I’ve always been a little insecure about my size. I’m 5’9.5″ I have broad shoulders, and a small-ish head. When I imagine myself, I see the shrunken head safari-man in the last scene of “Beetlejuice.” I know it’s a horrid exaggeration of my reality. I acknowledge that, but it doesn’t change the way I think of myself.
In college, I had an overall smaller friend. I’d make self depreciating comments, referring to myself as “the fat girl.” The thing is, I wasn’t fat. I wasn’t as thin as Cindy Crawford, I remember comparing my weight with hers. I had a hearty appetite. But, compared to my smaller friends, in my mind, I was massive.
My weight has fluctuated for years. I don’t love to exercise. It used to be something we naturally achieved as kids by playing outside and riding our bicycles. The thought of intentionally working up a sweat repulses me. I’ve eaten when stressed. And certainly when celebrating. I’ve eaten out of boredom. Somewhere in my lifetime I figured out that food, particularly sweets, provide solace. Once when I was at the doctor’s office and we were discussing a recent weight gain, I said, “I’ve been treating myself well.” And she looked at me skeptically, “But have you, really?” She was right.
Treating myself well, literally, would not have lead me to the climbing cholesterol and scale numbers. This past year I’ve really internalized the pandemic and my father’s cancer diagnosis. I actually became frozen: physically, creatively, and emotionally. I wasn’t moving, and I wasn’t caring for myself. But now, it’s time. I deserve better. I’m making a come back!
I’ve started to read labels carefully. I’m avoiding certain oils and any added sugars. My weight is dropping rapidly, and I am gratified to get results so quickly. I know in another 20 pounds it will be a thrill to purchase new clothes, or dig out old ones from the back of the closet. But then, how will I fill the voids that I filled with food?
I have to say good-bye to the fat girl inside of me. She was afraid to begin a journey of wellness. She was terrified she wouldn’t know how to feed her family following stricter guidelines. She couldn’t imagine a life without peanut M&M’s or chocolate chunk cookies. She preferred to remain scared, idle on the couch, watching other people’s dream and lives shake out, whether real or fiction on television and on social media.
Well, now I’m scared of the numbers I see. And it’s time to break up with the dead weight of the fat girl within. She doesn’t have a very robust view for the future. She can only offer declining health and limiting opportunities. Staying with her would eventually bring down the walls around me, and I would be too encumbered to save myself from the devastation.
As I begin my wellness journey, I feel lighter. I’ve named little tasks that I deeply enjoy to bring me fulfillment. I will combat my fears and insecurities with truth and reality. I will repurpose my boredom into fun recipe finding adventures where I try to find the “Jump to Recipe” button as fast as humanly possible. I will remind myself that my strength is within me, and not in the approval of others. I will replace food with laughter at celebrations. I will seek little accomplishments to keep the sadness away. I will replace self loathing with self love.
Oh, good-bye my inner fat girl. You’ve not served me well. I dismiss you, thus setting myself free to begin a new and wonderful adventure.