“Maybe if I got a disease I would lose weight.”
I was nine when I mumbled this.
My mom was talking to me about losing weight. This was in the 80’s and I was a kid. I did not know how to lose weight. I just knew I was fat. Everyone told me I was. All of my friends and teachers told me I was fat. I have no idea what I weighed but I knew it was more than other kids. I wore adult pants my mom had to hem down. I wore shirts that belonged to my dad. I wanted to lose weight and be like everyone else. But I was not like everyone else.
I was frustrated. I was sick of people making fun of me. I was a kid. It was not fair! I would have done anything to not be fat! So I prayed for the worst thing I could. I watched a special on people who lost weight after having life threatening diseases. Maybe that was the only answer for me…..
And then I said it at the dinner table. I truly thought the only way I could lose weight was to have a disease.
My mom did not hear me say this. Who wants to hear their child say that? I have seen how so cancer, diabetes and so many other diseases have destroyed lives and families.
No mother wants to hear their child say something like this. No mother should ever have a child think like this.
It is like a knife through your heart. It is devastating.
But I was nine. I was a kid in the 80’s. Where diets consisted of Lean Cuisines and Diet Shasta. Where Richard Simmons was a hero for having overweight people on his workout videos where everyone else did not. Where Dexatrim was candy and maybe 10% of all food had nutritional information. There was no obesity epidemic then. Just one in my mind. One I could not get out of………
I am closing in on forty years old now. I have never taken a class on weight loss nor do I have a degree in nutrition. I can say I am a weight loss expert. A weight loss expert for myself.
I know what a pound gain can do to someone who works hard. Where interpreting a diet wrong can make you feel like a failure. Where as good as you are doing, someone else is doing better, and you need to know how they do it.
I know the great feeling of wearing smaller pants and the sadness of wearing bigger pants. Where you raise your hands and say “Never Again” and three months later eat your words. Where you were so “fat” in a picture only to pray that one day you could look like that again.
I know about this because I have lived it.
In my 20’s I lost over 80 pounds by lowering my portions. I was an expert! I would have told you that I should have written a book about it.
Only to gain back all and more.
I know this because I remember losing weight in high school. Weighing 155 pounds for a brief moment only to still consider myself fat. Not happy with myself while seeing my ribs in the mirror.
Only to gain back all and more.
Sometimes I look at myself now. I see the muscles, definition. For the first time I do not see myself as fat. Fat was gone at 400 pounds. When I was losing weight. When I developed the confidence and self esteem the nine year old boy should have had. I do not look at my imperfections. I do not care about the loose skin that is getting tighter. I do not care about the “new” diets that I have heard before. I do not care about what is wrong with me. I care about what is right with me.
I care that I have my life back. So much is taken away at 400 pounds. Dignity, a voice, power. You have nothing but a heavy breath and a sweaty shirt.
No one wants to listen to you at 420 pounds.. You do not want to listen. I did not want to listen.
In some weird way, I needed to be over 400 pounds. I was not going to keep the weight off any other way. I needed life to be hard. Because if life was easy….who am I kidding? Whose life is easy???
You can tell me all day long I would have lost the weight all along. How strong I am.
Tell that nine year old boy. The one with no hope.
So every day is new. I love working out. I love fruits and vegetables. It never gets easy, but it is doable.
Every day I do this, every day I watch what I eat, every day I work out, every day I make things happen….
I tell that nine year old boy you do not need a disease to lose weight. You need to find every bit of strength in your body to fight the demons that stop you from being great.
No one deserves to be “the fat kid”.