Last year around April I went to the doctors for an injury I sustained while chasing my YMCA kids around a jungle gym. I had hurt my knee and for workers comp purposes I went to the Student Health Center at UNM. When the doctor saw me he examined my knee, told me I sprained it and then proceeded to lecture me about my weight. I was pretty upset afterwards, mostly because I was in denial as to how big I had gotten. Since puberty I’ve had problems with my weight. I’ve gone up and down and up and down. It affected my self image, led me to dabble in eating disorders and for a while made me feel like I was pretty damn worthless.
I started last year wearing a size 22 or 24 (depending on the brand) and seriously hating my body. In September, I got strep throat and went back to the Student Health Center. I knew I had lost some weight because the job I had was pretty physical but I didn’t realize how much. The doctor told me I’d lost nearly 45 pounds since the last time I’d been in. I was in shock, I thought at most I’d lost maybe 10 pounds or so.
Since then I’ve continued working out and doing my best to eat better (I am a sucker for pasta, cheese and chocolate) Yesterday night I measured myself and to my complete surprise I discovered I’ve lost enough weight to wear a size 16. Still not as small as I’d like to be but much, much smaller than I thought I was. I’ve been wearing clothes that are almost 4 sizes too big. Talk about a massive confidence burst.
I’ve always thought working out and eating right had to be a chore, mostly because I made it into one. I realized most of the things I really like to eat ARE healthy, it’s just in how I make them. I’ve learned how to substitute things (like whole wheat pasta versus white pasta) and integrate more vegetables into my meals. The main thing I did was quit drinking soda. That was hard because I was convinced I really like soda. After not having it for a while and then drinking one I’ve realized I really don’t like it. It’s too sweet and way too harsh. In terms of working out I’ve always made it a chore because it was hard in the beginning. The more I’ve worked out the more I’ve realized I like it. I started off with yoga and then I added pilates and then kickboxing and weights. I turned it into something I like to do versus something I ‘have’ to do.
I think the most important thing I learned last year was a small change in perspective can truly change everything. It’s hard for me not to give into despair, between the panic disorder and the depression I’ve dealt with all of my life learning how to retrain my thought processes has been extremely difficult. I still falter, some days I look at myself and I can’t see any of the progress I’ve made. Sometimes I have to work really hard just to get out of bed in the morning. That said I’ve learned I can’t give up, I can’t just give in, not if I want to achieve the things I want.
I’ve never been an exceptionally optimistic person. I’m hopeful and idealistic but optimism has always seemed foolish to me. Learning to look on the brightside has not been easy, in fact a lot of the time I think I suck at it. But it’s a learning process and I’m doing my best to stay ahead of the curve.