Seven years ago I measured in at just under 5’1” and just over 250lbs. My BMI was 47.2. Any BMI over 30 is considered obese. I guess I would have been considered OH-bese.
Today, I am an inch taller and over a hundred pounds lighter and for the first time since early childhood, a BMI calculator told me that I am not obese.
I would love to be one of those people who could say that the past seven years of struggling with my weight has been a learning and growing experience. That it’s made me stronger as a person and that I’m thankful for having to go through the trial. Unfortunately, I cannot.
I missed out on so much of my adolescence because of my weight. Admittedly, most of those missed opportunities I can blame on my attitude towards my weight rather than the physical issue itself. It’s hard to go to social gatherings when your tarnished self-image tells you that everyone in the room is judging you any time you take a glance at the snack bar. They probably weren’t, but at least it kept me from eating another cookie.
I never went shopping with any of my friends. It’s hard to enjoy the shopping experience when you have to sit outside the dressing rooms and pretend that you just don’t feel like trying anything on when really it’s that nothing would fit because you’re in a young adult store. And it’s even worse when you pass by places like Avenue and JCP (and today Torrid) and wish that you could go try on stuff for yourself. I built up a personal detest of Abercrombie, Aeropostale, and Hollister. I still refuse to wear anything from those companies.
I’m angry that I missed out on so much of my teenage years, but I’m more angry that this entire weight-loss process has broken my self-image and ruined my self-confidence. I have done every sort of weight-loss plan there is: Weight Watchers, Atkins, South Beach, Medi, calorie-counting, carb-counting, and the old binge and purge. I’ve had personal trainers and gym memberships and exercise equipment at home. And the one thing that connected all of those programs was the desire to be more beautiful, desirable, and attractive than I was. It was never to be healthier. I’ve taken so many unnatural supplements and pumped so much artificial sugar and protein powder into my body in order to lose weight. How could this possibly be “healthy” or “good” for my body?
I’ve grown up the past seven years working endlessly to try to lose weight. And as any journey it’s had it’s ups and downs. There were weeks when I would do so well on my diet and exercise vigorously every day and I would gain weight. I would walk away from the scale hating myself, berating myself for not working hard enough and not being good enough that week to accomplish anything. Any time I went shopping and a shirt or pair of jeans didn’t fit I would verbally and sometimes physically abuse myself because I should have been able to wear that like anyone else. And in all these years, attacking myself for my failures has never pushed me to greatness.
I’m not going to deny that losing weight was good for me. There’s no way that I would have lived very long had I maintained the course I was on seven years ago. But the way that I went about it broke my spirit. Food and weight-loss has consumed my life for so long leaving no room for me to grow my self-worth. And I know that I will probably not be able to stop dieting for the rest of my life because of my self-criticism and consciousness.
So where is all of this boring and melodramatic ranting leading to? Hopefully some sort of uplifting words of encouragement.
If you are dieting or you are dealing with some sort of weight issue, I urge you to not lose sight of why you should be losing the weight. There’s no shame in losing weight in order to fit into a new pair of jeans or look great for a wedding or just look “great” in general. But in the process, don’t forget that you are beautiful now too. If you’re truly losing weight to be healthier, don’t get caught up in the advertisements that emphasize looking better as motivation. And don’t forget to reward yourself on the weeks that you get good results and the weeks that you don’t. They’ll balance out in the end.
One last thing before I descend from my soapbox. For all of you who were blessed with a great physique and the coveted fast metabolism, be gracious to those of us who weren’t. I’m not going to be the vindictive ex-OHbese who hates skinny people because they sneered at us (although a small amount do), because I know that I projected most of those sneers myself.
Thank you to everyone who has supported me through the past seven years. I know dieting can make me cranky and annoying at the dinner table.