I have had weight issues most of my life.
I was an average weight throughout my childhood. Once puberty hit, I began to gain weight. I wasn’t heavy, but I was too heavy for my petite frame.
I remember sitting at the kitchen table eating cookie dough ice cream when I was about ten years old. My very thin, judgmental, passive-aggressive paternal grandmother sat across the table from me, staring. She looked at me as if I was getting fatter before her eyes. I kept eating, because I wasn’t going to let her come between me and my ice cream.
I used to eat huge snacks in the afternoon after school while my parents were still at work. I’d eat rolled up lunch meat, cookies, whatever I felt like. I would put a certain amount of food on my plate, and then eat more before walking out of the kitchen (when no one was in there with me). I didn’t see it as a problem at the time. I played soccer, softball, ran, played outside, danced. I didn’t think I had a problem.
I didn’t realize it was an issue until we moved to Florida in January 1995. I was a few months shy of turning 15. I went to my new pediatrician, who very quickly told me that I needed to lose weight. No one had ever come out and said that to me before. I was 152 pounds. I joined Weight Watchers, and got down to 125. I was able to maintain that weight throughout high school and college.
I was a size 8-10 when I met my husband in 2002. I was happy and fit, but I still thought I was chubby. I was a size 10 when we got married in 2004. I was the thinnest I’ve ever been. I didn’t want pictures taken of me on our honeymoon in Puerto Rico because I thought was fat. I wish I hadn’t thought that way, because there’s really no proof that I was even there.
I gained 68 pounds while pregnant with my son. Some of it was out of my control, because I was very swollen. Some of it was my own doing, because I went a little too liberal with the “eating for two.” At one of the monthly OB/GYN visits, one of the doctors in the practice told me that if I continued down this path, I’d be 222 pounds when I delivered. I left the office, called my husband and then my mom, and I cried on the phone. He was right, and I was 222 pounds when I had my son in 2006.
I lost a lot of weight within two weeks of his birth. I didn’t have much of an appetite and I was nursing. I ended up losing about 60 pounds all told. I felt good, but now had a mom-bod. I gained some weight back during the time before we started trying to get pregnant with our daughter in 2008. I gained 40 pounds with her, and ended up at 222 pounds again.
Since her birth in 2009, it’s been incredibly difficult to lose weight. From 2010-2014, I went to the gym several times a week, and several times a day during summer breaks. I really worked to be a model of healthy living for my children. I knew that weight issues were something that ran on both sides of my family, and I wanted to help end the cycle.
I was heavy and very unhappy during the 2013-2014 school year. I didn’t want to be at my school anymore. Once I knew I was leaving to come to MSD, my whole attitude changed. I worked that summer and lost 30 pounds. I was so proud of myself.
I was diagnosed with IBS in November 2014, a few months into my first year at MSD. I didn’t know until I saw my GI at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, that I’ve gained 50 pounds since I began seeing him. That means I’ve gained 50 pounds since I came to MSD. It came on so slowly that I didn’t realize how much it actually was.
I’ve tried so many diets and programs since adolescence: Deal-A-Meal, Sweating to the Oldies, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Beachbody/30-Day Fix, nutritionist, gym memberships, trying things on my own. Things have worked and I’ve been very successful, but nothing has stuck.
My brother is very thin and muscular. He’s always been much more into fitness and exercise than I have. He’s worked as a strength coach and got his BS & MS in exercise physiology/exercise science. We have the same parents, but totally different metabolisms and relationships with food. I’ve asked him to help me over the years, so I could come up with an exercise routine that would really work for me. Again, it worked but didn’t stick.
I’m not an emotional eater. I’m not a big snacker. I don’t eat in secret. I don’t eat late at night. I’ve been a vegetarian since 1993. I should be thinner. I also like to eat what I like to eat, which, although not in absurd quantity, is still more than I should be eating.
For my height, I should weigh between 110-120 pounds. That is unrealistic. I want to lose weight and get healthy. My GI suggested gastric sleeve surgery for me. I was offended when he said it. I guess I didn’t think I was *that* fat. Clearly, I am.
After everything happened at school, weight loss was subterranean on my list of things to do. I was sifting through my trauma and understanding what it meant to have PTSD. I was just trying to hold my shit together, and wasn’t really concerned with taking on anything extra. I practiced self-care by getting massages and manicures/pedicures. I didn’t practice self-care by working on my health.
I spoke with my therapist at the beginning of the summer. I told her that I was fully committed to losing weight this summer. I set a goal of 20-30 pounds. I didn’t reach my goal. I didn’t even make a dent. I was proud of myself for bringing gym clothes on every trip I went on this summer – but I never made it to the hotel gym. I wanted to take the summer to take care of myself, which apparently didn’t involve physical fitness.
When I saw her again after all of my summer travel, we revisited my weight. I felt ashamed to tell her that I hadn’t met my goal. I knew that I had failed, and was living an unhealthy lifestyle. I told her that both of my grandfathers died of heart attacks, my maternal grandmother died of health issues, and other family members have health issues directly related to weight. She said that I should schedule exercise like I schedule massages and getting my nails done. I need to make it a priority. I need to make myself a priority.
Logically, I know that I need to lose weight. I see the way I look and I’m sad. I hate that some of my pants don’t fit. I hate that I have to wear Spanx under a dress and I then can’t breathe. I hate that my children have a fat mom. At the same time, I feel like I should own the body I have. I feel like this is the way I’m meant to be.
When I asked my brother to help me the most recent time, he asked me why I wanted to lose weight. I gave him my stock answers. I then told him that I’ve been having so much trouble doing it. He looked at me, told me to cut the bull, and tell him why I *really* can’t lose weight. I couldn’t think of an answer. I want it to happen quickly, and I want to make it happen. I know that it takes time – even more now, since I’m almost (gulp) 40. I also have no motivation to do it. I should. I know.
My therapist and I worked out a plan, to make it easy to do. The first step is to simply put on my shoes. The next step is to walk out the door. Even if I only do one lap around my block (which is 1/2 mile), I’ve done something. I’ve also committed to drinking more water (although I already drink a ton), and to being more mindful of what I eat.
I don’t care how long it takes to come off. I just want it to come off.
I realize what a big things this is, to put something so intimate and personal out there. I’m hoping that this connects with people. I’m also hoping that this helps to hold me accountable.
I’m hoping to be lighter when I turn 40 in May.