One hundred pounds.
It’s a ton of weight. Maybe not an actual ton, but you get the idea. I’m finally come to the point in my weight loss journey journey towards healthy living where I stepped onto the scale at my gym and watch the number slip down to 282—100 pounds lower than the highest weight I can remember.
What a loss. What a gain.
A hundred pounds ago, I could only shop at Catherine’s and had to order more “trendy” clothes out of a catalog because I was never, ever going to wear non-boot cut jeans. Or flowery old lady tops. I remember shopping at Boscov’s with my mom knowing nothing would fit me, but watching her try on Alfred Dunner tops while I sat in a dressing room chair wondering why fashion designers assumed fat people only wanted to wear ugly clothes. Was it just because we looked ugly that we should dress ugly as well?
I fought back tears every time I went to the doctor and watched the scale creep past 350 into the 370’s. After that I closed my eyes when they weighed me. One time I ventured a peek and saw 382 on the scale. I was mortified and wondered if I would be dead by 35. In fact, I was sure I would be dead by 35.
I gradually lost little bits of weight as I accepted certain foods were not conducive to being diabetic, but I remained steadily at the larger range of the plus-sized world until one February I talked to a friend and told her I couldn’t take it anymore. I couldn’t live like this anymore. She gave me the encouragement I needed to make a change. I greatly revised my eating habits and bought a stationary recumbent bike peddling my way to weight loss. I did well. I even made it to 296 pounds.
My friends lauded my achievement. I felt beautiful for the first time in forever. It was glorious to bask in the glow of what I did…and what God did in me. It all changed as I fell into a deep depression two years age. The weight crept back. Turmoil within my family caused even more stress. When my mom died, I gave up entirely, though I still couldn’t bring myself to eat certain foods because I had learned how they affected my body. Yet I was back to flirting with the 320’s. I felt hopeless to stop it because life didn’t seem to matter anymore.
A friend took me to a local gym and we signed me up for membership, not for weight loss, but because I had so much anger following my mom’s death. I needed a reason to get out of the house besides seeing my therapist once a week. I also desperately needed a way to channel my grief and rage.
Eventually, after also going to physical therapy I found my way to the gym’s pool since a foot injury kept me off the gym floor/machines. Truthfully, I join the gum for the pool, but found it impractical,. Who wants to wear a bathing suit, take a shower, and run around with wet hair? I mean, I was struggling to get out the door as it was and all this extra stuff wasn’t helping. Since my foot was injured and I had no other options, I tried to the pool. I discovered I loved it.
In June, when I went to the doctor for my regular four month check-up, she discovered my pancreas was having some issues and did a medication adjustment. Thinking about my mom’s death only months before and panicking about future health issues, I decided to take back my life or I would surely lose it to obesity-related disease.
I decided, after so many years of wishing God would just take me, that I would fight to find purpose and meaning. I would fight for my life—physically, emotionally, spiritually.
On June 15, the fight began again. My starting weight on that day according to my fitness app was 315 pounds. As of yesterday, it was 282.
I dropped 33 pounds through diet changes, exercise, and perseverance. Oh, and A LOT of prayer. I remember starting aqua aerobics praying, “God, please get me thought this exercise.” Or going onto the gym floor to use the machines. I was easily the fattest person in the room. I would plead, “God, help me keep it together.” Sometimes I still think about my mom and want to tell her I’m at my lowest adult weight I can remember and I fog up my swim goggles with hot tears because she’s gone.
People have asked me, “What’s your secret? What plan did you use?” There’s no secret. There was no official plan. I just record my calories in an app, exercise to make sure I’m creating a calorie deficit, and watch my carbs. I try to cram as many veggies and fruits into my body as I can and use fruits to replace my cravings for something sweet.
Once a week, I eat ice cream or fries or whatever. I don’t deprive myself of the foods I love; I’ve just changed how often I eat them. I also make sure to eat proteins and healthy fats, like cashews and avocados.
I imagine I’ll always fight the battle of the bulge, especially as my body becomes more accustomed to weight loss and exercise. The experts say the less weight one has to lose, the harder one has to work to burn the same amount of calories.
And I’ll constantly be afraid of going back to my higher weights. I don’t want to get rid of my bigger clothes, because what if I gain the weight back? Yet I want to hold onto the security of being safe at any size.
This is the kicker with losing weight—which is both a loss and a gain—is that people seem happier with me. I feel more normal and accepted in society. I’m no longer one of *those* fat people, even though I technically am. I think I take up more space than I do and yet I take up more space that I want to.
I may have lost 100 pounds and gained a lot of confidence, but the stigma of being fat, won’t go away.
I am still fat; I’m just 100 pounds less fat that I was before.