Monday, August 17, 2009
Let's play a game!
Okay everyone, it's time to play a game! What weighs 378 pounds?
Could it be 378 shoes?
378 1 lb bags of coffee beans?
1/5 of a cow?
How about a human? Can a human reach 378 pounds? Apparantly one can.
That's what I discovered when I went to the doctor's office last November for bronchitus. I had just returned home from my honeymoon. We spent the last 3 weeks eating our way through Europe and a cruise ship. I had rather hoped that because I spent so much time walking that I would have actually lost weight. Well, if you take 5 trips to the buffet and had 2 dinners a day for 3 weeks straight, you're very unlikely to lose weight with leisurely walking.
I went home with my bag of medication and spent a lot of time thinking about what got me to almost 400 pounds. Little exercise? Check. Over eating? Check. Overweight family? Check. I thought about the state that my body is in: bad knees, sore ankles, constant lower back pain, possible mid abdomen hernia and endless folds and stretchmarks. If you looked at an xray of my knees, they would not look like the knees of a 28 year old; probably more like a 60 year old.
How did I get here? Yes I overate. Yes I didn't exercise enough, but how did I allow myself to get here? How does a person spend their entire lives allowing themselves to stay in a constant state of discomfort?
There has never at any point in my life been a time that I have had a good body image. I remember when I was 5 years old looking at myself in the mirror and seeing a rosey cheeked little blond girl looking back at me and thinking "I'm too fat, I need to lose weight." My mother insisted from a very young age that I needed to diet. I have a memory of visiting Colorado Springs after we had moved away and I played with a little friend who I hadn't seen in many months. She was a little pudgier than the last time I saw her. My mother took me aside and said "Did you see how much weight (little girls name who I can't remember) has gained? Do you want to end up like her?" I remember looking at my mother who struggled with her own obesity and shaking my head no, and she said "You had better start watching what you eat then." I believe I must have been 7 when I had this conversation with my mother.
My older brother would tease me about my weight from that young impressionable age until present day. All throughout my childhood I was horribly bullied because of my weight. Children called me "tub o' lard", "tubby", "lardo", "fatty", "fatso", "fatass", Rosanne Barr (it was the 80's), and my favorite: "ecto plasmic pudding belly". That one deserves marks for creativity. My walks home were followed by children following me and throwing these hateful ephitets at me. Sometimes 1, sometimes entire groups of up to 10 children. I would have rocks thrown at me and on one particular occasion a group of about 5 kids cornered me in a persons yard and ripped my clothes off; the clothes that my mother made me. I had to walk home with the remainder of my garments covering my bruised and dirt covered body. My parents decided that the bullying was so bad that we needed to move, so we moved to rich Castle Rock where the bullying turned from the "in your face" bullying to just quiet social casting. The only friends I had were the other social outcasts who didn't like being seen with the fat kid in class.
My entire life I have been the fat kid. Even in my adulthood I still feel like that little girl walking home from school, clutching onto my ripped clothes and school bag and crying because I wished I would look different so people would like me.
That day I came home from the doctors, after learning I've hit the peak of my weight, I decided I'm tired of being that fat kid. I'm tired of feeling like a 60 year old in a 29 year old's body. There are 60 year olds that are more spry than I am. I'm tired of not fitting in an airplane seat. I'm tired of walking into a restaurant and the waiters coming up to me and telling I might be more comfortable in a chair without arms. I'm tired of a walk around Greenlake feeling like a marathon. I'm tired of looking a pictures of myself and counting the folds of fat in my arms. I'm tired of feeling like that battered little girl, and most of all I'm tired of fearing that I am going to die young because I've allowed myself to get to 378 pounds.
That's when I decided it's time for a change, and a real change this time. No fad diets, no promising I'll start tomorrow. Really making a change. X and I decided we'd do Weight Watchers together, and between Weight Watchers and barely eating for a month from a painful breakup, I have lost 60 pounds since November.
60 1 pound bags of coffee beans.
1/25 of a cow.
Bearing in mind I am still what doctors would call morbidly obese, I am so proud of of myself for how far I've come, and my journey is far from over.
After all this reflection and being completly inspired by Julia Powell, I've decided to record my journey here. My journey begins with the purchase of a scale, because I don't have one. I've spent my entire life dreading stepping on the scale. Now stepping on the scale will be a weekly gift unwrapping, because I will have shed a little more of the chubby girl and grown into a woman with a healthier self image.
Do stay tuned.