What a long, strange trip it’s been…(the beginning)

Where to start?

It has been almost 5 years since I stood on the scale in the middle of a workday and almost lost it. I can remember looking down at the digital face and seeing 220 pop up. No… no, this couldn’t be right. This couldn’t be me, could it? Gravity must have been pushing down a little more than regular today… a solar eclipse? It had to be a reason outside of myself that caused these numbers to shine.

I went back into my office, closed and locked the door, and wept. I had avoided scales throughout my entire life. I would starve myself the week before any scheduled doctor’s office visits to make sure the number was somewhere lower than the week before… hoping I could somehow escape the inevitable body-shaming lecture the woman in white would always give. I hated going for medical care because of the scale. The weight and the guilt and the shame… legitimized by the “authority” of the stethoscope that hung around her neck. My weight, my burden, my failure, my guilt my shame.

In my office, I wrote a letter to myself, begging and pleading that this time would be different. That I would really lose the weight this time, that I could somehow muster the will power. Enough was enough, right?

With what felt like a caged bird in my chest, I carried out the rest of my work day, depressed and full of self-hatred for what I believed I had caused and what I believed I could not undo.

And this was how it had gone… so many times before. Since early childhood, I was aware that I was overweight. Family members and children at school made it blatantly clear that I was different because I was fat, and that fat was something worth being ashamed of. That I would never get a husband (told to me by a relative around age 5), that I was lazy, that I was ugly, unattractive, inferior.

Body-checking started early on too. I was so self-conscious about my fat… I would think about it all the time. By elementary school I had learned that I was physically inferior, so I compensated with wit and intellect. I was quick to draw swords on those around me to protect the precious ego that was so, so ashamed.

My obesity tormented me throughout my life. My beliefs about myself, unsolicited from the culture around me, created a web of anxiety and a wall of protection. More about this later. So, so much more.

And so, that week in June, when the scale tipped to the tippy tops, I broke down, like I had so many times before… but this time…. something changed… and that something led to the sustained loss of 70 lbs… no tricks, no gimmicks, no starvation, no pills, no bullshit. I changed my beliefs about myself…

Until next time, keep sweating 🙂

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