“You’re fat. Haha look at your belly, it’s spilling out of your clothes. You look so big even your shadow is scared of you.”
I heard these phrases once, coming at me tauntingly from mouths still in braces, as I stood back, trying to shield my front in an attempt to hide my body. Then flight or fight adrenaline kicked in, and I just ran. I ran far, I ran fast, and I fell hard…but I picked myself up, big belly and all, and willed my young legs to put more distance between those bullies and myself. The hot tears gushing from my eyes were not indicative enough of how that had affected me. Something in my heart and mind fell apart, and would remain so, for most of my childhood years.
When I point blank refused to eat for days, my pediatrician had me on sweet pills which made me hungry like never before. And do you know how I fought back? I chewed up his diagnosis of early symptoms of aneroxia nervosa, and vomited it out. I was not even able to grasp subtracting three digits back then, but I figured out how to become skinny. I remained a bulimic for a long time, and a downward spiral it was. My parents pulled me through. They never asked why I did what I did. They somehow knew and I am grateful to God Almighty for giving me the set of parents he blessed me upon.
Today, I am a strong, confident woman who has put eating issues behind her. I now love my body, and 120 or 113, I don’t let anyone’s eyes judge my own body. I strive to be intelligent now. I want to learn how to do good for my body. I feed it healthy foods. Do you want an afternoon snack? I’ll be having kale chips! Thirsty? Green tea with a hint of honey and we can sit down together! I exercise to feel excellent. I run, I chase my babies, I hold my babies, and I pray with my babies…Dear Lord guide us towards goodness and protect us from the harmful. I journal my emotions and reflect on my choices. I know the days when I stuff 7 cookies in my mouth are days I ought to call a friend instead. The days I run an extra mile, I let the world know because positivity begets positivity. I believe in one’s ability to make changes, and I want to ask you, do you think you can be better?
I will conclude this email with one of my absolute favorite quotes from Albert Einstein:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Don’t be stupid! Swim ladies, swim!!
Anonymous YT Inspirator
Let me start by saying I have never been overweight. I’ve always been a fairly slender person. The most I’ve ever weighed was 170 pounds on the day I delivered my baby boy. I’m 5’7”, 145 pounds today, and still have a lot of work to do to get back to my pre-baby body. By now, you’re probably thinking that I am a vain little bragging jerk and may even have stopped reading this. The point of this number honesty is that people look at me and think that I don’t need help. That I don’t need fitness support and encouragement because I’m not overweight.
The first night of the Three Rivers Couch to 5k, one of the women said (nicely, not to get me to go away) that I didn’t need to be there.Why was I there? I didn’t need to be there working out, let alone need support to do it. From the outside, in my clothes, I appear to be in fairly good shape. Just as overweight people are sometimes judged as needing tons of support and encouragement to get up and move, it has been decided for me that I must be strong enough on my own. I don’t even need to do fitness activities. I hear, “If I looked like you, if I weighed that much, I’d be sitting at home watching tv.” Which I understand is supposed to be a compliment. There are women that have been struggling their whole lives to look at the scale and see what I see.
The thing I wanted to tell you ladies, which I’m sure you already know, is that slender doesn’t mean strong. Skinny doesn’t mean healthy, and skinny sure as hell doesn’t mean happy. I saw a picture of myself from years ago yesterday. You know what? I was wearing a beautiful teal dress that I know is a size four. I thought, “I looked so good. Look how that dress fits me so perfectly.” And then I realized I wasn’t smiling. I wasn’t smiling in the picture I was remembering as such an awesome time in my life with my great body. Then I remembered how I was going all day at work on a Snickers bar and a Cherry Coke. I didn’t care what I ate, how I ate, NEVER exercised.How I was constantly tired and laying on my bed reading in the prime of my life.
I’m not a size four anymore. I’d love to get back to that, but through work and exercise so I’ll know I earned it. My body has since given me my gorgeous son, and for the first time in my life, I’m really giving back to it. Good, whole foods, exercise and fresh air. I’ve always been thin, I’m now getting healthy. Given the choice between the two, I can honestly say I’d rather have the five extra pounds and be able to run the miles I can now. From where I was then to a strong, healthy person is a longer road than you’d imagine. Though it may not “look like it”, I need support and encouragement too! I need you, ladies! It’s our job to remember that we ALL need each other, no matter what our weight, age, body composition, financial standing, hair color, whatever!
Good Morning, Beautiful Ladies!
I am honored to be featured for the Friday email this week. I would love to share with you my story and how I have found myself on this wellness and fitness path. I was always fit as a youth and teen. I was a competitive swimmer and lifeguard. I was a cheerleader and was known to run now and again. It wasn’t until my twenties and thirties that the weight started to creep up on me. I saw it happening and would start a “fad” diet only to give up and have the weight return with friends. I suffered 8 miscarriages before having my wonderful miracle son. The pregnancy was difficult and I feel into postpartum depression shortly thereafter. The next several years found me facing several serious health issues while tending to a child with health issues of his own. I turned to food for comfort. It was easy, accessible and always there. I thought it was my best friend. When I was sad, happy, angry, frustrated, or bored, I would eat. Little did I know I was not just stuffing my face but my feelings as well. Before I knew it I had blossomed into a 356 lb. mass of emotions and ill health. Everyone thought I was so happy and confident. I would say I’m proud to be BBW (big beautiful woman). Little did I realize how much I was lying to myself. In May 2011, I had a cardiac event due to some medications I was taking and it scared me. Still not enough to do something about my weight. In December 2011, I had a physical and was put on a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, medication for high blood pressure and was given a stern warning that I was only 2 points away from being a Type II Diabetic. I went home that day and thought about everything. I realized I had not been to the lower level of my house in almost 3 weeks because it hurt to walk up the stairs. I was winded just walking from the car up the two steps into the house.
Finally, I had enough. I was 43 and dying. I went to a seminar about bariatric weight loss and signed up that January. I haven’t looked back. I started Weight Watchers that month and lost 25lbs before my surgery April 5 of this year. I started at BAC working out 10 days after surgery and it hurt! I thought I was dying after walking 5 mins on the treadmill. I was convinced that Sarah Gilbert was trying to drown me the first time I swam a lap in the pool. But I pushed through. I do everyday. I know that the surgery was only one part of the equation. Everyday I get stronger. I have lost a total 70lbs since surgery and 17″ overall. I can go up and down stairs easily now without gasping for air. I go to bed without back, hip and leg pain. I am off my CPAP and most of my medications. I actually LOVE working out! Who knew! Food is now fuel for me not my primary focus. But where did this change come from? How can I stay on track?
The answer is support and accountability. Your Turn and the amazing women in this group inspire me everyday to keep going on my quest to be the best me I can be. My family is on board and cheering me on. I have my son going to the gym with me now so he can learn early to be fit and healthy. I don’t want to let them down but most of all, I don’t want to let MYSELF down. I don’t want to be that 356lb. couch surfer ever again. I want to enjoy my life. We only get one so we need to experience it all to the fullest. I have my struggles. I cannot find my rhythm to make swimming easier and I don’t ever see myself as a runner. I know I will get to where I want to be. There is no Plan B.
That’s my story and I hope it helps someone who may be experiencing some of the same issues. Life is not a spectator sport…get off the sidelines and get in the game!
Get Your Sweat On, Stacy’s doing it!