Through the Weight Gain Years
It’s been awhile since I talked about my fitness. I haven’t been avoiding the subject. Nonetheless, I haven’t shared my progress or my photos (unless you follow me on Instagram **shameless plug here**).
I also realized that I’ve never told you my story, my struggle with my weight.
On one hand, my tale sounds like many others. I’ve wrestled with my size all of my life. I was the chunky kid. I was teased, ridiculed and overlooked unless it came to athletics. I have “the other hand” because of the fact that I was an athlete.
Starting in third grade, I was picked first for all-things-sports. I could outrun, outjump and outplay most of my classmates. It was the only way I felt connected. The downside was that the connection with the boys, as the girls wanted nothing to do with excelling in sports, except to get close to a boy.
I’m not saying that I didn’t do it to get the attention of some of the boys. I just knew I had given up trying to befriend most of the girls.
I ended up being active, very active. I played outside, I made sports teams, I became very, very good in a lot of it. Yet, I was still chunky.
Growing up, I was never taught how to eat. Overall, my parents gave me a pretty healthy diet. But it wasn’t enough food. For lunch, I may have gotten lunch money (or free lunch when I qualified), and wouldn’t eat again until dinner, normally 5-8 hours later. At dinner, I was given the bare minimum, a piece of meat and a vegetable. I’ve never been a fan of rice, so I could have eaten rice, but I wasn’t allowed seconds. And if I didn’t eat all of my dinner, I wasn’t allowed a dessert, not to say it was always an option.
I know my parents were always looking out for my weight. They saw the chunk like I did, and didn’t want me to be obese like a good part of my family.
So I spent a lot of time hungry.
Remember when I told you that I was active? I was VERY hungry.
So, I supplemented with bad food. I would ask for food from friends. I would indulge at every party (I was not shy about getting the biggest piece of cake or having seconds, or even thirds). I would save money to buy food. I would even steal money to eat food.
By high school, McDonald’s was around the corner and I had my own money. So, I ate.
Most days, I skipped breakfast because I would be lucky if I rolled out of bed 10 minutes before I had to leave. I wasn’t into my looks, so a t-shirt, jeans, and ponytail was my go-to look. I just needed enough time to brush my teeth, wash my face, and grab my stuff.
Then I was off.
Occasionally, I would remember to (or had the option to) snatch something for a snack. Then I would go to my first few classes.
In general, I don’t get hungry in the morning until I eat (or around noon) most days. So, this never bothered me.
I would eat a calorie-laden lunch. For just $2, I could get cheese fries or cheese nachos and a pink lemonade (I’ve never been into soda).
I would finish out the school day, then on to practice. Practice was no less than two hours and by that time I was starving. If I had time, I would stop at McDonald’s and pick up a Big Mac meal.
When I got home, I would eat dinner and any school dessert that I saved from the school cafeteria.
This worked for me. I wasn’t hungry and I didn’t put on weight.
I also didn’t know that I was creating terrible habits that would follow me for years to come.
In college, I started out strong, working out almost daily, with the same terrible eating habits. Even though I wasn’t on a team, I worked out more because UCLA’s campus is built like a basin. You start on one edge of the bowl, then walk down to the center, to the other side of the bowl to attend classes. Since I only ate at my dorm, I rarely got stuck at the bottom of the valley and failed to gain weight. In fact, my freshman year, I lost weight.
I started working off campus, which turned into not having to walk through the basin very often. The weight slowly increased, but I was working too much to care or notice.
It’s amazing how working out for multiple hours a day can mask bad eating. I didn’t eat anything different, but the weight just crept on.
By the end of college, I had gone from 150 to 180. In law school, from 180 to 220. I did have a little bit of an excuse in law school, I gave birth to my son three months before graduation.
Over the years, I had learned some about proper eating habits and what it took to lose weight. I would try, but I could never commit for more than a couple of months at a time.
So here I am. Well out of college. Four children later. And still bouncing around that 220 number.
This year, I have determined will be different. So far, I’ve gone to the gym at least five days a week since the beginning. I’m proud that I have made that change.
Now, I need to work on changing my diet. There is no doubt that only 20% can be controlled by exercise, the rest, the 80% is controlled by what you put in (or don’t put in) your mouth. That’s the hard part.