. Within a month of coming back to work, I had gained back 20 pounds... And since then, I had another major illness with ~6 months of steroids/inability to breathe.
When I recovered, I started working out & dieting again. Small portions. Paleo. Primal. Looking at meat made me want to throw up. Over 6 months I gained 80 lbs of muscle. Yes muscle. The scale did not move. At all. Then I tore the cartilage in my good knee. Then I injured my shoulder. Then I injured my bad knee. Then I got sick again. I am not making any excuses for myself. But, bad stuff happened. I gained about 10 pounds over the holidays.
I know I have challenges. When I feel sad or stressed, I want to eat. Most days I resist but some days I don't. And I know I have to change. I have read all the diet books. I pour over all the nutrition articles I can find. I have tried so many things. All the different sources tend to contradict one another and it is hard to know what to eat (except for white food).
Getting back to my story .... so I was sitting at lunch today, and I have been inspired to try Dr Joel Furhman's "How to live for life" plan. This morning, I brought this amazing, large salad with navy beans, beets, red pepper, a carrot, greens... It was beautiful, and I mentioned to my friend that I was doing the program for at least the next 4 weeks.
She says to me,
"Yes, you should really lose weight"
"Why eat so much salad? You are setting yourself up for failure"
"You know, you should try to reduce your portions"... "why not eat [friend chicken and tomatoes] that I am eating"
"You know, you shouldn't try to follow this plan..."
"You know, you need to exercise..."
"Why do you limit yourself?"
"If you had a reasonable plan, then I could do it with you"
"It's too hard for women to lose weight"
"If you had more will power you would do better"...
and it goes on and on and on and on. I sat there in silence eating my vegetables knowing if I said one thing, this lady would no longer be in my life ever again. Maybe that would be better. I haven't decided yet.
Hello. Yes. I know I am fat. Yes. I have read the fricking books. All of them. I subscribe to so many blogs about nutrition and fitness and health. I have worked with nutritionists. I have tried behavior modification. I have tried small portions. I have tried group therapy. I know I need to work out. I also know that due to my shoulder injury I can't lift anything, and I am struggling to walk because of my knee. I would love love love to work out. My favorite thing in the world is working out. I love feel of wind against my cheek when I am riding my bike. I love to watch the birds dart through the trees and telephone wires while I walk. I love the sound of my feet hitting the trail. I love the smell of the gym and the anticipation of starting that first set. I love doing core day and pushups and attempting pullups and feeling strong. I love pushing a heavy sled and knowing I can do it.
I also know what I have been doing hasn't been working. Somehow at the end of the day, I am completely unable to restructure my body. I have read about what the constant yo-yo-ing does to your body, and I am there.
I need a body-reset & super-detoxfy to strip out the years worth of drugs I have consumed trying to get better. I need to care for myself and give myself tools to heal. I need to support myself and love myself and appreciate that I am who I am, no matter how much I weigh. And I need to believe that I can do it.
I don't need you telling me I am fat. Ever.