My Story, Part 2

In January 2008, my mom died suddenly. I was 24 and had gotten married the previous August. To say that my world crumbled would be an understatement. My father was in a very serious accident just over a month later that would ultimately leave him in a rehab facility for 3 months, through June of that year. I was on a seemingly never-ending binge. I think I weighed about 245-250 at the time of my mom’s death; by November 2008, I was 301 pounds, my highest weight ever. I started having to regularly use my asthma inhaler, and I was put on cholesterol medication.

My Story, Part 2

Marc and I decided in September 2008 that we wanted to teach English in Korea–why Korea? They paid for your flight there and back, paid for your housing, relatively good salaries (depending on your school), and they only required a Bachelor’s degree in any field. We also wanted to take some time to travel a bit before we had kids, got a mortgage, etc. I suppose the real reasons we wanted to go though were A) Marc was having difficulty finding a job with his shiny new Master’s degree, B) I was really starting to feel burnt out at my job, and C) we both just needed to get away from the depressing year we’d had. Marc left for Korea that November, and I followed in February (stayed behind to finish paying out our lease).

My Story, Part 2

I think I probably lost 10-15 pounds within the first couple of months; walking everywhere and the change in diet certainly helped a lot! I didn’t own a scale for a while, so I’m just guessing on that number. There was an incident probably my second month there; I was teaching adults, and one my students said to me, “Teacher, you are so fat. You need to stop eating hamburgers, and eat more rice.”  I was so dumbfounded; I couldn’t believe this 40-year-old woman just said that to my face! I did my best not to burst into tears, and responded with something like, “Well, I do enjoy the occasional hamburger, but they’re not the reason I’m fat. I’m also sure that eating more rice isn’t the answer.”

When I relayed this story to another teacher, she helped me understand that the student didn’t say this intending to be rude or mean, but that she was concerned and Koreans are just very blunt and straightforward (something I came to appreciate during my time there). I think that was the first time I started to really see myself as “fat”; my entire life, I’d always carried my weight well and most people didn’t think I weighed as much as I did. However, at this point I could no longer deny the angry red stretch marks on my belly, or my size 3X, 24W clothing.

Despite this, I still didn’t really actively try to lose weight–which, honestly, was just fine with me. That summer, I started exercising–but again, not having scale make it difficult to really track any progress. That was probably one of the most freeing things, being without a scale for so long–I no longer was a slave to losing weight. I was just living.

My Story, Part 2

To be continued…

My Story, Part One

It’s hard to know where to begin… so I guess I’ll just start from the beginning.

I’ve never been considered a skinny girl. My mom was fat. My dad was fat. All I knew was fat. I didn’t know it was fat, though, until I was older. I just thought it was normal. I remember when I was 5, my best friend’s mom was pregnant–I recognized that she had a big belly, just like my mom, and later that day when I saw my mom I asked if she was pregnant, too. I didn’t understand the hurt in her eyes at that moment, but she got very quiet and told me never to say anything like that again.

My Story, Part One

I was in 3rd grade when I first became aware of being “bigger”. I was 5 feet tall and 115 pounds. My doctor told my mom I needed to lose weight. I’m not sure that she changed anything in my diet or that she took him seriously, but I joined the basketball team that year. At my next appointment I was 104 pounds. The doctor seemed pleased, and I was too. I sprained my ankle that year and a male teacher carried me out of the gym to the lunchroom; I was surprised that he could carry me. I was “fat,” after all.

I remember always being aware of weight. We’d drive an hour to my mom’s “diet doctor” and get her “water pills”. Nothing ever worked.

I was in 4th grade the first time I was called fat. There were 2 sisters, twins, in my class who each weighed 47 and 48 pounds, respectively (I know this because we were weighed and measured in front of the whole class). I don’t remember a lot of specifics, but I know that I cried a lot that year. I would get home from school and get to the top of the stairs and just collapse and cry. The final straw was at the end of the year, when the twins’ mom was (supposedly) going to rent a limo to pick up all the girls in the class (there were maybe 8 of us). My “best friend” told me that one of the girls (the meaner of the two) told her that I couldn’t go because I was too fat to ride in the limo. I told this to my mom, and she had some choice words. She was more upset with my friend for telling me that–she called her a shit-starter and called her mom.

I’m sharing these things because it’s important to understand that there has never been a time when I haven’t been at least aware of my weight. I haven’t always been embarrassed or ashamed of it, but I’ve always been aware. I stayed a size 14-16 throughout middle and high school.

In 2004, the summer before my junior year of college, I took diet pills (Phentermine). I dropped 20 pounds in a couple of months, eating Ben & Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream and french fries from Al’s Late Night diner–oh, and my trusty blue and white-speckled pill every morning. Everyone told me how great I looked. I hadn’t even realized how much weight I’d lost. I was 5’9″ and about 175 pounds, a size 12-14–pretty normal. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like I was worthy of being described as hot. I decided to see how I did without the pills. I think I gained back all 20 plus some by the time I woke up the next day (at least, that’s how it seems when I remember it).

My Story, Part One

I tried all kinds of things over the years, and the only thing that I was certain of was that I’d feel worse at the end of each weight loss “attempt” and be heavier that I was when I started.

To be continued….