I've been overweight my whole life (despite being born at just over 6 pounds and 'undernourished' - go figure), but still relatively healthy and active. I played softball during my high school years and have always loved bushwalking and all that kind of 'outdoorsy' stuff.
I went to high school in the mid-late 80s, when there weren't nearly as many overweight teens as they are now. I wasn't hugely obese, probably a size 16 (there are far more size 16 girls wandering around these days). I looked OK, I thought:
I laughed it off, and was still 'friends' with almost everyone, but I didn't get to have the boyfriend, or become any more than a mate to the boys that I went to school with. Especially the ones I really liked. They thought I was a great friend, but that was it. They had a reputation to protect after all.
After school, I was still plus-size (but not obese yet). I always had to have the 'extra large', but could still wear normal clothes for the most part. I still had the same old problems. Lots of guy friends, but no one meaningful. I'm not sure why it was such a big deal to me. But it was. I just wanted someone to love me.
When I was around 19 I hooked up with a guy that didn't acknowledge me as his girlfriend until about 2 months in. That should have set the alarm bells off, but I was just so happy to have someone pay attention to me. I thought I was in love with him. He was nice some of the time, but he was pretty self-centred. When he dumped me (while we were living together), he told me that I'd be his soul mate if I wasn't so fat...
BANG. There I went. For the next three or so months I practically lived at the gym, eating little else but coffee and oranges. And yes, I lost a heap of weight. He thought I looked great. But by then I'd figured out that he was a prick.
Then I met Anthony and the rest was history. I knew he liked small women, but something else attracted him to me, and he always says he loves me no matter what.
You'd think that would be enough for me. That secure in the love of a good man I'd be able to execute my demons and find a healthy balance. But no. I think the issues that I have run too deep. Are ingrained.
I put on a lot of weight when I was pregnant with Sam (probably 30 kilos). Then I had a c-section and some pretty yucky post-natal depression, so it didn't come off in a hurry. In fact, it took me about 7 years to lose 20-25 kilos. Of course, then I got pregnant again. This time, I got to my heaviest-ever weight:
|8 Months Pregnant with Oliver|
|At my graduation in 2005|
Then, Anthony got sick (depression - a story for another day) and I had a tough year at work (colleagues that didn't always get along), and the weight started to slowly creep back on. Then Sam died, and it's been all down hill since then. I think I'm almost back up to my heaviest. Yes, I'm exercising regularly, but it's not helping.
Why am I telling you all this? Well, one thing that I got from Lisa's post is that it's important for us to talk about it. Not only because then people can give us help and encouragement but also because we need to make people aware of our situation. One thing that Lisa wrote that really struck a chord with me, is how we (us fat people) are often perceived as 'disgusting', 'lazy' or 'slack'; 'we've brought this on ourselves, and if we really wanted to lose weight, we would'.
In some ways that's right. But it goes a lot deeper than that. Most of us do want to lose weight. Desperately. And most of us have tried (and succeeded). Many times. We've probably spent more on books, gyms, equipment, pills, potions and shakes than anyone. I know I personally have a deep understanding of good nutrition and what we need to do to become 'normal'. We do lose the weight. And then something happens and we put it all (and then some) back on again. It's different for all of us. For some it's compulsive behaviour (I think that might be my problem), for others it's related to mood or even physiological.
It's not that we're lazy. It's not that we don't care or haven't tried. It's just that it hasn't worked. For many of us, it becomes a self-esteem issue, exacerbated by people's perceptions of fat people. And unrealistic expectations about how easy it 'should be' to lose weight. Woog posted the other day about the latest celebrity fad - 'How I got my body back'. Well of course it's easy when you've got a nanny, and a personal chef, and unlimited resources to pay for trainer, or gourmet organic foods. Shows like 'The Biggest Loser' don't help either. It's pretty easy to lose weight in those ultra-controlled environments. But who's got time to exercise 5 hours a day? How sustainable is it in the real world?
I know I have to lose weight. I want to. But sometimes that's not quite enough of a push. I don't want to yoyo again (because that's just as bad for your body as being overweight). I want to get to a healthy, but sustainable weight. I'll never be stick thin, but that doesn't bother me.
The problem is how. As I said, I've tried everything. I know that I have to make sustainable changes to my lifestyle, but that's not easy either. Sometimes I think I'd like to try a lap-band (a couple of people I know have had great success with it), but it's well and truly out of my reach financially.
And it's getting started. And training my brain. I look at chocolate and say to myself 'don't eat that', but then go and eat it any way. I've got to change that thinking. And I don't know if I know how to do that. Maybe I'll try hypnosis, or Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. Or something. I dunno. But I suspect you're going to hear a bit more about it. It's the only part of my 'life change' that I haven't got a handle on. And that's killing me. Perhaps I have a fear of getting everything right?
Anyway, thanks for listening. In a society driven by the way things look, it's hard to be a fat person. Sometimes I think we cop our fair share of discrimination, and it's good to share our side of the story.