Wednesday, June 08, 2011
LTC challenge, week #1. We are to answer 3 questions (from Bob Greene), we can blog them or answer them off-site. I prefer to blog and put it out there because I want to keep things real! I will be honest in my answers.
#1. Why are you overweight?
I have always been overweight. It's ironic that I was my mother's smallest baby, barely 6 lbs at birth, but I am also her only child with a weight problem. My sister has always been thin and beautiful. Both brothers are average weight like my dad and my mom was always thin.
On the last day of school in 6th grade, I came home from school to find my mother waiting on me. When I walked in the door, she told me to sit down so she could talk to me. My first thought was that someone in the family had died and I was about to get horrible news. Instead it wasn't someone else she wanted to discuss, it was Me. That was the first summer my mom put me on a diet, a ritual that would take place every summer until I graduated high school in 1981. My mom had no idea what a 'healthy' diet consisted of. She had never needed to know. She got ideas from other relatives or magazines. Tried this diet, tried that diet, tried a different diet ... yada yada yada (or should I say 'yoyo yoyo yoyo...' What it really boiled down to was, the rest of the family ate normal meals while I was left with iceberg lettuce salads, grapefruit juice (''supposed'' to burn fat) and various 'diet pills' or supplements that were on the market at that time. While they enjoyed desserts like ice cream cones and pies, I was given a Tab soda and an apple.
I felt cheated and like an outsider in my own family. Lucky for me, I also earned my own money as a babysitter. This was when I learned to eat in secret, I'd spend MY money on teen magazines and candy, chips and sodas. And I didn't eat them at home either, my neighborhood had several good places to 'hide out' at and that's where I'd go to eat my treats, sometimes I'd hop on my bike and ride up to the cemetery and eat there.
In the end, every attempt at 'dieting' at my mom's persistence failed. I'd lose a little weight here and there but basically I just learned how to eat in secret and got used to feeling ashamed when it came to eating. She did it from 'love' but she had no understanding that she was making things worse. She was setting me up for a lifetime of yoyo dieting.
There was also a lot of pressure from my older sister. She was the thin and pretty one, I wasn't. My sister treated me horribly, she was cruel, I'd even go so far as to say that my sister was verbally abusive to me and my parents allowed it. My dad didn't care and I think my mother had the mistaken idea that my sister's abuse could 'shame me into losing weight'. It had the opposite effect. I felt so alone in my shame, I felt like my mother was embarrassed to have a chubby daughter. I won't take up space here explaining how I knew that, let's just say I overheard things. When I was 15, my sister got married. I was her bridesmaid. The night before the wedding I overheard my sister and mom arguing about 'me' and my sister said she didn't even want me in her wedding because I was too fat. It hurt! I remember sneaking out of the house, went to a taco place and comforted myself with tacos. Food never yelled at me or called me names. I was never one to yell or argue or stand up for myself, I think my rebellion came in the form of ''aha look what I just ate and there's nothing you can do about it', I think it was my way of being 'in control'. It's no wonder so many women have eating disorders!
People looked at me as 'Don and Shirley's chubby daughter', one of my grandma's friends said in front of me ''she sure isn't pretty like her sister', one time my brother's friend introduced me to his girlfriend as 'Larry's fat sister'. You never like hearing it but you get used to it.
I know this has been the longest answer but it comes down to, the reason I am overweight is because I've always been. I don't know what life is like when you're thin, I've always been fat and in some twisted way, being fat is comfortable. If I'm no longer 'fat Kelly', than who am I?
#2. Why do you want to lose weight?
I am an honest person (some might say 'too honest' .. lol!). I like to keep things as real as possible. I will never be a size 6, I will never get to the perfect weight. Remember those charts in the doctor's offices that told you the exact weight you should be, mine was something like 105 lbs. I don't wear rose-colored glasses. I know that I will never be the 'perfect size' according to charts and magazines, etc. I just want to get to the perfect weight for ME. I mostly wear a 3X top and 26/28 pants. I believe I could be very happy if I could get to size 12/14. What I really want is to get to a size that is manageable, that allows me to breathe better. I want to FEEL better all the way around and if looking better would be the bonus factor! I would like to be able to look down and see my toes. I'd like to be able to go up stairs without feeling like I'm going to faint, I don't want to get 'winded' just from walking from the parking lot to the store. I want to 'fit' into booths at restaurants. I am tired of contant pain in my feet/ankles, hips, back and knees. I'd like to find clothes that fit more easily.
I want to feel healthier & look healthier. It'd be a bonus if I could get my blood pressure under control with diet and lifestyle changes and not have to take medication for it.
I want to be healthy.
I want to feel good.
I want to look good.
I want to know what 'thinner' feels like.
#3. Why haven't you been successful to date?
Truth? It's the most difficult process I've ever known. I knew it was going to be hard but I didn't know how hard it was really going to be. The first year was amazing for me. The pounds were dropping every week and I was on a HIGH! Then the first plateau hits and then another and panic sits in and before I knew it, I began having doubts and it became too difficult to keep positive, too hard to keep fighting, and old habits are very very easy to fall back into.
I never believed that a person could lose 100+ pounds. I would see someone as big as me and think 'I'm sorry you're feeling what I'm feeling'. I didn't think losing that much weight was a possibility. I would see on shows like 'Oprah', she'd have someone on who lost 200 lbs and I would laugh and turn the channel, I didn't believe it. It was fake in my eyes. I thought ''oh yeah, right''. I didn't believe it, until I came here and saw so many people had actually accomplished it. It both scared and fascinated me.
Fear began to sit in when I saw several of the ones who had inspired me began gaining weight back. I thought ''if they couldn't keep it off, there's no way I can''. Scary!
What I need to learn is what to do when you hit the plateaus, how to handle them, how to keep yourself from gaining back all the pounds you worked so hard to lose.
I want to find out for myself what successful feels like!