I have struggled with weight all my life—all 46 years. My first weight loss memories are of attending Weight Watchers with my mom when I was in 3rd grade—1981. I don’t think it lasted long, but it did last long enough for me to be excited to lose 3 lbs. and get $3. I remember going into PE to tell my teacher about my accomplishment. I also have early memories of attending Jazzercise—I think I was in 5th or even into 6th grade? Just me and a bunch of older women in the community room of the nearby church exercising those pounds off.
I also remember doctor visits—to the family doctor, pediatrician, and gynecologist—all telling me that it would be easier to lose weight now than when I was older. I remember trying the Cleveland Clinic diet which involved raw beets and raw tuna. Of course, I tried Slim Fast, too, and there was also a 1,200 calorie diet in there somewhere. My weight was an “issue” from very early on.
Since college, I have weighed as much as 280 lbs. and as little as 195 lbs. I have tried prescription medication, a personal trainer, weight loss classes, and even having gastric bypass surgery. I have been to enough nutritionists to be able to teach them a thing or two. I am four years post-gastric bypass and although I lost 80 lbs., I have gained half of that back.
My current situation: I see a personal trainer two times a week and go to the gym at least one other time that week. My hope was that moving to California would be the magic pill I needed. Who wouldn’t be motivated to walk, bike, and, dare I say, “run,” while experiencing the amazing San Francisco Bay climate? Apparently, not me.
About two months ago, my husband and I went to a local gym and signed up. It really needed to be a “rip off the band-aid” type approach for me. And, I am happy to say, it’s working. The scales haven’t moved much, but the clothes do fit differently, and my attitude sure has improved. It took me 46 years to weigh what I do; I suppose I need to cut myself some slack in order to lose some of that.
For the longest time, I thought, I am not an emotional eater. I just love food! Well, guess what? Love is an emotion. I know that I will always struggle with food and exercise and self-love. As I begin to accept that, things will change, not because they must but because I want them to. My constant motivation is my children. I want them to have healthy lifestyles, but I also want them to see that people struggle, and mom is not perfect.
Just like most women, I have “skinny clothes” and “clothes that fit me now,” and if I have the closet space, I will keep it that way. And fortunately, I have a husband who loves me no matter what. Cliché? Maybe, but he does. My battle with weight will be lifelong—it’s part of who I am. I have felt the embarrassment of not fitting into a ride at an amusement park and the triumph of not having to buy clothes in a plus sized store. I have never felt discriminated against, though.
I think in part it’s because I know that I have control. I have not chosen to be overweight; it is just what I am. I know that there are both nature and nurture issues at work, and I will continue to do what I can to simply be healthy—whatever that might look like for me at any given time.
So maybe I should reconsider how I titled this piece. I think it’s more that The Healthy Girl Wants Out.