Weight is a six letter word that is capable of driving a knife through the heart. To me, I have three topics that I will not discuss, which include, politics, religion and weight. I was never one to admit out loud that weight was a true struggle of mine, but as I get older I realize that six letter word is much more than a word. It is an anchor in the middle of the ocean. It is heavy, uncomfortable and can kill you. I find myself addicted to the shows, My 500 Pound Life, or the new show called 1,000 Pound Sisters on Hulu. For some reason, I want to understand them and to some degree relate. Food for me was never a comfort, or a substitute for something else in my life, but for me food was the unknown. I never understand it and it never understand me.
Growing up in a family of five we lived a middle class life but times were hard. For dinner, we had pasta and left over’s for days to follow. Carbs were a main diet in my childhood and I found it hard to shake as I got older. Carbs were never fully comforting to me, but was all that I relied on to eat. Around the age of 16 I was sitting a McDonalds near my high school, Columbine and was looking at a cheeseburger. I looked long and hard at the mystery meat and said I don’t want to eat this or any other meat any longer in my life, for an animal should not have to die for me to survive. I could not wrap my mind around that concept. I went home and told my family I was becoming a vegetarian. At that time, there were no meat substitutions and all I had (or I thought I had) were carbs. I did not know the basics of healthy eating and did not realize which foods were good or bad for me. Around the age of 16, I became very ill and could not get up from the couch and could not remember anything or function in my daily life. After visiting the doctor I was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. I was placed on a high dose and continued to battle the 20 pounds I gained in one month and dealing with the incomplete disorder that I felt. I felt that I was no good to myself or to others.
My confidence in myself was very low and with the thyroid problem I was now struggling with a familiar friend, weight. As a child, my body type was always different, but not fat. I was a soccer player and was made hard. When we lived in California my friends would have pool parties, I made sure to wear my orange or white Tony Hawk shirt over my bathing suit. My friends never thought of me as fat, but when I would look at their skinny bodies I felt uneasy about taking off my shirt. That was a fear that lasted with me for a long time after. As I got my thyroid condition under control, wine found me and I did not realize how much weight you can gain from drinking. In my early twenties, while everyone around me was eating meat, I searched for veggie options, but while living at my parent’s house, I did not cook for I did not feel comfortable or know what to prepare. I felt like a lost baby fawn searching for guidance in a forest full of predators. The predators for me were food and beverages. I feared talking about my weight or my lifestyle, for I did not want to be judged or looked at like a failure. Instead, I wore a lot of black outfits and hot blazers in the summer to hide my body.
In my young thirties I got married and because of my size I selected a two piece wedding dress. As I look back at the pictures now, I feel uncomfortable with my weight and cannot recall how or why I got that big. As I was turning 40 and having a mental break down, I went on a major diet plan and lost about 75 pounds. I looked at myself like a whole new person with new goals and objectives; however, after a divorce I gained the weight back by eating pasta as a comfort food and drinking a lot more. I had never used food to provide comfort until right then. I would eat out at my favorite places and have an unhealthy but comforting meal. It was then at 43 I realized that I could no longer live like this and had to make changes ASAP. I started to cut out carbs and stopped drinking. I needed a clear mind and body to move into the next chapter of my life. As my 44 birthday rolled around I realized that some unpleasant health problems came my way. Soon after losing my job and my dog I was being treated for a potential heart failure and had to immediately lose my weight and eat better. They then found problems with my kidneys and liver, but was unable to determine what the cause was from. Several years back I decided I did not want to deal with my thyroid medication any longer and went off it.
This year, in 2020 the lack of thyroid in my body proved to be a huge problem. I was slurring my speech all day, my hands were very dry, and I had several other health problems due to not taking that simple medication. Now I am starting over again and finding the right dosage. I am mad at myself for allowing me to become that bad. I found other excuses than to fill my medication and to take it daily. As I am in the middle of my 44 year, I realize that I must talk about the one word that is so hard, weight. I am loosing the weight now and feel that I have the food portion under the control but it is the exercise that I am not used to. I have been a hiker for most of my life, but as certain knee problems emerged it became more painful to hike and to walk. In my younger years I had a gym membership and went, but never felt comfortable or in my element there. I always felt that I would be judged and laughed at for my weight. Due to my doubts in myself I pushed the subject of weight into a little box within my heart and tried to forget about it. It was hard for me to be around healthy friends, for I always felt like a failure or incomplete as a person. I could never hike as fast or keep up and that continued to make my doubt grow higher.
I have been a person who would and could tackle anything in life, but for some odd reason the subject of weight is one thing I have been unable to talk about or handle. I want to be skinny and healthy, and even though I am trying to watch everything I eat, I still have bad moments. The lack of confidence is something that is still very fresh and I feel that everyone sees my weight over my personality. Meeting new people is hard for me for I see the weight first and think they will see it too and want nothing to do with me. In my heaviest time, I was 230 and now weigh about 200. I still have a long road again to be thin and healthy and this time I opening the can that has been closed for so long. I am pulling back the tab and opening it to everyone.