Disclaimer: I am about to lay a lot of emotional baggage out on the line. Some of this is hard for me to talk about so if you are going to comment, please only positive comments. Thank you!
For as long as I can remember I have always been heavy. I weighed 9 lbs 6 oz at birth…so I’ve been heavy pretty much my whole life (literally)! I was a very outgoing kid….loved to learn, was always curious but most of all I loved being with my family. My family has always been very close. Growing up, my cousins were like my brothers and sisters because we were always together. Being 3 years old than the majority of them was hard at times….you know how kids are! The older kids getting annoyed by the younger ones and vice versa.
As I got older, my weight never really seemed to be a problem until about the 3rd grade. That’s when the name calling all started. Trying to be the tough kid, I tried really hard not to let it bother me. I kept telling myself that it didn’t matter how everyone else saw me because I knew I was a great person inside and out. The years seem to fly by and the name calling kept getting worse and then farm animal sounds started. I brushed it off at first and tried to ignore it but after so long, it finally got to me. I don’t care how tough you are or how thick your skin may be, hearing your peers make fun of you repeatedly will break just about anyone. I made a vow to myself to never let them see me cry and I didn’t. I refused to give them the satisfaction of seeing that they were hurting me, but as soon as I got home from school, straight to my bedroom I would go and cry. Sometimes I would cry so hard that I would eventually make myself sick.
I don’t want to make my childhood seem like it was all horrible and I got bullied all the time because that’s not true. I have amazing friends that always stood up for me (you all know who you are and if I never said it….THANKS) but not even they knew what demons I was battling inside because I hid it from everyone. I felt that this was my punishment for being “the plump girl”. That’s right, I thought the teasing, the name calling and the bullying was what I deserved because I wasn’t like the rest of my peers.
Middle School was by far the worst for me. I was a cheerleader for the Oakland Jets….at that time the hottest little league football team and cheerleading squad! Every girl wanted to be a Jet Cheerleader because the were instantly popular…. and I WAS ONE OF THEM! I also attended Brenda’s Body Shop where I was taking 2 dance classes and a tumbling class. Dance and cheerleading were my entire life growing up and that was one place that I felt like I belonged because I was in the same classes as all my friends. I was a very athletic pre-teen and you would think I would be skinny with all the classes and practices I was attending. Nope….I was still that “plump” kid everyone liked to make fun of. I continued to keep my head held high and tried really hard to keep it from bothering me. After all I was on the Oakland Jets cheerleading squad with all the other popular girls!
The name calling and sounds finally died down around 8th grade and I was finally in a good place mentally. I thought that maybe I made it through the bad part and that everyone was seeing me for me. Well I was dead wrong! High School was by far the worst of it. I continued my cheerleading into high school as did all my other friends. My freshman year of high school, the name calling and sounds started to resurface and this time it was so hard for me to deal with it. High School girls are vulnerable anyway but for me, it was a thousand times harder. Hello…..I was a plump cheerleader. How many of those do you see everyday?
My friends were definitely my rock through everything. They never once made me feel like I was different or that my weight mattered to them. They liked me for who I was and not what I was. But I bet even they didn’t know that at every party or sleep over I ever attended, I was always a bit self-conscious because I will admit….I have really great taste in friends. All of my friends are absolutely beautiful on the inside and the outside. As high school continued, my self-esteem didn’t seem to improve and I was desperate to fit the image of the girl every guy wanted and every girl wanted to be. So I started to skip meals. It started off as only skipping breakfast and then it turned into skipping both breakfast and lunch. Before I knew it, I was probably only consuming between 500 and 700 calories a day. I obviously was putting my body in starvation mode which is not healthy (I know….I was dumb and young). I was very weak and tired all the time. I finally went back to eating two meals a day but I was still eating as few calories as possible. I was so obsessed with losing weight, I would try just about anything. I tried working out 4 times a week but the weight just wasn’t coming off and I got more depressed and disgusted with myself. That’s when I started taking diet pills. I tried them all and I still wasn’t losing the weight fast enough. The hurtful name calling and laughing at me kept getting worse so naturally, I kept getting worse.
My obsession of being skinny soon came to a screeching halt. I finally broke! I couldn’t take it anymore…I couldn’t stand the name calling, the mocking, the teasing but most of all I couldn’t take the pressure I was putting on myself. I am only human and god made me the way I am for a reason. I finally accepted that no matter what I did that I was always going to be “plump” and I had to learn to love myself. How could I expect someone to love me if I didn’t love myself. It took several months for me to finally get into a good spot but I finally made it there.
(Fast forward to the last few years) When I got my diagnoses of PCOS and read all the research on it, it sent me back to those days where I just didn’t feel worthy. My weight was obviously an issue. My doctor told me that I needed to lose weight if I wanted to ever have a healthy pregnancy. Of course I was devastated….I went through several different levels of depression. My depression led to stress….What if I couldn’t give my husband a baby? The worry and stress just got the best of me and I basically had a mental breakdown. I tried for about a year to lose the weight but I was all over the place with my emotions. I would do really well with my diet and exercise and then I would back slide. My weight would go up and down and so did my emotions. Finally….I just gave up and excepted that I would never be skinny. I ate what I wanted and just didn’t care. When Christmas 2014 rolled around, I was at my all time heaviest and was miserable. I knew then that if I wanted to have the family that I so longed for, I had to put in the work.
In that moment, I realized that if I wanted to reach my goals I needed to learn to love myself for who I was. Yes, I have PCOS but I will not let it run my life. I will reach my goals and I will push through the obstacles that life puts in front of me. “I am who I am”… and what I am is a work in progress. My whole life has changed. I walk a little taller, I smile a lot more but the best thing I am happy.
It’s important to have your mental health under control in order to control your overall health. If your head isn’t in the right place, your goals will seem to be unreachable. Learn to love yourself for who you are…whether you are short or tall, too “plump” or to tiny, brown-eyed or blue-eyed….it doesn’t matter as long as you are happy with who you are!