I am a Fat Girl. Trapped in a (current) Skinny Girl body.
Sounds a bit weird to say out loud (on paper) but it’s a true statement.
I often hear “Oh you can eat what you want, you are so skinny.” or “OMG would you please eat a sandwich?” I don’t particularly care to hear those things. In this day in age body hating is at an all time high among women and frankly, unless you have known me my whole life, you have NO idea what my struggles have been or how hard I work to look the way I do.
Weight has been a struggle for me, since those Freshmen 15 (or 30) in 1991. Left to my own devices of the wonders of late night pizza delivery and dining hall food it was inevitable. Who could argue that Cap’n Crunch and French Fries make for a well-balanced dinner? My love of carbs, and lack of activity after being a dancer for 15 years, proved to be a combination that slowly crept up on me.
That first summer home, I remember the hours spent walking my 4-mile route and combing the pages of Self Magazine for toning exercises. It worked. The weight came off. However when the fall semester started, so began what would be a decades-long yo-yo cycle. The trail of fad diets, Spanx, counting points, quick fixes, gym memberships, and general miserableness is evidence of my struggles. Short of surgery I have tried it all. Sometimes successful, but most often not.
It was a roller coaster all the way to Spring Break 2017. I finally put down the Big Mac and Supersized Fries. It was hard at first to change the cycle of eating poorly and not exercising. But it happened. Little bit by little bit.
I started taking my lunch – a fresh salad – 4 days a week. Eating breakfast daily. I started, I’ll admit begrudgingly, running. I took up yoga. My mindset changed. My body changed. For the first time ever in the history of my yo-yo weight, I managed to lose 15 pounds. Not only did I lose it, but I successfully kept it off and stayed with this new lifestyle for longer than I ever have in my history of dieting. It was working. Long term. It was a life change, not a diet.
I knew the true test would come during the holidays. I call the time from Halloween to New Years the season of Gluttonous Eating. And as in the past, this recent holiday season took a toll on me. Working at an ad agency, the constant food all around me was more than I could handle. I ate. A lot. I ate more than I should have, all willpower seemed to go right out the window. The weight slowly started to creep back on. I hate winter, and it was so much easier to snuggle under a blanket and binge watch TV than to brave the cold to hit the gym. I mean I could catch pneumonia going outside all sweaty, right?
Truth be told I started recognizing that I felt like shit and my stomach hurt all the time. So back in the saddle I climbed.
Soon I was back to where I wanted to be. Until life got complicated. The roller coaster of the past 4 months has been a struggle for me. A TON of shit came my way. I felt I was always overcoming something. Job loss, surgery, etc. There was always something. Exercise became a way of outlet, but quickly it turned to an obsession. In light of so many things I couldn’t control, my body was the one thing I had power over. I had complete and utter power over what went into my body, how often I worked out, how my clothes fit. I felt guilt when I didn’t wake at 4:30am to workout. I felt guilt over a third cookie, or extra piece of pizza. I logged into Myfitnesspal and watched the “calories burned” climb. The more the better.
It hit me today….Every morning, I pull the scale out from under my bed and step on. Every.single.damn.day. Waiting for the little number to tell me what kind of day I was going to have. Using that number as a judge of success or failure. When it was down, I was overjoyed but when it was up (PMS, too much salt, not enough water) I beat myself up. This is not the way I want to live my life. Self-awareness is huge for me. The light bulb came on.
Yesterday I returned to yoga after a long hiatus. I had built such a strong upper body, and yesterday I could barely do one push up. I look good (not trying to be conceited) and the number on the scale is right, but I saw last night what I lost. I want it back. It isn’t a number on a little machine. It’s a feeling of strength and beauty from the inside that matters. I want to be healthy and strong not just skinny…there is a difference. Healthy encompasses so many things. There has to be balance, enjoyment of life, and a good feeling that comes from the inside, right?
I love to exercise. I love food. The two can go hand in hand. I have an almost teenager who watches everything I do. Hears everything I say. I need to lead by example with my lifestyle.
A change in mindset needs to happen again. My body craves exercise. My body craves healthful foods. In the past year I have learned my body well. What works, what doesn’t. It’s time to let my gut (no pun intended) guide me rather than a app or a scale. It’s a healthier approach to life, I am convinced. For me at least.
I am formulating a plan, a summertime Let’s See What Happens. I am throwing caution to the wind and letting life rule instead of the scale. So many people live a healthy lifestyle without being a slave to the scale, a slave to fitness apps. I can do it too. The details will follow in the next post. It still has some kinks to work out, and I want it to be realistic. Attainable. Because I don’t want to add another fail to the list.
Stay tuned…more to come!