It has been a long time since I felt good about my body. A really long time.
The first time I can really remember feeling bad about my weight was my second year lifeguarding - that would have been in 2006. I was sitting in the office, wearing my jeans still, and my coworker and I were talking about our stomachs. When I looked at mine, it was pinched up and over the top of my jeans, hanging low enough to cover the button. I was so embarrassed, and thought myself to be fat and needing to lose weight.
If only I had the foresight to see myself now, back then. I wouldn't have complained about my weight. I would have reveled in it. I don't think I'll ever be at that weight again.
I spent the next years watching my weight increase and increase, with two significant weight drops, but gaining it all back and then some afterwards. My self confidence plummeted inversely with my gain - the higher my weight got, the lower my self confidence was. After all, who would want to love someone this big?
I continued to battle with my self confidence. It didn't help that I used my lack of self confidence as a tool to lose weight. I'm only beginning to see that now, as I reflect upon this journey.
The first time I lost weight it was because 'hell if I was going to wear a bikini looking like this'.
The next time, it was because I didn't feel like I looked good enough to deserve a man in my life.
I tried to lose weight for the wedding, picturing my wedding dress getting caught up underneath my stomach and looking pregnant with cankles if I didn't.
This is the first time that I am approaching this in a different light.
The bug caught me when I started going to the gym with my husband (boyfriend at the time), and friends Lisa and Jarrod.
At first it was really hard to go. I am not afraid to admit that. I would come home after work thinking "Ugh. Is it too late to call them and cancel? But then they'll be so disappointed. We can't not go. Ugh."
So, we'd go. And of course I'd be glad for it afterward.
Eventually I got myself into enough that I now look forward to the gym. But that isn't the only step. See, if my wanting to go to the gym was the only thing that had changed, I wouldn't feel the way that I do now. I've gotten to the stage where I enjoy and want to go to the gym in the past.
The first step was when Gilles and I sat down and really talked about it. First we talked about my self-confidence issues, and how they affect my and our life. Then we talked about my reasons for wanting to lose weight. There were many, ranging from the obvious 'I want to wear a bikini' to the little things 'I want to stop tugging at my clothes' and 'I just got married. I want people to stop looking at me, wondering if I'm pregnant'. We then got into my really bad habits. I confessed that on occasion, I would pick up food (sushi at the grocery store, or on really bad days, McDonalds or KFC) on my way home to make supper. I would eat it all in the car, and then put the evidence straight in the dumpster so that Gilles wouldn't see it. It wasn't that I wanted to lie to Gilles - but I was so embarrassed about what I was doing - even as I was doing it - that it seemed like the only way.
After all this, I was able to come to the conclusion - I have a problem. I wanted to gain a healthy relationship with food, but I didn't know how.
At about this time Gilles and I went camping. I have posted about this before, so I will be brief. I had... digestive issues... while we were camping, that made me realize just how unhealthy I was. I went to the doctor as soon as I got back, and he told me that my weight was complicating things. I was burping up acid because I'm overweight. I was having my digestive issues because I'm overweight. To make matters worse, I was also aggravating my arthritis (in my knees) and risking increasing my heart problems (I have mitral valve prolapse) due to my weight. He told me to lose weight, and suggested that I start by restricting myself to 1300 calories/day until I lose the first 10lbs.
Calorie counting. I've been there before. It sucks, but it works. So I started.
At first I felt like I was starving myself, because I still wasn't eating right. As soon as I started trying in earnest to count calories and lose weight, I also started eating about 90% vegetables. I got gassy, and starting having more digestive issues, and had upset stomachs - I wasn't comfortable. It was too much veggies. This is where a friend of mine comes in.
The girl that I go to the gym with - Lisa - has celiacs, which means that she can't eat gluten. It doesn't seem like a very obtrusive thing at first (just don't eat bread and pasta, right?) but as you get to know the disease, you learn how stifling it can be. As a result, she eats mainly unprocessed foods, with a high majority of these being vegetables. While I am sure that it can be very trying, especially in making breads and desserts without gluten, it is obvious when you listen to her that she loves the results. She is healthier and happier, and loves life. This inspired and inspires me.
I reduced the number of vegetables I was eating on a daily basis to about 75%, and started eating protein in the morning. These two changes made a huge difference. I don't feel so hungry anymore, even though I am only eating 1300 calories in a day. I have noticed changes in my energy levels, and I have noticed changes in my health. For example, Gilles was at home sick last week, for three days. He had a migraine, fever, and nausea. Normally this is a guarantee that I will be getting sick in the next day or two. But guess what? I didn't get sick. I haven't been sleeping any more than usual, and I haven't been doing anything unusual. And I didn't get sick. For me, this is HUGE. I can only account it to the change in diet.
I feel great. I feel better about myself than I have... since part-way though high school I guess. And get this. Since my wedding? I've only lost 7 lbs. It isn't significant. And I have a long way to go. The only place I've seen the weight loss so far is my face.
But I feel good. And I know that I can do it.
I am trying different methods, and I will continue to work to lose weight and stay as healthy as I can at the same time. And at the same time, I am going to be able to say 'Hey look! This is me. Fat and all. Love it.'
I love me.