Two posts in two days! Woah.
I’ve really wanted to write about this topic for a while now. Folks, this is going to be a super honest and personal post; a part of me is really scared about putting this (and myself; there are pictures) out into the internet. But, I also feel like its important to get this off my chest and use it as a catalyst to a healthier chapter in my life.
I’ve always been…bigger than most people. Okay, if I’m being honest, I’ve been overweight/obese since at least junior high. For me, I think my excess weight is a result of genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, and my love for food. My first attempt to lose weight came in between junior and senior year of high school. I don’t remember how much weight I lost or even how much I weighed but I do remember one guy on the first day of band camp exclaiming, “you look really good, Becky!” It was the validation my 17 year old self was looking for.
What little physical exercise I took part in during high school (marching band) completely fell to the wayside once I started college. I went to class, sat on my ass, slept, watched t.v. (my first experience with cable), and had a really unhealthy diet (as in, eating an entire bag of chip in one sitting). By the time graduated I weighed, oh my goodness, 210 pounds. *breathe, Becky, breathe*
My 5’3 frame was not built to carry that much weight so I obviously felt really crummy. I was always short of breath, I would get really weird pangs in my chest, I just felt heavy. I was always aware in the back of my mind that I was slowly making my way to a life of diabetes, kidney failure, high blood pressure, etc.; all of which are in my family history. The thing was that while I did care I just didn’t have the energy to do anything about it.
The catalyst came when I moved to Birmingham and, if I’m being honest may have had something to do with a guy. I know, I know. A part of me wanted to get skinny for him in the whole stupid, “maybe if I’m skinny and pretty he’ll like me” rigmarole. I didn’t say I did it for all the right reasons. There were a few other driving factors: living with my aunt who had always been healthy-ish, a few nice, but blunt conversations (“your stomach rests on the counter”), one of my graduate professors skimming over me when talking about attractive girls in the class (yeah, sort of skeevy), and the feeling that it was sort of now or never.
Ultimately, I decided to adopt a vegan diet, took up yoga, attended free workout classes offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield, and even jogged a few 5k races. It took a while but I ultimately started losing weight, toning up, and feeling loads better. I went from weighing 210 pounds to 150 pounds. I was in the best health and shape of my life.
I know now that I am an emotionally eater and my weight started to creep back up when I went through a “have to move back to Odessa” depression. It never really stopped creeping back up, even when I moved to Austin and joined a running group. I haven’t gained back all of the weight that I lost and I’ve decided that that’s not going to happen. Many of my 30 before 30 goals focus on a healthier lifestyle (runs, hikes, cooking) as a way to help me stay on a healthier course and hold me accountable.
I’ll be honest, I’ve been struggling with the idea of losing weight for a while. You see all of these articles about designers and clothing stores finally catering to fuller figured women. There’s even a whole movement of brave ass women who refuse to conform to the skinny standard perpetuated by the media. I applaud them. A part of me even wants to be them. To give zero fucks about what people may think as I walk down the beach in a bikini, to wear what I want to wear, to be confident with how I look.
Ultimately, though, I can’t. Because I just don’t feel good at my current weight. I feel heavy (obviously), lethargic, and just….not healthy. When I was coming up with my 30 Before 30 list, #5 (get back to “birmingham” weight) was one of the first things I jotted down. After losing those 60 lbs I felt great; the best I’ve felt in a long time, health wise but also confidence wise.
Even though I want to lose some pounds to feel healthier, I struggle with being conscious about wanting to lose weight for the right reasons. Sometimes, super vain Becky comes out and wants to get skinny to be hot and wear super cute clothes. Sometimes I want to be skinny so cute guys can flock to me like bees to honey (honest but God, so embarassing). When I get hung up on “skinny” I have to remind myself that being skinny and being healthy are two different things and that ultimately, what I’m working towards is my health and longevity: I’m no longer 17 year old Becky but late 20’s Becky.
I’m not going into this thinking that I won’t struggle with reasonings and losing weight, but I do think that I’m on the right track; acknowledging my way of thinking is a good first step, right?! I have a feeling that this topic will come up again in the future but for now I’m just excited to start this new, realistic, and healthier journey.