Where was the happiness being overweight?

There’s a big movement in embracing your body, fat is beautiful, you should feel empowered not ashamed of your obesity, and it goes on.

I never found the beauty and power in being overweight and I wonder how many others feel the same way? Maybe they don’t want to admit it because they feel powerless to change their weight due to an illness or injury. It could be a simple crutch; they don’t want to give up the food and do the hard work it’ll take to stop being fat.

Let’s be honest – it’s just ‘easier’ to be obese. You can eat and drink anything you want without thinking about fat, sugar, calories and carbs. You don’t have to schedule in time for workouts, running, yoga, pilates, etc. You get to develop a relationship with your couch and know every episode of every tv show plus all the new movies.

It’s hard trying to not be fat. You have to miss out on all the ‘fun’ food and drinks; no pizza, burgers, chips, candy, soda, nachos, funnel cake, Pumpkin Spice Latte, White Mocha Latte, basically any kind of Starbucks Latte and anything you’d find at a theme park, carnival, State Fair or most American food establishments. Then there is the working out part with the running, sit-ups, circuits, pilates, ultimately any way you can find to move and twist your body until you are sore and smell horrible.

Trust me, I completely understand why being overweight seems like the more desirable option. That doesn’t even take into account genetics, illness or injury complications that add to this issue.

I was average size my entire life until I got pregnant in 2002. I never knew the struggle to not find ‘cute’ clothes, I felt sexy, loved how I looked and admittedly used it to my advantage on more than one occasion.

In 2002 I became pregnant with my first child and I gained over 100 pounds; going from 120s to around 250 pounds by my son’s 1st birthday. I experienced HORRIBLE postpartum depression on top of that which was made worse by all the extra weight. I couldn’t fit into any of my pre-pregnancy clothes and we didn’t have a lot of money so I pretty much lived in my maternity clothes and scrubs from my hospital job.

I would eat an entire package of chocolate chip cookie dough everyday along with a 1 pound bag of Raisinets. I went through the Family size Ruffles multiple times a week that I used to scoop sour cream out of the pints that never lasted long. I could eat a large pizza by myself and sometimes two. I drank my weight in Coke and Big Red. I went to Burger King so often the staff knew me by name.

By 2007 my life was radically different; I was divorced, homeless and unemployed. I couldn’t afford my previous food habit anymore since I had no money so consequently my weight dropped back to the 130s-140s just from starvation. I was in college thanks to student loans so I scrounged around buildings for any food that was left out; if you got to certain places in time there’d be free donuts, muffins, etc out for students.

By late 2008 I was with my now husband of 10 years, employed, living in a great apartment overlooking the lake with ducks and pregnant which would start my second battle with weight issues. I gained over 100 pounds again just because I felt like I ‘deserved’ to eat anything I wanted after having to go without for such a long time.

In 2009 I became pregnant for a 3rd and last time. I had put on so much weight in my previous pregnancy that instead of gaining weight during this one I actually lost it but never dipped under 200.

Between 2008-2017 I fought a losing battle with my body. I would use diet drugs, try to be careful with what I ate, tried working out, seemingly everything but could never get below 190s and most of the time I was still well over 200.

I spent years feeling sick and depressed, like I had no choice but to accept that I would forever be obese and needed to try accepting the idea that ‘fat is beautiful’ but I was never happy. I hated going to theme parks with my family because I had gotten so big sitting in some of the rides was painful and the first time I had to get out because the bar wouldn’t close properly due to my size I nearly broke down in front of everyone. I hated shopping for clothes. I hated every time I tried something on the way I looked in the mirror, having to try on clothes that accentuated my fat as I searched for the right size, having to forgo getting the ‘cute’ clothes that didn’t fit right or the way sales staff would give me ‘that look’ in certain stores as if they thought I was the dumbest person ever to think anything in their store would look right on me. I hated having no energy and not being able to play with my kids.

This past Spring and Summer of 2017 I saw multiple doctors because I kept getting sicker and I didn’t want to live like this anymore. I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder and apparently had a system wide infection that was so bad it had been weakening my heart; that wasn’t great because I already have Wolff-Parkinson White Syndrome. A scan also showed the infection had gone deep into my jaw bone and it was heading toward my cranial bones. They were worried it was a tossup what was going to kill me first; my heart or the infection reaching my brain. Without surgery I was given a year or less to live.

I finally had some answers for why my weight had been such an issue. My whole body had been disintegrating for years which zapped any energy I had and increased my depression so there was no motivation to work out. I tried exercising, I did a 10K once with my husband (mostly walked), but my heart hurt so bad I was constantly worried I’d have a heart attack. My body wasn’t processing food or vitamins properly and I was filling it with junk anyways.

I had surgery the last week of June. At that time I weighed over 200 pounds and was a size 16. Thanks to that scare I got serious about changing my diet which allowed me to lose enough weight I got my energy levels up and improved my mental health which allowed me to start working out. As of September 2017 I am down to a size 8.

I still have a ways to go before I get down to a weight level my doctors say is healthy for my frame and will help relieve the remaining pressure off my heart. Yesterday I walked for 30 minutes and biked for 15 to hit 5 miles total and for the first time in YEARS my heart didn’t hurt.

I feel better about myself. I love that I can fit into clothes I haven’t been able to in 15 years. I love the energy I have which allows me to play with my kids and do stuff I have never been able to before.

I have a medical condition that led to my weight gain and kept me there but with proper medical help, diet and exercise I managed to lose it. I look forward to the continued weight loss and becoming healthier everyday as I chronicle my weight loss journey on social media.

I want people to see that even if you have every ‘reason’ in the world to be obese you don’t have to stay that way. You have options now: your health is your choice. For me -being fat wasn’t beautiful, it was a death sentence.

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