For a lot of people, myself included, weight struggles can be a lifelong issue with fluctuations in your weight occurring over many years. When I look at old pictures of myself, I can tell if I was going through a peak or a valley in my weight based on the kind of clothes I’m wearing. When my weight was the highest, I was wearing lots of black t-shirts because the world told me it’s “slimming” and I would buy clothing that covered more like capris. As someone who’s always been self-conscious of my weight, the majority of my wardrobe has been loose-fitting men’s t shirts for a very long time. I tended to try to dress to hide my “problem areas”: belly, thighs, and upper arms.
Around the 4th grade, when my hormones started to kick in and puberty became a part of my life is when I began to put on weight. Over the summer I became pretty inactive and ate a lot of junk food so the pounds added up quickly. When I returned for school in the fall I was less average and more the chubby girl who was made fun of. Throughout the end of elementary school and my 3 years in middle school I remained that way, overweight and self-conscious (of course who isn’t self-conscious at that age) and very aware of the fact that I was fatter than the other girls my age and that was not a good thing.
As you can see, puberty hit me like a truck. Please don’t judge me too harshly for my Halloween costume at age 11. I’m Steamboat Willie, the original Mickey Mouse cartoon.
This was around the time I first started dealing with depression and its effect on my weight, I was crushed that no boys liked me and no one wanted to go out with me. All of my friends had boyfriends and I was absolutely convinced that no one could ever love me because of the way I looked. This of course made me want to eat more- I’ve always used eating as a coping mechanism, something to comfort me when I was sad. It took me a long time to learn that there were other ways of coping with sadness besides eating 2 grilled cheese sandwiches whenever you’re upset.
I started high school looking the best I ever had, thanks to a summer camp job that was half made up of playing sports outside with kids. Throughout those 4 years however, my weight fluctuated quite a bit despite the fact that I was very active during the school year. By the time I was a junior I was a three sport varsity athlete, but that didn’t leave much time with school, a job, and extracurriculars to eat well. Throughout high school I went anywhere from a size 14 to a size 18 in the same school year and couldn’t seem to figure out why this was happening. It wasn’t until college that I realized how badly I had been eating.
The summer of 2007, when my volunteering at camp became a payable job. I lost a little weight that summer, but fluctuating was common.
My freshman year of college I did the opposite of everyone else and managed to actually lose weight, suck it Freshman 15! I was going to spinning classes at my university gym several times a week and eating less because I was too poor to buy junk food all the time. Which did wonderful things for my self-confidence, I was happier with my body and my life than I had ever been before. For the next couple of years, my weight stayed about the same with no major changes until the event that set off my biggest weight gain and sent me on my journey. But that deserves its own entirely separate post and is what I will tackle next.
Let me leave you with this, even if you’ve spent your whole life struggling with your weight like me, you can make a change. All it takes is starting small and working toward a goal to make a real change in your life. Yesterday I reached the one year mark on my “epic weight loss journey” and I remain committed to the changes I’ve made and reaching my goals. I guess what I’m trying to say is if you’ve been debating starting or even considering making a positive change, make that first step because that’s all it takes. Baby steps brought me from where I was a year ago to where I am today.
One year of commitment and counting calories with MyFitnessPal has gotten me here, you can do the same! If you’re on MyFitnessPal feel free to add me, that’s my username.