My yearly checkup began as awkwardly as they usually do, with the exam, minor chit-chat, scheduling my first mammogram (which was not nearly as awful as I thought it would be), and then talking about any other concerns I had. Then my doctor said the sentence all women hate to hear, “Let’s talk about your weight”. Ugh. He also added, in his defense, “not something any woman wants to hear from their overweight gynecologist”. He got points for that. He gently nudged me towards a talk about my weight (my lifelong struggle) and healthy options for losing the weight. This was in October, then came the season of eating (Halloween through Christmas), and it was merely a thought in the back of my head.
I have struggled with my weight for my entire life. I cannot ever remember a time when I looked at myself in the mirror and said “Finally. My goal weight! I look so good, I won’t think about it again”. Never. Even as a little girl, I had chubby cheeks and thighs when I was still young enough to be cute and chubby. As a teenager, I starved myself down enough that I was accepted into modeling classes, only to have them weigh us in in front of the other girls, click their tongue at me (I was the only one actually over 5’9) and say that I needed to lose just a fewwwww more pounds. So I did. And a few more. To get there, I took water pills and laxatives, binged and purged, and exercised obsessively, and generally hated myself. My parents did seek counseling for me, but as with most people undergoing counseling for an eating disorder, the counseling did not help to change my disordered thinking that much, since I was not ready to change (sounds so cliche, but it is so true. You cannot make someone change who is not ready or interested in changing). My self loathing continued, and my weight fluctuated wildly, until I found out I was expecting my little love of my life. I finally had someone to change my ways for, a person growing inside my body. I only gained 19 pounds during my pregnancy, so post baby, I did not have a lot of issues losing the baby weight. With a newborn as a stay at home mama, you don’t have a lot of time to do much more than survive. I am a terrible stress eater, because cheese dip and tortilla chips love you back, so by the time I found myself as a single mama, the weight was coming back on. I pride myself on cooking dinner for my little man, and making certain that we eat dinner at the table, but at the end of a long work day, I typically do not have the energy to cook something boneless, skinless, and sodium free, that Cole will simply not eat, while he gets some popcorn chicken, macaroni and cheese and green beans. (Which one sounds better to you after a stressful day?).
So, to have one more person tell me that I was overweight, it really didn’t take me back to anywhere dark in my head. I have heard it my whole life, and I can kind of brush it off. I think my snapping point came last week when I ordered a blouse in my regular size, only to put it on, and have it almost cut the circulation off of my lower body (wish I was kidding). Also on my points of self loathing was the innocent comment a friend made as we were rushing somewhere, as she described us both as “tubby”. Now, I am a strong woman, but I store things like that away and bring them up, just to punish myself, I guess.
So this past weekend I decided to make a change, after being brave enough to get on the stinking scale. I had gained a whopping 15 pounds since Halloween. Last year at work, we had a Biggest Winner competition, and while I would rather poke myself in the eye than have another human being weigh me in, I decided to opt out of the compeition this year, and go it on my own. I attended a Mediterranean cooking class this last fall (during my season of eating, even), and we talked about a plant based diet, and how it is the most heart healthy you can do. So, I started yesterday. I am planning a cheat day for myself once a week. But will I struggle? Yes. Am I human? Yes. But my child deserves to have a healthy mama (a working mama who cannot afford to buy a whole new wardrobe, the real motivation for my weight loss goals, let’s be honest). I know how to lose weight, but like most people, I get caught up in my life, working and mommy life, and the holidays, and the dinners and the parties…and let’s face it, I am Southern, food is a gigantic part of my life.