Today I want to discuss weight loss and my battles with weight over the years. I’m hoping some of you can chime in here and help provide some advice or ask questions that you may have about weight loss or even weight gain. This is going to be a long post, so be prepared…
A moment I’ll always remember from when I was a kid was when a girl in my fifth grade class laughed at me for wearing a size 12 in kid’s clothing. The girl had started wearing a size 1 in junior’s, so of course she thought she was hot shit because she could fit into big girl clothes. Now, I’m not even sure what the appropriate weight is for a nine year old, but it still made me feel extremely insecure, even then. I was shorter (and still am) than most in my class, so I had a small build. Thinking back on this now, I should have appreciated how petite I was.
Once I got into middle school, I started gaining weight and shopping for my own clothes at the BIG GIRL stores like Aeropostale and shopping in the Junior’s departments in Kohl’s. Just a year or two earlier, it was a problem that my pants were TOO little, now, I was being made fun of at school dances for wearing a cami and skirt that made me look too fat. It’s crazy thinking of how badly weight effects someone’s self esteem at such a young age… I started making myself throw up after meals, but as a diabetic, I needed to eat, so this wasn’t a possibility. I began visiting the gym and working out so hard that I’d make myself physically sick and on the verge of passing out. All because I wanted to lose weight.
By the time I was in high school, I was pushing 130 pounds, standing at 5’0″. I was overweight and it only got worse. My wonderful muffin top flowed over all of my jeans and my arms couldn’t fit through most shirts. I learned ways to ‘mask’ my fat and make it appear that I wasn’t a walking blimp (at least in my own mind). I’d wear layers to help suck in my stomach, cut the sleeves of shirts to get my god damn arms through the holes, and wear sweaters in the summer. Back then, I didn’t consciously think I looked like a blob or that I was overweight. I just got into the routine of hiding how I actually looked, so my weight wasn’t a big deal to me.
After I graduated high school, I was at my highest weight of 147 pounds. Now, for someone who is only 5’0″, that is extremely overweight. At the time, my blood sugars were constantly out of control and I’d find myself in the hospital for issues with my diabetes every few months. My body began storing fat and none of my clothes fit me. Ironically, I was going to the gym and walking 10x more than I am now back then.
As my health plummeted from issues with my diabetes and high blood sugars, my weight slowly dropped. In reality, my health was absolute shit, but I was losing weight, so I felt confident and so much better about myself. I’m not sure how or when I lost the weight, but I remained between 115-125 for a couple years. I could fit into a size 5-7 jean and my arms could get through most arm holes. Around this time is when high waist jeans made a comeback too, so this was an absolute blessing in disguise for masking all that belly fat.
Back in November of 2016, I started feeling pain in my legs. It was keeping me up at night and slowly pain was forming in my abdominal area. I don’t know how to describe the pain, but it was so unbearable that I couldn’t sleep anymore. I’d be awake all night, violently throwing my head against my pillows, almost hoping I’d knock myself unconscious just to get some sleep to avoid the pain in my legs and stomach. There were nights I’d lay on the floor, because laying on my stomach on a flat surface was the only thing that gave me some type of relief.
With the pain becoming so unbearable, I was unable to eat most days. I was eating once a day and sometimes not at all. It’s not like I wasn’t hungry, I was just in so much pain it made me nauseous. When I would eat, I’d get full after three bites of something, because my stomach was shrinking. I started drastically dropping weight, going from 120 pounds to 100 pounds within a few weeks. It kept me out of my internship and school. I was going to two doctor’s appointments a week and people started asking me if I had developed an eating disorder, when all I wanted to do was eat, but the pain prevented it from happening.
When I hit 92 pounds, I was scared nothing was ever going to get better. I still wasn’t sleeping and had developed serious issues with my knee and hip, from lack of movement. I was bruising all over my body, from having a heating pad on my back, stomach, and knee for 23 hours a day. I couldn’t fit into any of my pants anymore and had to buy a smaller size every week. Even a size 0 didn’t fit anymore. The doctors could not find a reason why I was in pain and I felt like I was losing my god damn insanity. Standing for more than 3 minutes was exhausting to me and I spent every minute I was not at work or school, in bed.
I don’t know what changed in my life, but things started changing for the better. Maybe it was the fact that I was out of school and my internship or that my relationships with people became more stable and positive, but who knows. For a while, I wasn’t retaining any weight, but at least I was eating again. The pain slowly went away and so did the sleeping issues (I could literally sleep a whole day away at this point). I still suffer from knee and hip pain from time to time, but it seems I’ve been destined to have shit joints regardless.
Today, I can’t seem to stop gaining weight. I eat so much now, it actually pisses me off. As thankful as I am to not look like a walking corpse and having people tell me I need to eat more, I’m once again unhappy with my weight and how I look. I had to throw out so many clothes when I lost weight, because everything was too big, and now I have to buy new jeans every week, because my ass is becoming so big that none of my pants fit (bless the booty, but I CAN’T BREATHE).
So what gives at this point?! I’m somewhere near 130 pounds again, and back to having a muffin top and struggling to fit my arms through some shirts. I just want to feel comfortable in my body for once. One of my biggest issues I’ve always battled, no matter what weight I’ve been, is my arm fat and lower belly fat. These two areas get the most love for my insulin injections, so fat builds in there the most.
I’m taking small steps to improve my health, whether it’s buying fitness equipment at 12:30 in the morning on Target’s app, or cutting back on carb intake (okay, at least THINKING about it), I’m doing something. I’d love to hear your stories about weight loss or weight gain. So, I’m asking for your help. What’s your best advice on how to control or curb eating habits? What motivates you to head to the gym? What exercises do you find work the best? Let me know in the comments!
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2 thoughts on “My battle to feel comfortable in my own skin”
First, thank you for taking the time to write this and to share something that is not always easy to talk about. My weight has been a challenge for me most of my life. I’ve been overweight nearly all of my life. The only time I almost entered the “normal” weight category, my mental health was in a terrible place and my anxiety was making me feel so terrible I could barely eat. When I got that more under control, the weight I had lost came back.
A huge part of what helps me get to the gym is that I made it a habit. When I first started, I wasn’t super into it and I didn’t really enjoy it, but I would go. Even if it was only for 15 minutes and even if all I did was walk on the treadmill for that time, I told myself it was better than not going at all. Now my work schedule is a little inconsistent, so I haven’t been going as often as I’d like, but I do make sure to fit it in at least twice a week. (Not great by fitness standards but, again, better than not going at all).
Aside from making a habit of it, I wanted to find a way to make working out more enjoyable. I started to experiment with different work out things and began to find things I prefer: I have terrible knees and running is super painful, but the stairclimber doesn’t hurt me – so I do that. I’ve also used workout videos (mostly Blogilates workout song challenges) to inspire/guide my strength training. I have a pretty set routine of leg work I do now. Also, I don’t have cable at home and my gym does have cable – once in a while that inspires me if there’s something I really want to watch on tv.
I suppose it’s important to include that this plan hasn’t lead to me losing weight, but that was never my goal. I knew going into the gym with weight loss as a goal was going to put a lot of pressure and stress on me. Instead, I wanted to build a better relationship with my body and that is something I really do feel like I’ve made progress with.
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Cassidy, thank you so much for sharing YOUR story now. I’ve faced a lot of the similar challenges that you have and I really appreciate you finding the time and comfort to respond.
I also have bad knees/shins/hips, so the treadmill or any running is always a struggle for me. Plus, I have asthma, so of course I nearly collapse doing anything too strenuous. I never considered using the stairs, so this is a great suggestion I’m going to try.
Going to the gym is difficult for me, mostly because I hate doing cardio, but I like the idea of going even if it’s only for 15 minutes. I think I set myself up for disappointment, because I make plans to go and then sitting in traffic for two hours to get home from work makes me cranky and exhausted and not wanting to go. Of course not going leaves me feeling disappointed in myself and miserable, but if I can manage to go for at least a short amount, it’s something!
I can’t thank you enough for responding and letting me know what has worked for you. I wish you all the luck in feeling comfortable with yourself and staying healthy along the way. I may not know you, but hearing stories of others making efforts is really inspiring to me. Especially in regards to making it routine to go and just doing it. Please feel free to reach out at any time and keep in touch.