“You have such a pretty face”

I’m a 29 year-old, stay-at-home Wife, and Mom of a 15-month old, and I’m fat. There, I said it!  I find it insulting when someone tries to tell me that I am not fat or overweight, when clearly… I know, so, I know you know too. Please don’t insult my intelligence. Please also don’t come out swinging telling me what an ogre I am either, ya know?

I KNOW.

You can call me B.

Once upon a time, I was a skinny, fit kid. I played outside often with friends and with my younger brother.

I started gaining weight in the 3rd grade. I don’t know if it was an onset of conditions at home versus the very beginnings of puberty (I was a “B” cup by the 4th grade if that gives the reader any insight to what was happening to me physically, emotionally and mentally) or maybe my thyroid started slowing down. I imagine it’s a number of factors rolled into its very own cluster of madness made just for yours truly. I got thick, I wasn’t fat yet but there was a difference. Even my very best friend at the time teased me at school with the other kids, which was weird to me since she lived right next door and didn’t have a problem with my weight at home. I never understood that. I still wonder why she did it. I guess I can assume why, but you know what “they” say about assuming! She is still one of my dearest friends, though.

I remember my baby-sitter telling me I was getting a bubble-butt in front of all the other kids she ‘sat for and laughing about it. I remember my mom making me step on a scale before the end of grade school and it reading 116#. Yeah, I remember that. Pretty well. It was the beginning of my “fat girl” stigma. My mom’s reaction wasn’t the best and at the time, made me feel embarrassed. Looking back on that particular moment, I realize she probably had fears for what my life would  be like for me if I continued to keep gaining weight. She, too, had a struggle with her own weight after having the 5 of us. My guess now? She was just worried.

I was basically done growing by the end of Middle School, well, as far as my height goes. I was a decent “D” cup by this time and was constantly picked on for the size of my breasts by the boys and chastised by certain females. People would tell me that my boobs were only so big because I was so fat (and I’ll have you know, as a “professional” fat girl, I can tell you not all overweight or obese women have a giant boob problem, too). Thus began what my mom likes to call my “grunge phase”.  Big clothes! You know that time in your life when you figure bigger clothes will hide your fat so no one else can tell how big or not you truly are? Oh boy.  Sometimes I wish I could talk to my 13 or 14 year-old self. She wasn’t that fat, not really. Not then, just bigger than average. I joined the Volleyball team in hopes of shedding some pounds. Turned out I was actually good at it and because I was the only  one with a decent overhand serve I found it irritating to have to start every game. I did not carry my skills into High School.  Not my best decision.

Middle school came and went and high school began.  Freshman.  Shit.  I had 3 siblings before me attend the same high school and with age differences approx. 6-12 years older than myself. My 3 older siblings being such individuals, there was no telling which teachers were going to ask me if I am so&so’s sister and what the reaction may be depending whose name came out. SO, here I am, a chubby freshman and a lot of flack or a lot of pressure coming my way. I steadily gained weight throughout high school. Again, looking back, I would definitely take my size then over what it is now. High School can be rough anyway, and it certainly was for me on a personal level at home. Made for hard concentration at school. Now, let’s mix in the kid who thinks he’s a comedian constantly making fat jokes about me within earshot, or how about that one boy who was super cute who told me, “You’d be the prettiest girl in school, if you just lost some weight”. UGH. I THINK I TOLD HIM “THANK YOU”? How jaded was I? I still want to slap both those dudes square in the jaw. These particular things would come to haunt me for YEARS. I found solace in my Yearbook class my last two years of high school, which one of my very best friends until this day, convinced me to join.  One of my best decisions.

My mom opted for a gastric bypass surgery in March of 2002. I was a senior in High School. I flew to San Diego to be with her and be near her for the surgery. We’d had this lengthy talk before she’d even had the surgery about how quickly she would be losing weight. She’d go on to tell me that she didn’t want me to be “jealous” of her weight loss so “try really hard honey, because you WILL get jealous”. What the— seriously? I did ask her one thing: to please not give me all of, her words, her fat clothes. Don’t hand them down to me. I was 17, what the heck was I going to do with them anyway, they were all work clothes and I spent most of my nights in the dark room developing and printing pictures for school! Senior year ended in June that year after her surgery. I think she’d already lost around 50lbs or more by then. She sure did try to hand down all those clothes to me and it did enrage me, as it was the one thing I asked her not to do.   It hurt my feelings and it felt like she was flaunting it. I was mad because she was right. I was jealous.

By October of 2002 my sister was getting married. Mom had dropped 100lbs at least by this time. Whilst out with my sister and the rest of the bridal party to whom I was a part , I remember the woman fitting everyone telling me that I had to pay more for my dress because MORE FABRIC would be required. WHAT? My 18 year-old heart was crushed, embarrassed. She had to say it in front of my sister and her friends, who were all a good 9+ years older than myself. I was most certain I would not be in my sisters bridal party  after that. Alas, she is my sister… of course I was in her wedding. Pride aside.

After this point I was pretty convinced that I would just be fat forever. I had almost conceded it. I had stopped caring. In my early 20s I tried Weight Watchers a few times and actually had quite a bit of success. Then the support system would fall apart, I’d be weak, justify, let stress take hold. Rinse. Repeat. It’s really just a recipe for failure. I never wanted surgery to be a my way of losing weight unless it was as a life saving alternative. I was always tired. I’ve never been a great sleeper. I had no motivation. No sense of worth at the time, I guess.

I gained the most weight in my mid 20s. I was probably at my peak weight during the last year of what was an awful relationship. Then I started losing a lot of weight at the beginning of my late 20s. I met my now-husband during that time and we had a whirlwind romance. Dropped the life we had to take care of some family business where we are now.  I got pregnant, I gained 24lbs. Not bad. At my postpartum visit I was only 3lbs away from my pre-pregnancy weight. Excellent. Then, I got on birth control again and started gaining weight. Tried it for three months and it got worse and it was making me crazy. Switched, things seem a little better. But now I am suddenly over my peak pregnancy weight.. What the what? NOOOOO. I try to find comfort in knowing I am still 38.5lbs below my weight at its very highest. TRY. I can’t help but be disappointed I surpassed my pregnancy weight though. It hurts.

I always wanted to have that drive to just be better, move more, eat right. I never ate a lot, per se, but when I did eat it was always at weird hours and it was never the right foods. I had a problem with a lack of appetite for a really long time. It took me a long time to realize that it was a problem in itself and a major contributor to part of my weight gain and loss problems.  I also had/have a problem with chocolate. And soda. And pasta.  I just wanted that drive to wake up one day and it would be cool and I’d be on my way to losing pounds!  Instant motivation and gratification. It doesn’t completely work like that. I wanted to wish upon a star and have it happen.

It wasn’t until recently, when I decided to get back on the stationary bike here at home, did I start doing some research on weight. Losing weight. Burning Fat. Building muscle. They are all completely separate entities and need to be worked as such. It started with a conversation with my husband about muscle weighing more than fat. It drives me nuts when anyone says that because they weigh the same.  I looked it up so I could say it aloud, properly: muscle and fat weight the same, fat just takes up more room than muscle, because muscle is dense. Duh. It clicked, right then. That made sense. Hubby used a pound of feathers versus a pound of metal as an alternative analogy, which helped me visually. Losing weight is different than burning fat. Losing weight means you could be losing muscle as well and not really doing your body a huge benefit. Why did it seem to make so much sense now and not before? It made me feel stupid how much sense it made. Then that made me mad.

So, I looked up effective at-home routines for burning fat and building muscle, since that’s what I need to do to effectively lose weight and strengthen my body.  I found this: Beginner Body Weight Workout: Burn Fat, Build Muscle. I thought, well surely I can do this, seems easy enough and the thorough explanation and reading through the comments section made me feel pretty good about this routine. No gym required, not a lot of time required (which is nice, because my toddler is everywhere) and can be done using everything you already have at home.  I read about interval training through that same blog, which is apparently what I’ve already been doing on the bike for the past few weeks.

So here we are… beginning. Actually, I’ve done this routine twice so far but we’ll get to that in the next one.

I am doing this to hold myself accountable.  I am not the most patient with results, so by posting numbers and progress, by having something to look back on and compare to throughout this process, I hope to keep up the so-far good work and be my own motivation.

I am not doing this to LOOK better. I am not doing this because I don’t like myself, in fact, I really love myself. But at 29, I don’t like how my body FEELS. It’s achy. It’s sad. My feet and my knees tell me all the time.  Playing with my boy shouldn’t be as exhausting as it is. I need more energy if I ever expect to have more kids. I am doing this for me.  I need to be around, active and present for many years to come.

So, here we go. For real this time. Wish me luck!

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