Note: This is old writing from about a year ago. It details the first 7 months of my weight loss journey. I will be posting an ‘update’ of sorts next.
6 (almost 7) months ago a morbid curiosity overcame me and compelled me to step on the scale at home, “just to see”. What I saw made my stomach turn to lead and my head spin. I knew I was fat, obviously you can’t miss something like that, but I didn’t know I was THAT fat. In all honesty, it made me want to die. Not in a “I want to kill myself” kind of way, but in a “Dear God, just strike me dead on the spot” kind of way. I have always been big, overweight. I don’t remember a time in which I wasn’t. But I also don’t remember when I went from being overweight to being obese. Just the word makes me cringe. It feels shameful. Disgusting. But, I guess I’m lucky that seeing such a large number on the scale motivated me to do something about it.
I remember that day with perfect clarity (which isn’t saying much considering I’m 23 and it wasn’t that long ago, but just go with it), One Direction’s fourth album aptly titled Four had finally leaked and I had just finished downloading all of the songs – sorry boys, I was unemployed and couldn’t pay for it. I was so pumped, I felt like I could run 100 miles and fight a bear and I thought, Hey, that doesn’t seem like such a bad idea. Not the fighting a bear part, obviously. So I threw on some sweats, dug my old Nikes out of the closet and hopped on the treadmill. Turns out I can’t run 100 miles. Hell, I can barely run 1 even now, so I had to settle for a nice brisk walk for an hour with One Direction as my soundtrack. I was so proud of myself when I was done, but I was also afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep it up. So I made a promise to myself: I was not going to stop until I was happy with my body.
So I set goals. I wanted to be down 70 pounds by my One Direction concert date at the end of August (at the time, 9 months away). 100 pounds by 2016. 120 pounds at my goal weight. I googled smoothie recipes, healthy food recipes, downloaded MyFitnessPal. I was serious. I meant business.
I’m sad to say I got off to a less than healthy start. I barely ate. I would wake up, have a small bowl of cereal, walk on the treadmill, and then spend the rest of the day job searching and chugging water to ignore my growling stomach until my mum got home from work and made me eat some dinner. This tactic worked, I watched the number go down on the scale and I thought, Okay, I can do this. But then my thoughts took a turn for the worse. Most days I was eating well under 800 calories and making sure I burned at least 400 while working out. I became obsessed with counting calories, burning calories, drinking water to ignore hunger. Tricking myself into thinking I was full. I started being unrealistically hard on myself. You can’t consistently lose 5+ pounds a week. You can’t expect to lose 10+ pounds a month. But I thought you could. Actually, it would more accurate to say I thought I had to. I let the compliments from people and the “I’m so proud of you”s from my parents turn into “They only like you now that you’re losing weight. If you stop, they’ll hate you. They won’t be proud of you anymore.” Just the thought of eating something unhealthy made me sick to my stomach. Made me panic. “I can’t eat that” was a constant mantra running through my brain. The list of foods I couldn’t eat, or couldn’t bring myself to eat, quickly became much much longer than the list of foods I would allow myself to have. I was basically living off fruit and enough protein to keep me from passing out. It was without a doubt the lowest point in my journey.
At some point, it just hit me: This isn’t healthy. This isn’t what you want. You want to be healthy. That was your goal when you started this. (Honestly, I have a sneaking suspicion Harry Styles had something to do with it…little yoga practicing, juice cleansing, running monster). So I changed my tune a bit. I bought myself a FitBit, a NutriBullet, new Nikes, and cute exercise clothes, I busted out my never-been-used-but-have-had-for-years yoga mat, and got down to business. I started eating more calories, healthy calories. I allowed myself small snacks during the day. I drank at least 3 liters of water a day. I went for walks during lunch at work, I jogged when I got home, I did a 30 day yoga challenge. I was happy. I felt good.
I’m currently roughly 7 months into my quest, down 47 pounds (those last 3 are stubborn little bitches) and 2 dress/pant sizes. The last couple of months have been HELL. Where I was consistently losing at least a little bit each week, for the first time I was staying the same or [insert dramatic music here] gaining weight. But I like to think I’m getting better at handling it. Of course I still have unhealthy, dangerous thoughts, but that’s something my therapist wants to work with me on (that’s a different story for a different day). I’m also sad to report that I’ve recently hit a workout block. I just don’t want to. And I can’t force myself to. I want to blame it on my depression (again, another story) but I feel like that would be a copout. I still eat healthy, I still allow myself snacks, I’m slacking on the water intake. I seldom workout. I’ve plateau’d. I’m searching for motivation again, and I think I’m on the cusp of finding it. Here’s to hoping, anyway.
I still have a long way to go on my Quest to Not be Fat Anymore, but I think I’m off to a decent start. I’ve learned a lot already – good habits, bad habits, what works, what doesn’t – and I hope I continue to learn more. About my body, about acceptance, about living a healthy life. I now understand I may never be completely happy with my body, but I can be happy with the way I’m living, and the way I treat my body.