No, Calvin, there will not be pictures, and frankly, you’re going to thank me for that.
Unlike the my best buds Laura and Kim, I’m not overweight. What? What was that? If I’m not overweight, why am I here? I’m here because overweight was a very long time ago; actually, overweight was the rest of my life prior to the last, say, 14 years. I’m not overweight; I’m obese. By the charts and the figures and those little statistical maps of how much I “should” weigh (we’ll come back to that), I’m actually morbidly obese.
You want a moment you can’t get back, people? Try the one where someone writes down that you are morbidly obese. On paper. In print. To be there for eternity. Yeah, I cried.
I always joke that I cried like hell the first time I hit 190 pounds — and I’d cry like hell if I were ever to see it again, but for an entirely different reason.
Maybe a little background while you get over the shellshock. First of all, I’m a tall girl. Long ago (and far, far away), I was 5’9-1/2″. Whether by age, menopause, or the weight of my ass pulling me down, I’m now down to 5’9″. I remember hating being tall as a kid; I mean, those years when the girls grow faster than the boys? The guys had to flip a coin about whether they wanted to dance with me at school dances because while their faces would be in the perfect range of my breasts, their pride would take a beating at being a solid foot shorter than I was. (Just for the record, pride usually won out.)
I was just over 9 pounds when I was born. I had a milk allergy that would mean that I had to be fed with a glucose formula as a baby and then would spend my formative years keeping Hi-C in business. I wonder how much those things contributed to the insulin-resistance that would find me later in life, which is one of the things that I will be documenting in the future on this blog. I was always bigger than the other kids, though I was an active kid and didn’t overeat before I was a teenager (ahhh, hormones). If you could see pictures of my great-grandmothers, you’d understand a bit more about my body size and type. Basically, I was built to (a) give birth and (b) keep a wagon train moving across the Ohio Valley. Unfortunately (a) gave way to my mother’s genes and left me surgically menopausal early on, with 1 child, and there just isn’t a lot of call for (b) anymore. So I was always ‘a big girl’ in a little girl’s world. Except for the summer I turned 17.
That summer I decided that was it. Like Laura and Kim, I had my heartbroken, though earlier that year. It just wasn’t until June that he was no longer in my face every single day and that I could ignore everything else, as only those who are children can, and throw myself head-long into an exercise obsession. I say that like it was unhealthy, and looking back, okay, in some ways it was. But, it was also the best I’d ever felt in my entire life. Those endorphins were the best drugs ever made. I lost more than 30 pounds in about 90 days. I’d learn later from my husband and then my mother that I’d lost TOO much and was entirely too thin. I can see it now looking at those pictures. I looked like bloody hell – gaunt, spindly, eww. Frankly, I have a big head, big shoulders, big hands — I looked dumb. As I say about the super skinny girls now, I needed a sandwich, stat. By the by, I weighed 158 pounds. I felt fantastic, and I did NOT take it for granted. By God, it was the first time in my life that I’d been anything approaching skinny! I was living it up! All new clothes-barely there clothes, going new places, meeting new people, doing new things. A whole new world was open to me. But I had my head on straight and knew that new attention from old people had nothing to do with who I was, but with what I looked like. And that made their attention worthless to me, which caused mixed feelings — it was what I’d always wanted in so many ways, but now that I had it, I didn’t want it because it didn’t mean anything. A catch-22. The ultimate show of that would come when a family friend would notice me as a ‘woman’ for the first time because I was skinny, and then he would get drunk and rape me. I slowly gained the weight back over the next year and then added to it as I finished my freshman year of college.
From there, my weight would bounce around for a while, usually based on my work life and my activity level, which would always dip drastically in the winter — from the Midwest and not a winter sports kind of girl. My next major breakup would again bring major weight loss (and a whoooole lot of smoking – so much harder to stick food in your mouth when you’re puffing your lungs into their grave), and that’s when I would meet my husband, who thought I was gorgeous at 218 pounds.
Not sure what it is about love settling in that causes such weight gain. It isn’t that immediate head-over-heels love; no, during that, I think you’re so high that even if you do eat like you’re solely responsible for the nutrition intake for all of China, the endorphins vaporize those calories or something. It’s the settling in, the getting comfortable, that helps pack it back on. We were also very introverted and didn’t get nearly enough exercise; we tried at times but never regularly enough. By the time we got married, we were both much heavier than when we met.
Unlike most women, I actually lost weight during my pregnancy, but since I had it to lose, the doctor said that as long as the baby was growing, no harm/no foul. Once the urge to throw myself over a cliff from the nausea finally abated, I felt FANTASTIC between the hormones and the lost weight. I’d gain again in the last trimester as the baby grew and I lost all ability to stand up out of a chair, but I still gave birth weighing less than I did when I got pregnant. And then? Then I fell into such a deep depression that if eating myself to death was an option, that was okay with me.
It was several years later that I’d finally seek help for my depression and start on an antidepressant that made me stop wanting to hurl myself into traffic, as well as finding a great counselor to get some much needed therapy. We talked about the rape and whether it has kept me from wanting to be thin again. Honestly, I don’t have an answer to that question. I don’t recall having a problem with being the size that I was when I met my husband, which was thin-ish for me; actually, in typing that it makes me wonder, as I do seem to recall being a bit nervous at times, but that could also be that I’d thrown out my live-in bf and was now a single girl with no family around, no friends who lived close by, and living in not the nicest part of town. I guess maybe there’s something to the “thin” thing, though I never, ever want to be as thin as I was. Do I have a complex about being thin and being noticed by people who would never notice me now? I’m not sure. Do I feel “safer” looking like I do? Brutal honesty? Yes, in some ways I do; rapists aren’t normally known for picking the fat chick. At the same time though, I’ve always been the prepared type, so it is not lost on me that I couldn’t run away from anyone who wanted to hurt me. I digress.
The most recent bit of the story comes from surgery to remove my gallbladder, which left my body a mess with irritable bowel syndrome, lactose-intolerance, and having to learn a whole new way of eating to deal with those things. A couple years later, I would have a 4-month long pneumonia that would be immediately followed by emergency surgery that would leave me menopausal in my 30s and with a 2-month inactive recovery (coupled with the previous pneumonia) that would leave my lungs still challenged and my body a disaster. Ladies, if I can teach you ANYTHING in reading this blog, please let it be this: It is imperative that you have good control of the rest of your body before you reach menopause, because at that moment, everything goes to hell in a handbasket and you are NOT at the wheel. Just a little something to look forward to, sorry, but I’d rather you heard it hear first. I’ve gained weight in places that I never gained weight before. Things have pulled and moved and changed… it isn’t pretty. Do something. Do it now.
So, why am I here? What are my goals?
I want to feel better. I want to be healthier. This insulin-resistance thing has to be taken seriously because the next step is diabetes, and there is no going back from that one. I want to be able to run and play with my kid and my dog. I want to enjoy my life, my sex life, my life after my kid grows up and moves out and gets his own life (you have your dreams, I have mine). I want to have energy. I want to have a new wardrobe in my old clothes. I’d love to be 190 pounds again, though at this point, I also worry that surgery would be involved to fix things that don’t shift back into place, and I’m not sure it’s worth that for an extra 20-30 pounds. Cart before the horse though; I’ll cross that bridge when I get within 20 miles of it.
I have no interest in marathons or running. You won’t see me doing Jillian’s 30-day Shred; she shreds me merely by looking at me like that from the box, though I will cheer on my comrades and totally enjoy their whining success! I’ll be starting by trying to exercise every day, in some form, even if it’s only for 10 minutes at a time. (An extra challenge today after having a fever of 102 last night.) I’ve been doing some adjusting of my diet but need to do some more. My nutritionist says I need to keep a food journal, and since that worked for me in the past, I’m going to do it again (nothing keeps you from having those chips or cookies like knowing you have to write them down and break your limit for the day). I’m also going to try to increase my water every day, which again works well with keeping a journal so I can keep track.
I don’t own a scale that works, and I probably won’t be buying one; therefore, I won’t be posting my weight either. I will probably do my measurements because I want to see how muscle changes things. I may take pictures. I may not. Either way, y’all won’t be seeing them, mostly because I relish my anonymity too much. If I reach my goal weight, maaaaybe… but just because it might be too cool a thing not to share at that point.