This is my starting picture, at 277.
More recent pic, with a stuffed animal monster I made.
Me at 252, after having lost about 25 pounds.
Part of my identity has always been that I was big. I think by the time I was 9 years old I weighed about 250 pounds, and I spent my adult life, up until I was 25, at a little under 300. Changing my idea of myself as a fat person has been one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.
Now, after 5 years of exercise and learning how to eat well (mostly vegetables), I'm a healthy weight. And in December I got certified as a personal trainer!
Still striving to reach my goal of being able to wear a bathing suit in public without being embarrassed... not there yet, but getting closer. I've had some setbacks but a lot more victories. I'm greatful to Sparkpeople and other members for helping me along the way.
The hardest part of changing your life is always the psychological. If you haven't discovered your reasons for why you chose to be the way that you are in the first place, you can never confront them, change your own mind, and start moving forward.
It took me ten years to discover and admit to mine.
When I was a kid, I believed that my being overweight actually gave me a physical advantage against the other kids, the ones who tried to pick on me--I was bigger, heavier, stronger. So I came to associate safety and the ability to protect myself with my weight. As I grew up, this developed into a hidden block: I was afraid of being thin because I thought it would make me a more likely victim. I didn't know this, though, consciously, so I was always frustrated and bewildered when every time I began to make major progress on a diet I would suddenly give up and return to my old unhealthy habits.
When one day I actually reasoned my way through this pattern, I discovered that the only possible reason why I would continue to sabotage myself is that I did not really want to be thin. Some part of me was so determined to remain fat that it was willing to put up with the misery, self-hatred, and sense of alienation that came with it. After a little more contemplation, the answer for why I would not want to be thin occurred to me: I was terrified of it, because I thought that if I was thin and beautiful, men would want to hurt me, and I would be unable to protect myself.
This makes no rational sense.
Victimization is about a lot of factors--happenstance, attitude, ect.--but, despite what movies show, size isn't one of them. Being thin doesn't make you more likely to be a target, and being fat doesn't make you less likely. Moreover, as a healthy, fit person, I'd be much more able to defend myself if I needed to. I could run faster and for longer, have faster reflexes, hit harder, even, perhaps, think more rapidly in high stress situations (since my body is used to coping with physical stress and adrenaline rushes).
Still, just knowing this, and that my terror wasn't rational, did not immediately solve the problem. For a while (and I should probably still be doing this) I practiced some cognitive therapy on myself, spending five minutes every day repeating mantras to change the course of my habitual thinking on the topic: "Being fit makes me stronger, faster, more able to protect myself. I can fight harder, run faster, fight longer," etc. Also, by the suggestion of my best friend, I joined a martial arts class.
Just to let you know, my fear doesn't come from having been victimized. I've never been attacked, sexually abused, or anything more serious than a few creepy older guys attempting to chat me up in bars. My fear of victimization seems to have originated purely from having grown up seeing many examples of women being victimized on TV and in movies. If you're interested in more on this topic, I recommend This Film Is Not Yet Rated, a documentary on the MPAA, which also spends considerable time on the frequency of representations in US cinema of sexual abuse of women.
Now, studying martial arts (Kajukenbo, to be exact), I'm learning how to protect myself, as an adult, with knowledge, training, and stamina. This has helped me to feel confident as I lose weight, and not afraid--and I know that continuing to train in martial arts, along with gradually improving my diet (teaching myself how to cook has also been a BIG part of my weight loss), will get me to a healthy size. I'm losing weight slowly, but steadily, and (most of the time) I feel confident and beautiful.
I have big dreams of living a very physically active life in the future--not just martial arts, but maybe rock climbing, swimming, sailing, skateboarding, all of those things I always told myself I didn't want to do--because I was afraid I couldn't do them. The truth is, of course, that I wanted to do them more than anything. Now, I'm learning that I can.
Moreover, I have learned something very valuable: as challenging as it appears, the most difficult part of weight loss is not the working out, or the changing what you eat. If you are committed, that stuff can be work, but it isn't really hard. What's hard, what really pushes you, is persuading yourself that it is safe to change, you deserve to change, and that you have the strength to do it.
I'm training for my first half-marathon, which I will run in October. Gradually stepping up my distance by half a mile on the long run each week. I know I can do it, even though it seems crazy to me--4 years ago I couldn't run for 30 seconds without stopping to gasp for breath, and I'd never run a mile in my life.
Starting up my first cycle of P90x2 (have completed P90x) which includes strength training, high impact aerobics, yoga, and core work, 6 days a week. Combining that with additional kickboxing and a 3 day a week running program, plus as much walking and biking as I can get in. How many hours a day do you have to work out to officially qualify as an athelete??
The point is to keep interested and excited about whatever I'm doing, so that being physical is a good, integrated part of my day, and not an onerous task I have to get done.
The produce section is your friend! And if you have the internet, you have a way to find a recipe to prepare any fruit or vegetable. No prepacked, preprocessed diet food will do you half as much good as eating lots and lots of produce.
"Eat food, not too much, mostly plants."
Secrets of Success
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| current weight: 177.3