I was 17 years old the first time the word “FAT“ crept into my vocabulary.
There I was, in the department store dressing room, and the size 6 jeans wouldn’t zip.
“Oh my God, I’m so FAT!”
When you’re a woman, and you use that word with such conviction, it’s like screaming the F-Word in a room full of praying nuns. Just imagine, a child who looked like THIS:
…thinking she was FAT.
Unthinkable, isn’t it? But it’s true.
By the time I met B, fell in love, got engaged, and moved into my first “co-ed” living situation, the Freshman 15 had blossomed to the Sophomore 50. I didn’t think anything about it, mainly because I just didn’t have TIME to think about it. I was going to school full-time, trying to maintain my slipping GPA, while working full-time as well. My days went like this: up at the crack of dawn to catch the bus to campus, class from 8 am to 3 pm, catch the bus back home, change clothes/grab books/brush my teeth, race to work by 4, work from 4 till 10 with a fast food meal somewhere in between, catch a ride (or the bus) home, grab a snack and a soda and cram until midnight, fall into bed with the Dorito crumbs still on my chin.
It was grueling. I didn’t know how to make a proper meal until I graduated from college. We kept soda, frozen pizzas, peanut butter and jelly, Little Debbies
and chips in our kitchen. Not a veggie in sight.
Fast forward to 2003, and the four years of abuse on my body was evident from a mile away. FAT was no longer a four-letter word, it was my reality. I was struggling to zip a size-18 jeans, and I wished for the days when I could comfortably zip a size 10.
Forget a size 6. I’ll never be able to remember what THAT felt like.
That’s when I started my first diet. The “grilled chicken and steamed broccoli every day of your life” diet. I bought some exercise DVDs and got to work. I lost about 40 pounds.
The first time.
And gained it all back.
Then came Weight Watchers. The Dr. Phil Diet. Slim Fast. Apple Cider Vinegar (because it burns fat, supposedly.) We bought an elliptical that takes up most of our spare bedroom, and didn’t use it everyday for almost a year. Then there was the Biggest Loser fad, followed by a short stint at our local YMCA. Atkins, weight loss pills, yoga, salads for lunch every day, contemplation of stapling my mouth shut since I can’t afford having my stomach stapled….
You get it. Right?
So the battle rages on. It’s a daily struggle for me to haul myself out of bed, face the world, and Just Dance 2.
Being mindful of every single calorie I eat. Giving up soda and coffee and chocolate and pasta and most everything else I love.
I’m learning to live life as a health-conscious person. And I’m trying to weed out the F-Word.
At least I know I’ll have mean dance moves to go along with my smaller self.