I've always battled with my weight. I can't remember a single moment in my life where I wasn't aware that I was bigger than others, and that it was restricting me.
Kindergarten I remember trying to play Chinese jump-rope and being too big to jump high enough or long enough to finish out the rhymes. Looking back I wonder if there was a bit of asthma involved.
By 4th grade, even though I was having a great amount of academic achievement, other kids started to notice my fat. I became the joke often, and was physically assaulted twice.
Fifth grade was the first year I remember being depressed. My friendships were weak at best, non-existent at worst. I missed a lot of school because I ached in my heart and didn't understand it.
Sixth grade I started having physical pain in my hips, though I didn't understand why. I tried to deny it until October, when I couldn't walk without pain and my mother took me to the doctor's office. I also went on crutches. By mid-Nov we still didn't understand what was going on and I was scheduled with a specialist. It was discovered that I had slipped apotheosis, which, while not hereditary, runs in families, particularly with overweight children. Essentially it is when your femur bone is slipping out of your pelvis socket to the point that it must be pinned in place. The difficulty with this was not only was I overweight to begin with, but now it hurt to move and the running and playing that I had at least been part of prior stopped almost completely and I developed a sedentary lifestyle. Reading, which had always been a fun escape became my favorite pastime, and while its influenced my writing greatly, its also had negative affects on my health. I played dolls and did things that allowed for me to not move. For Christmas that year I had surgery on my hip, and when it had healed again enough for me to start participating in things like P.E. My other one started to go. I had surgery on it in June.
In 7th-8th grade they expected me to go back to P.E. and begin "normal activity" but by now I'd fallen completely out of habit, and pushing myself scared me because it reminded me of pain. I tended toward things like "goalie" in soccer because I didn't have to run. Now that I didn't have the "safety" of being weird because of crutches, I was the target of bullying again. My self image was destroyed by my own thoughts that I couldn't. The only good parts of middle school were my best friends who got me through it, but the way district lines were set, my 9th grade pulled both of those girls to a different school on the opposite side of town.
In 9th-12th grades however, I discovered that I could be curvy and cute. I made friendships quickly and got as involved as I could. Yearbook, drama, church, however I was still the chubbiest kid in class, and friendships were just that, they couldn't develop further. My self image was two faced, on the one hand, my soul was beautiful, shining so brightly. I LOVED who I was, where I was, but I couldn't get a date. I couldn't get a guy to look at me as anything other than a friend. I blamed this on my weight, my looks, and ultimately on my church's teachings. And the more it happened the more I HATED my shell. During church classes I remember my teachers talking about how all women who are pure in heart are worthy and beautiful in the eyes of the Lord. Since my soul was beautiful, and my personality was beautiful, I felt like this meant as long as the other girls were going to church too, we were competing only on our external shell. The fun, joy, personality didn't matter, because that's all part of the soul and that's all the same as long as we're worthy. My major crushes were my best friends, and yet they wouldn't ask me out, when I asked them, there were joking dodges in most cases. It was my first crisis of faith.
It was also my first real loathing thoughts of hatred toward my body. I'd always felt fat, but now I felt disgusting. I remember a couple friends of mine pulling out a scale and asking me to step on it, I don't know why the three of us were thinking about it. But I stepped on it and was a full 50 pounds above them both. 270 lbs. In High School. I'd never felt THAT big...but here I was 50-80 lbs heavier than my two best friends. Here are girls that are fretting over what they eat all the time telling me how fat they are and they can't believe that have to wear size 12s when I'm in size 18s. At church was so much worse. Size 6! I am wearing a size 6 dress! Oh MY GAWD! I was triple their sizes. I felt alone and torn apart. If we were equally beautiful in the eyes of God because of our souls being worthy than I couldn't compete with someone a third of my size! I would never find a boyfriend, and if I couldn't reach the highest degree of glory without a husband who I could live forever with then I would never hit it. And I couldn't look outside of the church because an unworthy man would drag me to hell! Hell of a lotta pressure on a 18 year old.
I graduated high school and all of these people that I thought were my best friends disappeared. I kept one, sort of two, but she moved so far away. I gained weight and fast.
By 2002, I started going to college and church at the college. The focus there, stupidly, was on service and you guessed it - marriage. I went to church for a solid 3 months and didn't even hear the name Christ said once other than in the sacrament prayers. The pressure to get married, the pressure to find the person I was supposed to be with FOR ETERNITY grew ten-fold.
The one guy that was interested in me sent of a thousand red flags for lying, he need to fulfil his calling to get married and that was all he wanted. It was stupid and weighed so much on me and I started to gain weight.
I started gaming online, and guys were falling all over me, but why?! Guys didn't do that in real life! I remember chatting with an Argentinian guy I gamed with. He wanted to know what I looked like, and I was cute and he already liked me, so I sent him a picture. Big mistake. His comment "Man, you would be so beautiful if you lost 100 lbs." I hadn't really thought about it in a while. I mean guys were paying attention to me! I thought the pictures I'd sent him were flattering. "Man you Americans are so fat."
I panicked. I decided I had to change. I heard about Atkins.
I didn't do enough research. I didn't understand it completely. They said "Carbs make you gain weight." I took it as "Carbs = Bad." So I cut them. And when I say cut them I mean CUT them. For 6 months I didn't eat a strawberry because it had too many carbs, no oranges. No carrots, no potatoes. Not nearly enough greens. Most of my meals were 80-20 hamburger and cheese. Sometimes I had some lettuce and a slice of tomato. The weight flew off. I felt ok, energized even. Who's not going to when you lose 30 lbs? But in addition to the weight I also lost hair...and a lot of it. My nails became brittle and chipped at things like opening a letter. I caught everything. I was so sick, all the time. I realize now, looking back that the illnesses, the nails, the hair, I was horribly malnourished. You should not live long term on hamburger and cheese. You cannot give up vegetables and fruit.
My brother went on a missionary trip toward the end of my Atkins adventure, and we went to Salt Lake City to send him off. It was during that trip that I suffered my second real crisis of faith and likely my turning point away from the church. Everyone kept commenting on how beautiful I looked, I was probably 265 pounds at that point, having lost about 60 pounds on Atkins, I was too afraid to look at the scale to tell you exact numbers. I was still a size 16 though. We were visiting extended family, and hanging on the fridge was a list that my cousin (or maybe my aunt for my cousin) had written in "what he wants to marry."
Any guesses what Number 1 was? "Under 160 pounds." This slapped me like a physical hand across my face. I was a full 100 pounds over that. I was giving up EVERYTHING to lose weight. No chocolate, no soda, no chips, no popcorn, no fruit, no barbecue. I stared at that damn "Under 160 pounds" for a life time. It still rests carved into my brain. I'd been literally killling myself for 6 months, and I was still 100 pounds over that. Names like "Big Bubba Hippo" rolled in my head. Names I hadn't heard since 6th grade. The disgust I felt with this "under 160 pounds" in connection with my super religious, "shining example" of a great man in the church burned. My beautiful girl cousin who was a few years younger than me was freaking out about her weight. She was 150 and getting close to that 160! Oh my gawd, her brother would think her too fat to marry. She was a dancer in school and out of school. She jumped onto the Tae-Bo train and had strength in her legs and arms, her body fat was probably in the 18-21% body fat range. Gorgeous. Healthy. She was and still is, perhaps, the healthiest woman I've ever met in real life. And yet my cousins would pinch her side or her underarm as she walked by being called "Fatso." I realize they may have meant this sarcastically. They may have meant this as motivation? I don't know. It destroyed me.
I gave up. I gave up eating "healthy" no carb foods. I gave up the church and the constant feeling that I had to be prettier than others in order to find a person to get me to the highest level of heaven.
It was 2004 when I started finding guys online that I really connected with, guys that knew what it was like to be judged and who could see past whatever crap I wore on the outside. I met my gorgeous husband who saw me, for me for the first time in my life. He could see my soul and how beautiful and shining it was. But he wasn't part of the church, and at that point I was ok with that. This was, to an extent, the final straw I needed. The church said I couldn't achieve the highest degree of glory without a worthy husband and yet the man I love so whole-heartedly was "unworthy" because he didn't believe in anyone else's judgement. Because he knew that he could only control himself.
I love him. I moved in with him by 2006, and started getting comfortable.
Realllllly comfortable. 2007-8 was a hell of a year, I lost four family members, from Sept. to April. An Uncle, a Great-grandma, and both my maternal grandparents. I turned to food. My depression quadrupled. School and work became impossible. In 2008, as a final gift from my Great-Grandma we went to Hawaii. I hit my all-time high around then. 375 ish pounds.
It was so hard to walk around. I look at those pictures and see only my fat.
It was the following Christmas that Scott said he wanted to have a baby in 2009. I couldn't have a baby at 375! I just couldn't imagine it. So I fought damn hard, I joined Sparkpeople, and lost about 17 lbs before I discovered I was pregnant. My very first appointment with my OBGYN I remember being PANICKED at that big. He looked up at me, and his expression was as close to an eye-roll as I've ever seen. It still makes me laugh.
His statement? "You are hardly the biggest woman that I've ever delivered with. I'd say lets try hard to not gain too much, but we'll just try for health first."
My pregnancy with She-She was the hardest 9 months of my life. I shedded weight, but not because of my doing. I just couldn't keep food down. I remember at one point the nurse saying "Oh Honey you HAVE been sick!" and the doctor saying "I don't care if its a McDonald's milkshake you hold down for an hour, but you have to get some calories in you or I'm hospitalizing you!" I started that pregnancy at 358. When I delivered She-She I was 303.
It was inspirational, and I felt fantastic. 75 lbs down in one year. Scott and I were both in a great place, we got engaged, we bought a house. 2009 was beautiful. 2010 I continued that trek, and hit 280. But I plateaued. Hard. I couldn't get that 5 more pounds off.
2011 hit and we lost our job. Our only job, as I was an established Stay at Home Mom at that point. We had a year of unemployment. We worked hard to maintain, but I barely made it into my wedding dress in July of 2011. And I started creeping up a bit.
2012 we decided to have another baby, we got pregnant in late May, and officially lost the baby in July. My depression was intense. I surrounded myself with family, but completely forgot about my health. I steadily increased in weight until I got pregnant in 2014 with Ky-Ky. I was 338 at the start of that pregnancy.
I hate to say that my pregnancy with Ky-Ky was a wake up. I realized I'd been going through the motions for 2 years with She-she. I'd been writing, and pouring myself into the written word, but my depression had sorta...bubbled around me. When I had Ky-Ky my body was again at 303. It was pattern. I found it funny.
I slowly creeped up to the 330s again though. I had 2 years of happy life, and maintained "OK." I hovered around 330s. I got pregnant with Ser-Bear, and we decided to move to Idaho and I've maintained. I've remained steadily in the 330s ever since.
I'm noting things now like its hard to go up stairs. My shoulder bugs me often and I don't want to use it. I don't want to go to the park because its uncomfortable to sit on the ground or to stand and push them on the swing.
My energy levels are CRAP.
I need a change. I want it to be lasting. I want to be free from this crap that I've spent my life building and fighting. I want my body and soul to find each other in love and acceptance. I want to smile again and live outside this bubble I'm inside.