Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So, I'm fat

The time has come to "say goodbye, fatty!"

No seriously, I'm fat. I've been fat for a very long time, and for long before that I just thought I was fat. That means that in my mind, I have essentially been fat since I was like 12.

Like most women, I have a terrible opinion of my body. I hope that it's a realistic opinion. I've learned over the years to like myself despite a severe dislike for my shape, but that was a really difficult task. From a young age, I took my cues from the general world about my self-worth, so even though my family told me I was a good person, I figured I was never good enough because I wasn't shaped right. Or I didn't wear the right clothes. Or I was the wrong religion. Or I talked too much. Or something.

The one thing that the world told me was right bothered me. I, um, developed very early. By the age of 12 I was wearing a real bra. In fact, I never wore any kind of a training bra. I was ogled and objectified. Funny thing is that nobody told me I was beautiful except for my family. But guys - especially those a few years older than me - really liked my boobs. And I hated them. The boobs and the guys.

Since I knew that my body wasn't right, how could I possibly trust the affection of guys professing interest?

I was in my 30s before I got over that.

When I got to college I gained a lot of weight. I remember telling myself as a teenager that I would never let myself weigh 200 pounds. Yeah right. I hit 200 in college, but was so insecure that it came out as anger and bitterness.

When I was 21 I went to Italy to be a missionary for my church. You might think that, like most of the people who went to Italy for a long time (a year and a half for me), I'd gain weight. But the physical demands were so grueling that I lost 45 pounds in the first 2 months I was there. I had to safety pin all my clothes so they wouldn't fall off. The nice part was that I was eating a ton. Carbs galore! I had a large bowl of cereal for breakfast, a giant bowl of pasta for lunch, and usually a whole pizza for dinner (pizza in Italy is different from here, I promise) - plate size. Yum. And I still lost weight!

After the initial weight loss, I weighed about 180. I didn't keep losing, but I didn't gain either. I kept it off for over a year - till I came home. Then, I got a job working terrible hours (often day and night hours), started eating terribly, drove everywhere (instead of walking or biking), and within a year I was up to 280.

As you might guess, it was depressing. I blamed the shallowness of guys for my lack of dates and ended up alienating any who might have braved the fat. My bitterness and self-disgust pushed all away, but it was always their fault, not mine.

Over the next 7 or 8 years I gained about 20 more pounds, had a few relationships that broke my heart, went on a few adventures, and came to accept myself. I decided that without a great body and without a relationship, I could still enjoy my life and like who I was. I could have a fantastic personality, accepting everyone and learning from all my experiences. The process of acceptance - of myself and my life - took about 3 years. It wasn't like I could just blink and make it all better. It was a huge process.

Four years ago I was in the best place of my life, both figuratively and literally. I was living in my dream location, had a dream job, some of the best friends anyone could want. Then I had an epiphany. The purpose of life is to progress in family relationships - either the ones we're born into or the ones we create. It actually made me sad because I knew I needed to go home.

Now, home for me was not some beloved place. Sure I loved my family, but they had moved to Utah after I graduated from high school and I felt no connection to the state at all. I thought it was dry and kind of ugly (I was living in Alaska, so the comparison was pretty drastic). The people were pretty generic. The opportunities, especially with dating, were limited.

But then I got a phone call. My sister was having a difficult pregnancy and had four little kids at home who needed more attention. Would I consider coming home for a month to help out? I was the only unattached and available member of the family left. Instead of going for a month, I packed up everything and moved back to Utah.

Being generally happy with my life, I decided to do some internet dating. I didn't take it seriously, and I dated more than I had in the previous 16 years. It still took 6 months, but eventually my cousin introduced me to the man who would become my husband. He didn't care about my size because he loved me for me. It was wonderful.

Having hovered around 300 pounds for at least 5 years by then, I was a bit worried when I gained 54 pounds with my first pregnancy. It was a difficult pregnancy, and I'm sure it was a lot harder because of my weight. After WeWe (his name for himself) was born I lost about 35 pounds very quickly. And then over the next year I gained about 20 back. What the...?!

Pregnancy #2 was also very uncomfortable and I gained about 40 pounds. And again I gained. Or at least it felt that way. Baby Mia is now almost 7 months old, and I weigh 338 pounds. I feel and look terrible and I'm ashamed of myself. I have no motivation and I blame my bad habits on circumstance. Yeah, there are lots of bad influences surrounding me. Yeah, my genetics aren't really in my favor for weight. Yeah, I have little kids at home. Yeah, I can't afford any kind of a gym. Yeah, it's too hot outside to do serious exercise.

But seriously, I'm sick of being fat. I'm sick of being in pain all the time. I'm sick of sleeping terribly because I'm so big. I'm sick of asking for seat belt extenders on airplanes. I'm sick of the almost-permanent bruise on my hip from the seat belt in my car. I'm sick of having to wedge myself into movie theater seats. I'm sick of shopping in the fat sections of stores (or in specialty shops!) and not finding anything that fits anyway. I'm sick of asking people to give me special seating because my butt is too wide for normal chairs. I'm sick of worrying if I'm too heavy for furniture (sorry, Tawna, about your patio chair!). I'm sick of getting winded when I'm just a little bit active. I'm sick of having to move my fat out of the way for sex.

So here we are. I'm 5'6" and I weigh almost 340 pounds. My bra size is 44J. I am 54% body fat. How do I know? Well, yesterday I met with Dan. Dan's some kind of crazy, but I like him. He's going to whip me into shape. He promises results as long as I do what he says.

The results? I'm glad you asked. The goal is 100 pounds in 24 weeks. That's down over 18% body fat. The eventual goal is to drop over 150 pounds, but Dan promised that by the end of 24 weeks (during which we'll meet once a week) I'll know my body well enough to keep going on my own. And he'll meet with me once a month to help me get the rest of the way. This is me. Feel free to commiserate. I'll be posting my journey here, including pics. I'm sure I'll be terribly embarrassed, but I figure that will just mean more motivation. Right?


  1. I'm so excited to be able to watch your progress. You're inspiring me!

  2. 100 pounds in 24 weeks? Wow. Damn.

    I'm excited to watch you go through this. There does seem to be a wall of humiliation/desperation and discovery that you have to hit to motivate you for major change. It's all well and good to complain about whatever is the "thing" for you personally...but until you make that decision nothing "real" happens.

    You go girl!!

  3. awesome! good luck heather! you can do it!

  4. High fives for the courage to lose weight, and to do it 'publicly' so to speak. I myself can stand to lose a few pounds (or 50!). Just remember, you are not alone in your struggles. I have bookmarked your blog, so hopefully I can channel some of your motivation! Good luck on your journey, you have the world in your corner!


  5. Wait. That last picture. Is that a tatt???!!

  6. I know you will succeed in this weight loss. I've known you for a long time....you are one determined person!! You are a great strength to those around you, and now you just need to be that for yourself. I'm excited for this change in your life. I wish you all the best luck!

  7. Hurray!! I am actually so impressed with this blog. You HAVE put yourself out there... which is really hard to do, huh?

    Congratulations on being off to a great start and I'm ready to cheer you on. :)

  8. You are awesome Heather! Your attitude and example have always inspired me. Way to take what you want by the horns and go for it.

  9. Thanks all for your support. I really do appreciate it. And? You all are my inspiration. Seriously. Kristin - you too/especially.

    By the way, it is a tattoo in the last picture. I got that a while back to cover a scar that I really hated. It's not meant for anyone but me, but when I'm so big, it's "holy cleavage, Batman!" and it shows. When I'm thin, that will be hidden again. :)