If someone had told me 20 years ago, I would have a problem with my weight, I’d have laughed them right out of the room. I’d have slapped them in the face with a, “shut yo mouth”. Alas, having two kids later in life and a horrible sense of will power means I’m fighting the dreaded weight gain that seems to hit so many other 40 somethingers.
When I graduated high school, I was 6 feet tall (same height I am now) and weighed 145 pounds. I was considered underweight. I ate like a horse, though, putting away large Pizza Hut pepperoni pizzas all by myself. I drank good ole Southern sweet tea, ate fried foods, indulged in sodas and chips. I ate like it was no one’s business and I didn’t gain an ounce.
When I started college, there was always that whole “Freshman 15” that most college students gained. Uh uh, not me! I still managed to stay around 145-150 pounds, at times looking emaciated. I was made fun of for being a stick, with no boobs and no butt. I had no hips, so men’s jeans and pants fit me superbly. I was super self conscious back then, but for the complete opposite reason I am now. These days, thanks to that stupid BMI, I’m actually considered overweight.
I’ve never in my life had to struggle with weight as badly as I have over the past year. For some reason, after having Henry, I was unable to lose the weight and actually put it back on. Being the vain individual I am, a serious character flaw I know, I’ve allowed myself to spiral down into levels of self deprecation I never really knew existed. I found myself sobbing at the start of the year, literally trying to find a way to get myself to just either not eat or immediately purge the food I did consume. I tore my husband apart, as he watched me. I think my constant berating of myself genuinely caused him pain.
I went to my doctor, who tested my thyroids. I prayed every night for the answer I wanted, for there to be an actual medical condition for what I was going through so that I could take some pill and “cure” myself. I wanted hypothyroidism so badly, because if that’s what I had then I could be treated, then I would know what was wrong with me. Of course the results came back negative, which sent me even further down the black hole of self hatred. My doctor did tell me that I could be on the outer fringes of something known as postpartdum hypothyroidism which happens in women who’ve had children. That didn’t exactly help me to feel better.
I found myself eager to try every diet fad possibly. I wanted to have my jaw wired shut so that I wouldn’t eat my sons’ leftovers, which I’m sure that, along with my declining metabolism, was truly the sole cause of my weight gain. I did my best to hide my self hatred from my boys. They were, and still are, always eager to tell me I’m pretty, but as the days went by I became more and more thankful that I didn’t have a daughter. And maybe that’s what started waking me up.
Girls are so difficult. We’re hard on ourselves, we judge each other, we can just be all around unsupportive at times. I’m sure a lot of my female readers want to argue this, but deep down it’s true. At some point or another, you as a female, have either been judged, made to feel less than what you are, or have done it to another person or even to yourself. I can only imagine if I had a daughter and she saw me tear myself apart over my physical appearance, how it could impact her. Thankfully, my boys are completely oblivious to it.
It’s taken months, but I’ve finally gotten to a point where I’m happy with myself. I don’t know if I’ve lost weight, but I can easily bike 20 miles, extreme hills included, in an hour. I can run a 5k, possibly more depending upon who’s motivating me. For the first time all summer, I have shorts that are actually loose on me. It’s taken a lot of hard work, work that at times I’ve talked myself out of doing. It’s taken a lot of will power, in that I can’t eat the little snacks that my boys eat and I can’t finish their dinners for them. It’s taken a lot of support not just from my husband, but from my friends, and my work out partners.
Here’s what I’ve learned as I’ve turned 40. I made a decision to have children later in life, at a time when my metabolism starts slowing down. I can’t easily drop the weight like I could 5 years ago. I may not always feel beautiful, but I’ve started feeling good, and my husband thinks I’m beautiful. My friends are going to love me regardless of what I look like. They’re going to support me, encourage me, and accept me. So, why shouldn’t I do that to myself?
I’m tired of playing the hunger games. I’m tired of looking at those 20 something moms and comparing my overweight body to their fit and toned ones. I’m just tired of being my own worst critic. So, as of today, Thursday, August 27th, I have officially declared an end to the Hunger Games of my life.