My mom found some letters from a 13 year old me. I’ve always been one to communicate with written words. This letter showed me my struggle even then. My mom was worried that I wasn’t eating lunch. I was telling her that I really needed to lose weight. I honestly don’t remember this but the fact that she found the letters speaks volumes.
When I was in middle school I was teased – and picked on – and made fun of. I was a nerd. I was smart. I was fat. Middle school was very difficult for me mentally. My grades were great but I felt horrible about myself. This is the time when you start really discovering yourself and all I could do was pray to be thin. I had many sleepless nights. I suffered from depression although we didn’t call it that back then. It was bad. I can’t believe I’m here today. It was that bad for me. I remember going to the doctor and having an exam. The nurse asked me if I’d ever been pregnant. I was 13 years old. I had never been pregnant.
You see, my body is covered in stretch marks. They’ve been there for as long as I can remember. I’m not talking pretty little filigree stretch marks either. I’m talking about those wide, deep ones. They cover my stomach. At 13, my nurse had apparently never seen anything like it and assumed it was because I had been pregnant. That has stuck with me for 20 years.
I remember so many of the fad diets. The lose 30 pounds in 30 days with the cabbage soup diet. My mom bought me all the ingredients. I lasted 2 days maybe. You know those diets on the covers of the magazine at the grocery store checkout. Yep. I’ve done all of them. I did them before I even entered high school. Trust me when I say I’ve tried it all. I look back at this and don’t blame my mother for anything. I don’t blame her for encouraging these fads. She didn’t know. She has struggled with weight her whole life as well. She’s a product of the old south. It’s hard for her to change her ways. It’s hard for her to understand that butter and grease are not a dietary necessity. I love my mother for always wanting the best for me.
But I am determined to be the difference. I don’t have children but I do have nieces. I want to be a healthy example for them. I don’t mean skinny. I mean healthy. I want them to know that you don’t have to eat french fries because your stomach hurts. I want them to know that it’s okay to go outside with the bugs. I want them to experience all that life has to offer and to not deal with the issues associated with being overweight. I don’t care about political correctness in this. I know that some people are perfectly happy being obese. I am not.
So my struggle continues only this time it’s not a struggle. It’s an amazing journey towards a fit and healthy life. It’s a change for the better. It’s a lifestyle where I can actually do things. I want to kayak, zip-line, stand up paddle board, surf. I want to have zero limitations. The truth is, things have weight limits. Real life weight limits. I want to remove those limits. I will remove those limits.
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