There is a 45 pound and a two and a half year difference between these two pictures.
I am extremely overweight. According to the BMI scale I am considered to be obese. I have never been thin. My weight has fluctuated over the years. The last time my weight started with a 1 was either in high school or my first year of college. I honestly don’t even remember anymore. In middle school and high school I knew I was overweight. Compared to my classmates I wore bigger clothes and had the bigger body. I was extremely self-conscious and uncomfortable in my own skin. I never wore shorts. (I still don’t.) I never wanted to go to the beach with friends because I did not want to be seen in public in a bathing suit. I shied away from my crushes, since I thought they would have no interest in a “fat girl”. I never weighed myself since I didn’t care to know the number. No matter what, in my head I was fat.
I didn’t know what a healthy lifestyle was and I had no idea how to learn. I grew up in a house with obese women. Food was a way to bond and celebrate. Food was also how we dealt with emotion. My breakfast was usually a high-sugar cereal with milk. Lunch at school was either pizza or fried chicken tenders and fries with a soda. Dinner was the worst part. Nightly, our meals were white rice, black or red beans, some type of fried meat, and more soda. There was also always junk food and sweets in the house.
When I went off to college and was on my own I ate only what I thought I could afford. Inexpensive fast food, junk food and processed food. Every year I gained more weight and more weight. Then I started realizing I was making myself incredibly unhealthy. When I had to start shopping in specialty stores like Lane Bryant and wearing size 22 jeans I FINALLY started accepting how unhealthy and overweight I was.
The problem now is, I spent 20+ years living an unhealthy lifestyle. Poor food choices and zero activity have caught up with me. It is NOT easy to break myself from a lifetime of bad habits. I have cried over my body shame. I have cried over how ugly I have felt. I have cried over not having clothes that fit properly.
Now, I look back at my high school pictures and I WISSSSH I looked like that NOW.
I have, however, started changing my mentality over the last few months. I’m no longer going to be a victim of my lifestyle. I am no longer going to be down and depressed about my body and weight. I have the power to change myself. I have the power to make myself healthier and to live a healthier lifestyle.
I have met some AMAZING people who just want to encourage and share positivity. I have met one woman who is “plus size” like me, but doesn’t let it define her. She works out and lives life. She walks around with joy. I have not met her in person, only via social media, but her positivity is infectious!
I also have people around me who can help make me a better person just by their support. Support and understanding are so extremely important when an extremely overweight person is trying to lose weight. I know from personal experience that it is very hard to believe that a very thin trainer can really understand what an overweight or obese person are going through. I know I have felt like I couldn’t connect with some thin trainers and coaches in the past. I had wondered if they are judging me. I had wondered if thought less of me because I had allowed myself to get to the weight I was at. Going to the gym was a similar experience. I always felt self-conscious. I felt as if people were looking down on my for being so overweight. As if I was beyond help. When a person is extremely overweight, it is hard to stay motivated. It is hard to barely see any changes.
All of those doubts and that shame were part of the reason I was never able to stick with a weight loss plan. I also never knew how to properly deal with emotion and how to truly take care of myself. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not infallible. I am not some healthy and fitness fanatic right now. I am just someone who is realizing that there is ALWAYS a chance in life to make yourself a better person. There is always a chance to take care of yourself.
I want to be a healthier person. I don’t have the illusion of being a size 2. If my high school pictures weren’t boxed up I would post a picture of myself back then. I would love to just be healthy and more energetic. I want to feel comfortable and confident in my skin. Confidence. That is something I’m not all too familiar with. I would love to put on an outfit and just feel GREAT. Inside and out.
I hope this blog and this post reaches ONE person and let’s that person know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. I am JUST like you. I understand. Don’t be ashamed. Stop beating yourself up. If you EVER need someone to talk to who understands, I am here. No judgement. If you ever need someone who you can vent to, someone who understands, someone who can cry with you and someone who can encourage you – EMAIL ME. I want to help. I also want to help you set goals and reach them. As much as I want to support you, having someone to support only gives me more motivation and encouragement.
My journey is yours.