#baggage

I grew up thin. Even in my awkward early teen years when I thought I was heavy, I wasn’t. Throughout my childhood being physically active and having a relatively healthy diet were constants. In my mind, I still see myself as that thin girl. I am not.

I  remember being a hostess at Bonefish Grill right out of high school. On my way to work I would stop at Sonic and get a cheeseburger, cheese fries, and a coconut cream pie milkshake for lunch. I would have chicken tenders from the restaurant for dinner. This was 4-5 days a week. I was a size 2. In college I would drink upwards of 6 cokes a day. I never thought about it.  I was still active. I took dance classes every semester. My last semester of college I remember thinking my leotard looked a little snug. My stomach stuck out just a little too much.

My most favorite photo of me was taken the morning of my college graduation. I don’t remember being so focused on how I looked back then. It was just how I looked. I didn’t meditate on being a certain size or looking a certain way. I just.. was.

After college was when the weight came. It was the first time in my life I wasn’t on a structured schedule. I was living on my own, I was waiting tables at a Destin tourist trap. My routine became sleep til noon, work til midnight, party, repeat. I remember sitting in my truck and my favorite pair of jeans felt like they were about to burst at the seams. This routine went on for a long while. I would go through brief phases of cleaning up my diet or working out but it never lasted. The abuse I was putting my body through was catching up with me. My unhealthy habits were out of control. I felt like a stranger in my own skin. I hated the way I looked and felt.

My partying came to an abrupt stop the night I broke my ankle. As you can’t wait tables with one leg, I was out of a job and back at my parents house. It was a wake up call. I was embarrassed and ashamed and scared. What I originally thought would be a 4 month hiatus from serving at the restaurant, turned into two years at Fort Fox and a career change.

Working at the salon gave me so much inspiration. Everyone there was so beautiful. I didn’t want to be the odd girl out so I worked hard to change my diet, limit my drinking, and get active again. I remember being tagged in a photo with a coworker on Facebook  and it was the first time in a long time I didn’t hate the photo of myself. I felt pretty. I felt healthy. I’d like to say this was the part where I lost all the weight and lived happily ever after in my size 2 jeans. It’s not.

Almost 6 years later I sit here still struggling with my weight. I was just home in Florida for Christmas and snuck on the scale in my parents bathroom. 180. One hundred eighty pounds. I don’t know if this is my heaviest. During those really awful years in Destin I just stopped weighing myself. But it doesn’t feel good. Especially knowing just a few months prior I was in the 160s. 2016 was supposed to be the year of ME! One of my dearest friends was getting married in October and I wanted to look amazing in my bridesmaids dress. I wanted to love the photographs of me with all my girlfriends from home. It would be MY year. I purposely ordered my dress a size down just knowing that I would lose the weight. I received my dress in March, I had until October to fit into it. The day before the wedding my mom had to whip up some kind of gypsy magic and rig the dress to fit me. I was humiliated. I cried when I saw the photos. There was just so much of me. My face, my neck, all those chins…

I have no one to blame but myself. I am lazy when it comes to taking care of myself. I lack self discipline in being active. I know my parents worry about my weight. I carry the majority of it in my middle. Diabetes and heart disease run on both sides of my family. Their concern is legitimate. I am embarrassed to be the heavy one in my family. My parents and my brother are in great shape. I feel self conscious in family photos. I’m sick of it. Any time I watch Hunger Games or Walking Dead or any other survivalist show I have the sinking thought “I wouldn’t make it”. I want to be fit. I want to be strong. I want to survive the Hunger Games!!

I’ve tried fad diets and a million different workout routines. Nothing sticks. I’m not making lifestyle changes, I’m doing something fun while it’s fun then quitting. My hope is to relearn to eat well and make movement a normal part of my routine again. I am starting with Whole30 to “reset” my body and slowly reintroduce certain food groups and with any luck (just kidding- it’ll be discipline and resolve) learn to live without others.

I know refined sugars and dairy kill me. The instant stomach pain and inflammation in my bad ankle should be enough of a warning sign. Sugars are more of a thoughtless treat than an addiction for me. But the carbs and dairy..It makes me sad to think of a day without cheese..and  carbs are my love language so I am pretty nervous about going without them.

This may just be another failed attempt and I will find myself a year from now reading this blog (probably while eating ice cream) shaking my head thinking “okay okay 2018 is MY year!”.. but I really hope not. I hope it starts today and becomes a lifestyle. A daily choice to respect my body.

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