I was going to title this “how did I get here?” But then I remembered I’ve already done that. This is a post I’ve been putting off forever because it was so hard to write. I didn’t want to do it. Because to actually see the words published is weird. For so many years, these thoughts were just floating around my brain, circling each other, and I adamantly refused to write them down because I was intimidated by them. These thoughts are an important part of my story, and yet I’m still not sure I’ve done them justice. But alas, here we are.
I was always a skinny little toothpick. I was tall for my age until 6th grade when I stopped growing and everybody else started. And I was active. Then when I started high school, I dropped all the sports I’d played. No more softball, field hockey, or basketball. I had tons of time to lounge around my house and eat. And eat I did. And exercise I did not. That’s when I started ballooning. Mind you, my BMI has never been bad. It’s been in the upper averages, so that’s what I clung to.
I knew that I was .. plump. I noticed that fat was appearing. I knew the basics of what I had to do (eat less! exercise more! simple enough! no?) but I had zero motivation. I soon found I didn’t know how. I didn’t know how to start eating healthier or how to start exercising. Where did high schoolers who didn’t play sports exercise anyway? I was too proud to ask someone for help. I couldn’t stand the thought of going to somebody to ask for help and having them actually — gasp — agree with me that I needed help because I obviously had gained weight. That would mean the problem was real. If it was only in my head, then I could fight it, ignore it and dismiss it. Pretend. So that’s what I did.
I drifted through school, building up a persona, a caricacture. I was the funny one. The goofy one who didn’t take anything seriously. While in my mind, a mental battle raged. I hated myself for letting the weight gain happen. I felt shamed and saddened. So, of course, I turned to food. I”d vow to change. But I didn’t know how. I researched, read a few articles, but it seemed unattainable and beyond my abilities. I was in high school so my mom did all the grocery shopping. What our family ate was cookies, brownies, fruit roll-ups, cheez-its. I was too ashamed and scared to go to her or my dad and ask if she could purchase healthier food. I was so afraid of her reaction. “Yep,” she’d nod, “I’ve been waiting for you to ask this. You’re overweight. Caitlyn, how could you do this? How could you let it get so far?”
The thought of someone confirming what I knew… it was too much. It would confirm, I thought, that people had noticed. And were talking about it. I myself struggled with acknowledging it, so I definitely did not want anyone to acknowledge it. I wanted it to be a dirty little secret. I didn’t want to feel that they were disappointed in me. I felt like I was letting everyone down. And so, I did not want to talk about it and I most definitely did not want to have to hear any criticism. I’ve never been good at talking about my feelings. I wanted this problem to go away. I wanted to wake up and be skinny. I wanted to be able to eat the way I was and not have to worry about it!
I didn’t want to lean on my friends because I didn’t want them to talk about it either. How embarrassing for them to have to have an overweight friend!
So I just never talked about it. I kept living the way I was. Unhealthily.
I knew food was something my body needed. I knew I didn’t eat healthy. It’s not my fault that my taste buds hate healthy, I’d joke. I knew I didn’t know anything about nutrition and how my body works. I figure that I just didn’t pay enough attention in school. I knew I didn’t have healthy eating habits. I knew I ate when I was bored, not hungry. I knew I ate too much. I would rationalize that it was okay, because all the girls I knew said the exact same thing. So, I figured, I was okay. We were all like that. I think subconsciously I knew that was abysmal logic but I didn’t want to delve too deep into it and be forced to face it.
Then one day, junior year of college, I looked around. Really looked. And…. wait a second.
They all say those things about being fat, eating too much and eating poorly. But I am the only one sitting here who is a little bit chubby (I hate that word). Why is that?
Hmm..did they not sit by themselves in their room, skimming the Internet and eat bags of pretzels (it’s okay! pretzels are healthy!) or goldfish? Did they not get chicken fingers & fries for lunch then go eat it in the newspaper office by themselves, lock the door, and do homework because they didn’t want anybody else to see how badly they were eating?
Senior year of college I started working out twice a week. Then I’d go to the cafeteria and get a salad. A salad loaded up with eggs, cheese and tons of ranch dressing. Yes!! I was on my way!! I’d pout when I didn’t lose weight. Um, hello, body, why aren’t you thin yet? So I’d give it up.
It wasn’t until I moved here, starting a brand new chapter, that I resolved enough.was.enough. I didn’t want the deeply insecure, chubby girl to be the lead of the story anymore. I wanted to know, love and respect myself.
It was WAY past time to put in some goddamn effort (oh the horror!) and put all the pieces together. And if I was going to do this, I was going to do it right. I was going to stop using food as a crutch. I was going to do what I’ve always been so scared of: look at myself. And examine the “whys” and “hows”, which is obviously still difficult, since this post is a mess and doesn’t really shed any light on anything. Have I mentioned how I hate talking about myself and my feelings? Yeah, I don’t know why I started a blog either..
So I’m slowly learning, as well as monitoring and listening to my body, picking up on when I’m hungry. I’ve started timing out my meals. If I’m bored and find myself looking to go downstairs to get food, I force myself to recognize that I am just looking for something to do and am not actually hungry.
This is a loaded process. Sometimes I feel as if I’ve opened Pandora’s Box and I just want to slam the lid back on and forget all the horrors. Myself! My issues! Food! Fitness! It’s a lot to tackle. It’d be sooooo easy to just forget about all this. But then again, that’s why I’ve let so many years go by. Because it’s easier. And the time for easy is long passed. I sometimes feel like it’s now or never. If I don’t do it now, I’ll never do it.
Onward and upward.