1.18.2011

Struggling to Find My Happy Weight

"Step off the scale! Judge your weight loss on how your clothes fit, how you feel both inside and out, and the choices you make."

"Why do I want to lose weight? Is it out of self-loathing or self-love?"

These are a few of the many words that jumped off the screen at me today. I was reading an article on Yahoo! about 8 Weight Loss Transformations and struggled to keep myself from crying.

From the time I was born until the year I started high school I had always been a toothpick. My mom dressed me in leggings all the time because jeans just weren't small enough to stay up. But as I started high school, I gained and gained and gained until I went from a size 4 to a size 10 between my freshman and sophomore years. I know this is normal during puberty and other changes during those years, and I never felt uncomfortable in my skin until something broke the ice. My sophomore year of high school, my mom and I were out shopping and I wasn't fitting in the size 10 jeans, when she said, "I guess we'll have to get a size 12, Chunky Chick."

 This picture was taken right before my dad and I left for Europe between my sophomore
and junior year of high school. Approximate weight = 150.

She didn't say this to be mean. She didn't say it to purposely hurt me. But that one comment made me hate myself, my habits, and the "chunky" body I lived in. I've never battled an eating disorder like bulimia or anorexia, but overeating became the way I dealt with my depression. Food tasted good. Food looked good. Food smelled good. And food wouldn't judge me. Food wouldn't call me fat. So I turned to it as a way of hiding the fact that I was afraid of my body. I ate because I figured eating would keep people from thinking that I considered myself fat. And during those first two years of high school, I gained and gained and gained some more. 

But surprisingly, without any reason at all, during my junior year I dropped at least 20 pounds. I didn't do it purposefully, I didn't diet, I didn't exercise. And for the first time since middle school, I actually loved the way I looked. And so did everyone else. I kept getting comments like, "Wow! You look great!" and "Have you lost weight?" These comments, and people noticing how great my body looked made me feel incredible. So incredible, in fact, that it made me want to take better care of myself. And I did. I didn't necessarily change what I ate, but how much of it I was eating. And I drank water like crazy. My junior and senior years were the best years for me, weight-wise. But that would all soon go down hill.

 One of my senior pictures. The skinniest/happiest I ever was with my body. 
Approximate weight = 125.

The fall following my graduation from high school, I moved out of my parents' house and into my cousins' house in Michigan to go to college. I attempted to buy healthy food for myself, but money was tight and finding time to cook meals seemed like too much of a hassle. I also hated the school I was at and started the self-loathing again because I knew how much money my parents had shelled out to make it possible for me to go there. On top of this, I had gotten 2 jobs. All of this kept me either too busy or too tired to cook healthy meals for myself, so I turned to frozen pizzas and chicken tenders as a quick fix. 

Pretty soon, everyone started noticing my weight gain, which by now was almost 20 pounds between graduation and the end of my first semester of college. I hated how groggy I was. I hated how easily I caught a cold. I hated the way my clothes fit. And I hated that the way my clothes fit made me feel even more depressed. I was angry at myself. And I was angry at my parents. Why hadn't they taught me healthy eating habits? Why hadn't we been more active as a family? But I couldn't blame them as much then as I can now.

In November 2010, I weighed my heaviest.
Approximate weight = 180.
After that horrible first year in Michigan, I decided to move back into my parents' house because I thought it might be easier to change my unhealthy ways. Boy, was I wrong. As soon as I moved back in I had even easier access to Doritos, mayo, white bread, and even less control over what I was putting in my mouth. I had no job, so buying my own groceries was not an option. And any time I asked my mom to pick up something healthier at the grocery store, she refused, saying, "When you pay for the groceries, you can buy whatever you want."

Today, January 18th, 2011.
Approximate weight = 174. 
 
And now, as I'm sitting here staring at my size 14 wedding dress that I barely fit into, I can't keep myself from crying because I see the consequences of my mindless, depressive eating habits and I see the consequences of staring at the computer for hours, rather than taking a walk or getting on the elliptical. And I hate it. And I hate myself. And I hate that stupid size 14 wedding dress that I barely fit into.
Today is the day that all of that changes. No more excuses. No more letting my mother control what I eat. No more lounging around on Facebook when I could be doing my 20 minutes of 30 Day Shred. No more being afraid to go shopping for clothes. No more crying because my jeans won't button. No more. Today is the day I change my life for the better and today is the day I take control.

*I'm starting another blog, in addition to Long-Distance Love, all about my weight loss journey, beginning TODAY. If you'd like to check it out, offer support, or even join in the journey, you can follow me at The Chunky Chick Chronicles.*

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