I have a confession. I am overweight, and have been struggling with it for a few years. I know everyone says you should love yourself no matter what, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be honest with yourself and look in the mirror and say “I am unhealthy.” I love who I am, and I am glad of how I turned out. However I am not happy with my size. I want to lose weight not because I am vain and want to be gorgeous. As much as I would love to be gorgeous, it’s doesn’t really factor high on my lists lately. I already have a great guy hooked, overweight and all! I want to lose weight for an entirely different reason; Health.
When I was younger, I was in good shape. However, I was still larger than most of my family members. Despite the fact that I was healthy, being larger than my sister and cousins began to affect my confidence, and even my own comfort being around my family. There were times when I couldn’t help but look at them, and wish I could look like that. I think everyone in their life has had this experience. It is a pretty normal human reaction to looking at someone else and wanting what they have. This is jealous, vanity, envy, human nature, whatever you want to call it.
Sometimes, these feelings of not being able to compare to another overwhelm you, and you begin to forget all the things you do have. I was never by any means a skinny girl, but I was always very healthy and active. Of course like most high school girls I couldn’t stand the extra weight I had, but it didn’t really bother me too much. Still, I never looked in the mirror and thought “Wow, I am pretty.” I look back at those same photos, and I am now sane enough to know that I was very pretty, and damn I was in good shape. What the heck happened?
It was college that truly began my downfall. I began putting weight on at a fairly steady rate. A few pounds here, a few pounds there, it ended being a total of 25 by the end of my second year after High School. According to google, I was still in the healthy range so I thought “Hey, 170 isn’t so bad.” Well, that 170 continued to go up. A mixture of things helped it along in its process.
When I was twenty, I became very sick. That is another story entirely, but let’s just say it sucked and I was kept very inactive. Not fully bedridden, but close enough. My weight skyrocketed during this time frame. Once the bulk of the illness had passed, I looked at my weight and knew something needed to be done. I was no longer in that “acceptable” weight range and was now located in the dreaded “overweight” range. I started getting the random nutrition pamphlets thrown in to my stack of paperwork at the doctor’s office. I started getting the looks, you know the should-you-really-eat-that look. I hate that look. And do you know what the worst thing about that look is? Half the time it’s all in your head. You would not believe how uncomfortable I get eating in front of people because I feel like everyone is watching the fat girl eat. Man, am I cocky or what? Seriously, people have a lot better things to do than watch me eat. Even though I know this, going out to eat with friends, or even family is so nerve-wracking for me, sometimes I psych myself out to thinking I am just not hungry. It’s truly awful when I go to family BBQs and everyone is eating chips and dip, and I am having an anxiety attack because I really want a chip, but I don’t want the scrutiny.
Not to sound arrogant, or cocky, but I belong to a pretty good-looking family. My mother’s side are all thin, Irish and Irish Italian mixes who inherited all the best features of their heritage. It was very hard for me to look at family pictures, because I always stuck out. I was always the larger one. I began shying away from photos, feeling very uncomfortable when people would ask me to be in one. Why pose in another group photo where I will just take up half of it? So where does this leave me? Afraid to eat and participate in family functions. Kind of sucks doesn’t it? So once more, I stand determined before the mirror and say to my haughty reflection “I will change you, I will be healthy!” Then I go and Google food recipes. Ah sweet Google, such a useful little thing.
I am actually a somewhat healthy eater. I don’t really drink soda, I dislike fast food, I love veggies and will usually eat them as a snack. I don’t generally eat chips, or a ton of cookies. I don’t eat bacon, mainly because I find it gross, or any really fatty meats. All in all, my diet is mildly normal, but I also know it is not enough. I may not eat unhealthy, but I am not healthy either. This is when I realize something. I look at girls who are thin, and I can honestly say I do not want that. For me, I want to lose weight not because I want to fit into those super cute low-rise jeans, but because I want to get into hiking. I want to get back into horseback riding. I want to do this, I want to do that. I want to be active. I want to go outside in the morning and go for a jog. I don’t have a goal number that I want to be at, I have a goal in my ability. I want to be able to do things that I just can’t as I am now. (seriously, I tried pushing myself and bad things happened, read below!)
Even with my goals and my actions to correct my weight, it doesn’t really go down. It also does not go up, which is a good thing. I just seem to be caught in the middle, scratching my head trying to figure out what to do next. I have done the whole increasing my exercise thing; going to the gym, doing things at home, going for long walks during my lunch hour, and where did that get me? An extra 10lbs and a herniated disc in my lower lumbar. Fan-freaking-tastic. So what happens now? Rest, rest, and more rest… and a dash of physical therapy. And this is where I am now; Overweight, broken, getting married in 2 months with only a few lost pounds to show for my “New Year’s Resolution”; still afraid to eat in front of my family, and still dodging pictures that my family just love to take; oh and let’s not forget needing surgery to fix my back since my weight was counterproductive to the physical therapy. Sounds pretty awesome huh?
So how do I fix this? I am not sure, because many of my attempts have met with failure. What are my options? I don’t have many, but I am determined so I will keep trying. Starting Monday, I will be working closely with my doctor to help lose weight. Maybe having a medical professional urging me on instead of my reflection will give me the strength, and willpower I need to do this. We shall see.
What about you? Do you struggle with your health? Do you want to be able to do the things you love without the inhibiting factors, such as being over or underweight, getting in your way? I know I do.