When I meet someone for the first time, the first thing I do is tell them my name. The second thing I do, is find some way to apologize for being fat.
It's hard to believe there was ever a time where I bordered on anorexia. Before I had kids, I would go into a full blown panic if my size 2 jeans started to get snug and I would stop eating for days at a time. I loved being tiny. Then I found out I was pregnant. If you had asked me then, I would have told you that my routine didn't change that much. That I didn't eat that much, that I was still pretty active. I blamed it all on the gestational diabetes and the insulin resistance that comes along with polycystic ovarian syndrome. I'm a great bullshitter. I did everything I could to shift the blame. In retrospect, it was my lack of action that made me fat. I dropped the gym altogether and my eating habits became so incredibly unhealthy that the numbers on the scale just continued to climb.
During the eight months that I was pregnant with Jacob, I gained 122 pounds. Yes, you read that right. One hundred twenty two. I remember being half devastated, half in denial during my last OB/GYN appointment when I glanced at my chart and saw the word "obese" written near the top of the page. Obese was never a word that could be used to describe me. Surely my doctor was just an asshole. I never really liked him anyway...
The day I had Jacob was the happiest of my life. The c-section went great. I had a beautiful, perfect little boy. The next morning, the nurse took Jake to the nursery so I could take a nap. I remembered then, that I was supposed to be skinny again. Imagine my surprise when I reached down to feel a belly that still felt...well...huge. I dragged myself out of bed and into the bathroom and threw my gown on the floor. I hated what I saw in the mirror. My once perfect stomach was sagging in front of me. There were stretch marks everywhere. Even my boobs looked horrible. My husband found me crumpled up in the bathroom floor sobbing hysterically.
That's when I gave up.
My weight put a terrible strain on my relationship with my husband. We were already young, with a very unexpected baby, but now my already fragile self esteem was shattered. I hated myself. How could I have let this happen? How did people this big actually go on with their lives? Why would they even want to? Every time I saw a girl who was prettier than me (that was pretty much everyone), I would glance back at Bob just to see if he was looking at her. How could he still want to be with me? I became a total nutcase. As the weeks went on, the depression got worse. When I finally convinced myself that I couldn't wear maternity clothes for the rest of my life, I went shopping and not only discovered that I had to shop in the plus size section, but I was also a size 22. Newsflash: they don't make cute clothes for big people. The shirts are all boxy and floral and the jeans are all made out of that weird spandexy material and have bedazzled pockets and stuff. Someone needs to do something about that.
I finally started to lose weight when I found out I was pregnant with Carter. You should never start an intense workout during pregnancy. I don't advise that at all. I started jogging. Every single day I spent at least an hour on the treadmill and I cried the entire time. I ate healthier. I made changes. When I gave birth to Carter, I weighed 25 pounds less than the day I found out I was pregnant with him. I continued to exercise. I stayed active, I ate the right amounts of the right foods. By the time he was a little over a year old, I had managed to work myself down to a decent 170 pounds (an 80 pound loss) and a not bad looking size 12. I still hated myself.
I made an appointment with a plastic surgeon in Louisville. I had worked off all of this weight but I needed to ditch the extra skin. I had the $12,000 payment all worked out and even scheduled a date. Just a few short weeks before my surgery, I found out I was pregnant with Natalie.
My pregnancy with Natalie was a long and arduous one. The details are certainly to be saved for another time, and another blog. The main point here is that I was on strict bedrest for 27 weeks. I gave up again. I gained the weight again.
In some ways, this was even more difficult for me than the original weight gain. I was busier, more stressed, and I knew how hard it was to lose the weight the first time. I made excuses again: I was on bedrest for half a year, I don't have time to work out, It's harder for me to lose weight than normal people.
I hated going out in public because I was so disgusted with myself that I didn't want to force strangers to share in that disgust. I would punish myself by eating more. I was going to be fat for the rest of my life anyway, right? I now weigh 20 pounds more than I did when I was 37 weeks pregnant with Natalie. I even made a half ass suicide attempt a year and a half ago which brought me nothing but a couple long hospital stays and a few co-workers who still think I'm nuts.
I'm putting a stop to all of this. I have come to the realization that it isn't my weight that is disgusting, it's my unwillingness to do something about it. Rather than make excuses, however valid they may be, I have to own my habits and take responsibility for them.
I've already learned the secret to weight loss: It's exercise, eating right, and portion control. That's why nobody ever does it. We live in a society of drive-thrus and convenience. We're too busy to cook, we cruise the grocery store parking lots looking for something just a couple spaces closer to the door, we spend our days off in front of the television. This isn't supposed to sound preachy...it's a problem that I have too. It amazed me the first time I sat down and looked at the things I ate over the course of a day...without even realizing it!
As of this morning, I'm down 9 pounds. That means I have 74 to go to get to my goal weight of 160. (Sure, do the math, I don't really care.) My halfway goal (getting below 200) will hopefully be reached by Christmas. It's time for me to make a change. That way I don't look back on the rest of my life with regret that I didn't do something sooner.