I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. I actually was a rather skinny child, but by the time I hit 8th grade, I weighed 188 pounds. I didn’t notice that I was getting heavier at first but boy, did I feel it in 8th grade. First there was the ever growing awareness of boys, and the popular girls that seemed to attract them. Mostly, though, it was the clothes.
I will never forget the horror and humiliation of hiding in the bathroom the day cheerleading uniforms were distributed at school. I had joined the squad in an effort to fit in and get close to the popular girls so I eagerly followed them to the library that day to receive my vest and skirt. I don’t remember if I grabbed the largest skirt they had on my own or if the coach sized me up and gave it to me. All I remember is that awful moment where it wouldn’t go on. One by one my fellow cheerleaders finished oohing and ahhing at each other and left the bathroom as i stood, frozen in my stall.
I believe my immediate reaction was that I had to quit the squad. Somehow I made it out of the bathroom that day, and a teacher, learning pf my plight, brought me to her house and added extra panels that she claimed blended right in to the pleats of the skirt and no one would notice. Maybe that’s true. Maybe not a single other girl, boy, or spectator ever realized my skirt had been altered to “plus” size, but I knew.
I also knew the embarrassment of shopping for a graduation dress later that year. Store after store we went until I settled on a dress meant for a high school dance, not an 8th grade graduation.I was so ashamed that day, I think I destroyed every picture that was taken of me. The only one that remains is my official class photo where I’m desperately trying to hide my discomfort and shame.
I wish I could tell you how I went from 188 pounds at the end of 8th grade to being about 150 pounds my freshman year of high school. If I had to guess, I would say I cut back on regular pop drastically and the rest was just hormones and growth. I honestly do not know how, but the next four years passed by without incident. I never fluctuated more than ten pounds either way and even made it through my first two years of college sitting at about 165. 2006 ended up being a turning point in my life. Having taken just about every general education course I could, I was stuck. Now what?
With no career direction, I spent the next few years bouncing between three colleges, was fired from a job for the first time, and my anxiety kicked in full force. I’m not at all proud to admit it, but after a bout of depression and unemployment, I dropped out of college. Actually, I was failing out of college, but I chose to stop attending before it was official. At this point I weighed over 200 pounds.
I have a history of eating my emotions and during this chaotic time, it showed. From 2006 to 2010, I gained about ten pounds a year. At my heaviest, I weighed 225 pounds. I kept telling myself I would never let it get that far, and then I would stress out when the scale kept showing a higher number.
I wanted to lose weight, but I didn’t know how. I loved food, especially dessert, and I couldn’t buy in to a program where I had to deny myself. I went back and forth, “Should I exercise first and eat the same, or should I cut my calories and add exercise later?” There was so much information out there that for the longest time, I did nothing but read about losing weight. Knowledge is great, but knowledge without action becomes useless. I dabbled half-heartedly with exercise, I downloaded apps and recorded my calories every once in a while, but nothing ever stuck.
This was not all bad, however, because I was becoming so much more conscious of my body and the food going into it. That first year I didn’t lose any weight in the end, but I didn’t gain any either. I had broken the cycle. The last two years(2012 and 2013), I have lost a few pounds that have stayed off, but I still have so far to go. I don’t always know what I’m doing, but there will be a section of my blog to document every step of this process.