It's really hard to start making good choices when you've spent so long making wrong ones. No, strike that, I'm not a big believer in "good" and "bad"; every choice that we make leads us somewhere new, and the part of me that requires some form of faith demands that each place we are lead is exactly where we are meant to be.
However, where I am in my life is not exactly where I intended myself to be.
I have always struggled with my weight. When I was a little girl, I was a competitive swimmer. I remember my swim coach very adamently telling me that I was fatter than the other girls, and that I'd better work on sucking in my tummy (she made very pointed, fish-faced examples at this point), or I was going to risk losing the competition for my whole team. A few meets later, I have photos of me, 7 or 8 years old, and I'm so skinny that you can see the space between the bones in my wrist.
I stopped swimming some time later, and my weight went back up. In middle school, I had a friend corner me in the bathroom at a slumber party (I must have been 11 or 12) and ask me if I was pregnant. The plea was desperate, and at the time I felt humiliated, hands sliding over my protruding belly, tears coming to my eyes. It was only later on as an adult, with a little more knowledge in my years, that I realized that her step father had been abusing her, and she herself was concerned that she was pregnant and was looking for a sympathetic ear, not accusing me of being fat. However, at the time, the comment sent me into a battle with my food, deciding very pointedly what I was eating and what I wasn't....which was almost everything. Shortly after, I discovered how much easier it was to just to throw up what you ate. It saved you all the trouble of counting the calories; you could eat what you like, get the craving out of your system, and rid yourself of all evidence. It was about this time that I discovered the bottle of laxatives my mother had hidden in the back of the cabinet....I'll spare you the details.
In high school, I joined dance team. It was someone's brilliant idea to number the uniforms from 1 to whatever. #1 was the smallest size in the uniform locker. Every number upwards from that was slightly larger. In my junior year, I had the 4th smallest uniform on the team. One of my close friends had the 5th, and I reveled in that knowledge. Numbers 1,2, and 3 were hovering around 3 inches shorter than I was. There was no competing. I was, at the time, smaller than every other team member of my size. I struggled to stay in my uniform, doing whatever it took to keep from asking for any other number than my own.
Then, my senior year came. I quit dance team and focused on my acting, desperate to gain entrance into the elite conservatory college that everyone around me told me I wasn't good enough to get into. I started stress-eating, caught between trying to be the perfect student and the perfect actress. The pounds came back on, and when I finally gained admittance to the college, I was one of the largest girls in my class. I remember the competition, the stares, the meals of tofu, saltines, and mustard. (an excellent, low-fat meal, by the way). I came home over Christmas, expecting my dad to freak out over the fact that my size 5 jeans that I'd gone to college with were barely hanging over the jutting bones of my hips. Instead, I got praise over finally gaining control over my body. The damage was done, I continued on my course of binging, purging, and starving.
Moving away to a Florida liberal arts college, I alternated between college and trying to break into the music industry. My weight waffled between curvy (size 12) to skinny (size 4) over the span of 2 years. I alternated eating like a normal college student on the go (fast food and milkshakes) with a Luna Bar and running so much on the treadmill that I passed out in the gym of my apartment complex on a regular basis. I would sneak around to the pool's shower room when I got too light headed and collapse on the cold tile, knowing I would be alone until I woke up again.
I moved back to Washington State, and my life filled with overwhelming stress. I started eating, and moreover I started drinking alcohol as a way to simply calm the screams in my mind. I couldn't sleep at night, I was so stressed out. I'd drink a glass of wine just to be able to sleep. The next day, I'd hear the arguing, the berating from my parents, and I'd hide away in the trailer. My workouts stopped; there was no where to do it. If I worked out in the basement, my dad would make a comment about how glad he was that I'd finally noticed how fat I was getting. I moved into my own house. He stopped by shortly after with the sole purpose of telling me how he was concerned for my health because of all the weight I was gaining. Keep in mind that at the time, I was on a starvation "diet" and had consumed a total of 300 calories over the past two days. I alternated between losing 10 pounds and gaining 20, throwing my metabolism so out of whack with repeated starvations and binges that everything I consumed stayed behind on my hips.
So here I am. I've fluctuated up and down, and it's 5 years after I moved to Washington, and there are 50 extra pounds on my ass than there were when I moved here. I feel awful. I've gone from being the skinny, cute friend who could get a date with whomever, to being the fat, funny friend who everyone sees like a sister and secretly (not-so-secretly) uses as inspiration to go buy a bag of carrots instead of Skittles. I went from a size 6/8 to a size 14....ok, 14/16 in the matter of 5 years.
I did this to myself. It was my own eating habits and disordered eating, repeated habits of starving, binging, and purging over the years which led me to this state. I am fat. I'm not chunky, curvy, or pudgy, I'm straight on into obese, and I hate myself for it.
Every instinct in my body is reminding me of the quickest way to shed pounds; all the tips and tricks, all the shorthanded ways of dropping big pounds in a short amount of time. I fight with that voice in my head every minute of the day. Every time I look down and see my belly before I see my knees, I remember that it's very easy to just "forget" to eat. It's simple to do the Master Cleanse and lose 15 pounds in a week. But then I remember that it all comes right back, and there's about 5 pounds that comes along with it.
I'm fighting that voice with everything that I have. I'm determined to do this right. I'm forcing myself not to cry, not to search the internet for the latest slim-down trick, determined to limit the diet pills in my backpack to one a day...okay, maybe 2.
I determined that every day, I'm going to make one healthier choice for myself. It'll seem small to everyone else. I'll still be the girl in the lunchroom getting the evil stares for eating a sandwhich and not a salad. Fat people are not allowed to eat in public because everyone has an opinion on what we eat.
Today, my healthier choices were 1) I chose a non-fat, sugar-free cofee drink instead of my regular selection, 2) I chose a V/8 instead of a Rockstar at lunch, and 3) I chose a bottle of water over a glass of milk.
I will do this. I refuse to be the fattest girl in the room any longer. I will be beautiful again. I will be worth something again. People will see me for me, not the disgusting girl they don't want to be. But I'm going to do this the right way this time. I'm going to actually keep the pounds off and not repeat the same patterns of the past 20 years of my life. By posting this publicly, I'm hoping that I'll keep myself accountable and keep it up, reporting in every day about the better choices I've made and the weight that I'm losing and I'm keeping off.