I did a pretty job as a teenager to destroy any fat photos that had managed to find their way into my hands and photo albums. There are not many photos of me in 8th grade and my first few years of high school. I couldn't burn everyone's yearbooks or pencil out my face (I was on every other page in that thing), but I sure tried. Every chipmunk cheek smile, jiggly arm, pot belly and Jabba-the-hut chin remind me of my battle. Weight loss and fitness are just that - a BATTLE.
Everyday is constant vigilance. Everyday is a choice. Every workout requires mental strength and clarity. Every lift requires fighting the burn, pushing through the entire movement. Every run is my battle cry. Every smart food choice is a reminder of just how vital your diet is, and how easily it can sabotage any efforts.
I'd almost forgotten just how far I have come. I really started working out and watching my diet about two years ago, and my ex-boyfriend was the one who saw all of the changes and encouraged me. We both were super conscious about our diet, when we ate, what we ate, and how we worked out. He was a personal trainer with a degree in Exercise Physiology. He knew his stuff, and always encouraged me to order the healthiest food, say no to the beer, stop eating before 7pm, etc. He also cooked and made really healthy chicken, veggies and eggs. I didn't know what the sweet potato was before him!
Well, I maintained well on my own after that relationship ended, but, marriage has become a beast and a battle of its own. What is it with getting comfortable with someone that just makes the cookies and the ice cream crawl out from the woodwork?! Last night my husband ordered a meatball sandwich and we ate cannoli's. It would be okay if this were a rare treat, but we ate the same thing the night before.
Am I trying to pretend that I wasn't ever a fat girl? I know that I can't eat junk food like this and maintain my physique or fitness level. I have forgotten the battle. I've laid down my armor.
Then my sister sent me a photo. It came as a text message on my iPhone this morning. And as I look at this photo, all the old feelings of helplessness, unhappiness, hopelessness have washed over me again. I felt like I was 14 or 15 again, confused and lost, eating my way to happiness. Torn because I was just eating what my loved ones were giving me, but sad and wondering why it was making me fat. Whole wheat breads? Whole wheat pasta? Oatmeal and Raisin Bran for breakfast? These were "healthy" foods, right?
I lived in a vegetarian household. No meat. Just a lot of pasta, bread, beans and no fat. At this time I didn't eat any veggies (It wasn't until I was 18 that I ate my first salad), so you can imagine how all of those starches just packed onto my thighs, face, belly and arms. Even though I was active, playing volleyball, track and soccer, I jiggled like Jello. From 8th grade to my freshman year, I got stretch marks. On my inner thighs, on my bubble butt, on the back of my legs.
They're still there, a constant reminder of my unhappy youth, jagged scars across what would be perfect legs today.
I have a searing anger that boils for those parents and caregivers that watch kids get fat and somehow feel okay with it, or don't do anything to battle it. I am angry at the doctors of the time, at the stupid food pyramid, that told us we needed breads, breads, breads and little fats and sugars. I have stretch marks and emotional baggage to prove to them how much that diet SUCKS.
I've fallen off the nutrition track again. I figured I was active enough to monitor how much I ate and would be allowed to eat things like cannoli's and chocolate chip cookies. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
I believe everything happens for a reason. There is a reason I was letting our pantry get down to the bare minimum, letting our fridge empty out, and waiting to go grocery shopping. It's because I needed a reminder that I am still fighting the fight!
I can't wait to show you photos of the foods I am dumping from my pantry tonight and what I'll be picking up from the grocery store on my next trip.
Here's to being fat, finally getting fit and healthy, and strong enough to maintain.