i’ve struggled with my weight for the majority of my life.
okay. that intro line sounds like a lifetime movie. i should have said: i’ve been dissatisfied with my weight for most of my life. i’ve been the same size (10/12 – womens) and the same weight since i was 13. yes. 13. Now, size 10/12 on a 13yo sounds a lot worse than it was for me – i’ve also been the same height (5’10ish) since i was 13. So yeah…better. but, still, the fact remains that at 13 i basically looked the same as i did when i graduated from Spelman. Since Spelman I put on maybe 5-9 lbs.
so i went on this healthy kick 3 years ago. i was still working and i got a trainer and nutritionist. i was all “i’m doing this because diabetes runs in my family, not because i want to lose weight.” to which, my friends and family alike gave a prompt o__O.
those first 2 years were, in a word, disappointing. sure, i got “healthy.” i cut back on the rice and peas, built up my love for vegetables. stopped starving then bingeing on chocolate. controlled, to a small extent, emotional eating. but, ummm…my body didn’t show it. i lost about 5 lbs then stayed there. my arms and shoulder toned but everything else looked basically the same. colour me unimpressed.
then i started law school. in malibu. land of the barbie. where everyone was blonde and perky and (in my eyes) thin – or at least thinner than i. welp. there it went. i got into the whole exercising and eating routine in a big way. work out at least 1/day for at least an hour at least 4 days/week. a carb?!?! gasp. shock. horror.
…and no results. i ended 1L the same size looking the exact same i did coming in.
then 2L. at this point i gave up on my body ever changing. “i’m just trying to be healthy,” i proclaimed to friends, old and new. “my body doesn’t lose weight, i’ll probably always be a 10/12.” “as long as i’m not gaining weight.” whatevs.
something kicked in this year, though. one day (okay, January 12, 2011) i weighed in, as per usual, and … and… the balance had to be moved. (old fashioned scale where you balance the weights. get on my level. or, to be more accurate, my law school gym’s level.) what? i was kerflummoxed. i moved the balance. moved it again. again. stared at the number. got off the scale. got back on. looked for cameras to see if i was being punked. nope. i had finally hit my goal weight. FINALLY. i rang in 27 the smallest i’d been since i was 13 years old. i could have worn my goal dress.
…but i didn’t feel any better about myself…
i went shopping with girlfriends in february. they were looking dresses for the law school dinner, i was determined not to buy anything. they are your run of the mill gorgeous size 2-4. i decided not to even try anything on. until i saw this beautiful red dress. be.au.ti.ful. “try it on! that’s your shade!” but the tag read size 8. ummm yeah i wasn’t going to embarrass myself in front of the barbies trying on a dress 2 sizes too small. but it was the only one they had. what the hell, why not, right? so i go into the back room try on the dress. it fits. it zips. it isn’t too tight. i don’t need to suck in my stomach. oh. my. God. no, really, not taking His name in vain, i started praying in that fitting room: “God, please don’t let this be a joke. this is not a good time for you and Michael and Gabriel to be laughing at me. please just let this really be an 8 and really fit. please.” i took it off and put it back on. it fit. i had a break down in the fitting room. i just started to cry. for the first time since i was 13 yo, i was in a size 8. i eventually bought another, cheaper, beautiful dress in a size 8.
…and i didn’t feel any better about myself…
i went home for spring break. my first time home since august. the day before i flew home i sent this email to my mom: “mommy, just say i look like i lost weight, even if i didn’t okay?” no reply. so i’m home. everyone, EVERYONE is all: what have you been doing? why did you lose so much weight? (my dad: “do you have a boyfriend??!” ummm this is not the apocalypse daddy, i won’t lose weight AND get a boyfriend. the universe couldn’t handle that.) during that week i went shopping with my mom for new jeans. picked up the 12 (i’m stubborn. i don’t believe dresses and jeans are the same size and i thought it was a fluke). didn’t fit. picked up the 10. didn’t fit. saleslady: ma’am you’re an 8. tried it on. size 8. break down commenced. i was wearing a size 8 jean…for the first time since i was 13 yo.
…and i didn’t feel any better about myself…
since i returned to school, life has been crazy. i haven’t worked out as regularly as i wanted. i’ve been living on spinach, frozen mixed vegetables, chicken wings, sweet potatoe fries, and mini churros. not exactly a balanced diet. i’ve started having nightmares: i’ve put back on all the weight i lost, plus 10 lbs. i’ve heard voices: you’re going to be fat again. you need to stop eating. exercise more. STOP EATING! i’m terrified to throw out my old jeans, because what if i need them? what if i buy the smaller size and one day (very soon) they’re too small?
i’ve been forced to face the truth: size 6, 8, or 12. flat or slightly curved stomach. 160lb or 175lb. it doesn’t matter; i’ve never been truly satisfied with myself. with my weight. i’ve fussed over my hair/makeup because my body wouldn’t do what i wanted. i’ve compensated with being smart or spiritual.
i need to stop. stop the voices. the incessant need to be smaller…smaller…smaller. i can’t say i know how to answer the question of why my weight is my issue. please don’t say it’s as easy as just believing “i am fearfully and wonderfully made.” (psalm 139 – aka the typical Christian response for any woman’s self image issue). i know. i know. i know. this is just my struggle. to see beauty, no matter the jean size.
i’m going back to the gym. i’ll figure this out on the stairmaster.