Overweight in a Weight-limit Society

I ran tonight. Hard. Heavy breathing. Thick, sticky air. Sweat slithering down my face within the first minute. Legs aching. Heart pounding: thug-tap-tap. Half mile, nonstop. My shirt clung to my back. And as I rounded the corner to my halfway point, I allowed myself a break that my body craved. I shouldn’t have stopped, but my lungs were on fire.

As I walk out this stretch, I begin to think: why am I so obsessed with my weight? I wasn’t always this way…

My obsession started in middle school. As a girl from a low-income household, and living in the the country on top of it, I wasn’t the most popular around. I had a few friends. But more so than friends, I had many students my age that intimidated me, and a few girls who taunted and ridiculed me because of my clothing style: big hand-me-down clothes that were not exactly new looking. I’ve even had a few people call me “fat” or a few other mean names because honestly I wasn’t a size 1. I struggled. A lot. Struggled with eating food. I purposely skipped breakfast, and then forced myself to skip lunch claiming I was too full from breakfast.Then when I got home I’d eat a very, minuscule supper. No one knew. It was my personal well-hidden secret.

It took me an entire school year to finally overcome my obsession. Eighth grade went by fairly well, I managed to eat more. I thought I had overcome completely the obstruction that was blocking me to a happy teenage life. Then high school rolled around, and my obsession only grew. I spent one summer, avoiding soda and sweet things, running and walking at least 2 miles a day, sleeping in a sweatshirt every night (yes, it was hot!), and when I watched TV I did so while using an elliptical. I shed several pounds and inches, and was probably a size 10/11, but I was never satisfied with the number on the scale, it was always “too high.”

I slowly overcame my problem with the help of very good, intimate friends, and learning how to love myself the way I was because Jesus loves me no matter what. As I went through college, I completely was lost in a non-judgmental sea    ok, not completely judgement-free zone…but students would talk to me based on classes or personal interest, not many knew my background, not many cared that I was overweight. Honestly, college was a eye opening scene, as students came in all shapes, sizes, and heights. And most strived for one thing: to be accepted and to make friends.

And then, as I came home throughout my final college year, my mom would hint around at how being fat is unhealthy. And I’d have to correct her and say, “Being fat does not necessarily mean that one is unhealthy.” And I’d feel like I was like a potato all over again. Why are Americans so concerned about one’s weight? Why does a simple number on a scale matter? Why aren’t people more concerned about children who think they need to diet to feel adequately accepted because they watch models that are only accepted as size zero. Why aren’t people more concerned about those who aren’t “fluffy” that binge and purge because they’re told if they get “too fat” that they’re imperfect. Why is our society a weight-limit society. Why do we have to be 5’11” and 100 pounds, and why do guys have to be 6’0″ with a six pack and muscles to boot. Why can’t our society and culture circle a “come as you are” mentality, and be okay with all body types.

As I step on the scale that has shown I haven’t fluctuated much in the past month except maybe losing two pounds just to gain it back, I always cringe thinking “Ugh, why can’t I be like so-and-so?” But then God gently reminds me that if I weren’t me, I wouldn’t be an original. It’s good to be healthy, and to eat right    not being gluttonous    but it’s not good to over-think and over-analyze every tedious detail about weight and all that related jazz.

I might be overweight, I might even be class 1 obese on the BMI scale, but I’m me. I’m willing to be used by God, no matter what size I am.

Peace. #bless

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One Hot Run

It’s hot out. I feel the sun rays creep on the back of my neck as I head for the trail covered in a forested shade. I look at my phone and click on my Nike+ app, and press “start run.” Breathe in. Get ready. “Chief!” And we start our third summer run.

IMG_1915Chief does his usual habits where he runs ahead and sniffs around in the woods before he comes back to the trail to give me that look that says, “Oh c’mon, Pokey” and then he turns around and heads off. “Thanks, you box of cheese” I think to myself (I call my dog random food names sometimes, don’t judge).

As we come to the field, I slow down to a walk, and we can gaze at all of the beauty before us. So many pretty yellow flowers, and long green grass that often tries to trip me. Chief makes a quick pit stop to mark his territory before he trots forward and pounces in the yellow flowers.

I managed to run a total of half mile on the run, not all in one stride. As we came to the halfway point, I stopped to catch my breath, and let Chief sniff around in the woods. I gaze at the two big Oak trees that once held a tree stand years and years ago. It was built before I was born and deteriorated over time until about 5 years ago it completely crumbled; now only the few steps nailed in the tree remain.

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Thunder can be heard grumbling in the north as dark gray-blue clouds are swiftly overtaking the blue and sunny skies.

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“Storm’s coming in faster than I thought, Chief.” He turns his head to me. I whistle. He comes. I walk the majority of this field because the grass is very tall and thick. And this field is mostly uphill until it reaches a path through a small wooded section and then it comes to the first field (the one where Chief was pouncing in the yellow flowers).

IMG_1944It’s so weird to see dark clouds to the north, and blue skies in the south. But that’s how God made nature. Unpredictable but amazing.

As Chief and I made it back through the first field, and we enter the main trail back to the house, I decide to run nonstop for as long as I could. At this point, we’re both hot, I’m sticky with sweat, and Chief isn’t as energetic as he was in the beginning, but we both have a sweet victory in mind. He usually sticks closer to my side at this point in our run, which makes it my favorite part, because now Chief is going the same pace as me and it doesn’t make me feel that slow. Our breathing is even. His paws matching my feet. When I make it halfway down the path, I come to a stop (yes, again!). Chief slows as well.

It gets me thinking about how we have such a partnership. As Forest Gump said, “We’re like peas and carrots” (yes, ironic I use a Forest Gump quote and not the “Run, Forest, run” one either). But Chief and I are really like peas and carrots. We go together so perfectly, that if there is only one of us it feels a little off balance. We aren’t meant to be without each other   yes he is my best and most precious friend that I could ask for. He listens to me (most of the time), and all I have to do is feed him and give him water and he will love me unconditionally. And he helped through my troubled teen years.

God didn’t just bless me with a dog, he blessed me with a great running partner and a lifelong companion.

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We’ve lost some weight…
Chief: 1.8 pounds
Me: 2.3 pounds

One dog and an Old Pair of Running Shoes

ChiefMy dog Chief had an appointment with the vet last week. A few days prior to his visit he got loose and took off with our other dogs, Buddy and Lizzy, and when he came back his back right foot was gimpy. And then the next day he wouldn’t move, he was just laying there like a lump on my bed, and when I tried to get him to go outside he just continued to lay there. I pulled on his collar, and he started growling. Panic set in. Was he in pain? I knew he needed to get his Lyme’s Disease vaccination…so I decided to let him rest, and I started doing some research about the disease. I concluded that if he would have contracted the disease, it wouldn’t have set in so soon. Pshew. A sigh of relief. But I called the vet to set up an appointment for the vaccination.

When we rolled into the driveway of the vet’s office, Chief looked all excited. Probably an overwhelming sensation of the many scents from many pets. We got out of the van and Margaret, one of the vets, greeted us with her happy-tired smile. She often looked tired from many hours of work, and few hours of sleep.

“Let’s get Chief on the scale before we give him his shot.” So I walked him over to the scale, and he walked on it like a pro. He weighed in at a whopping 58.2 pounds! Yikes!

“Chief, it’s time to start losing weight, you Lump!” He looks at me as if to say, “Psh. You should be talking.” Although I know he really doesn’t care what I look like, I knew that was a sign that we both could use more exercise to lose some unnecessary ‘lumps.’

DSCF4636So that very evening, I slipped on an old pair of running shoes, grabbed my water bottle, and we went for our first run of the summer. It was hard! The hills were killer. But, as we reached the half mile point, I felt really good about it. Sure we didn’t run the entire time, well let me rephrase, I didn’t run the entire time, but it was a good run. I felt successful. See, the definition of success doesn’t necessarily mean we ran the fastest or the longest, but it means that we did OUR best that we could! With a little time we’ll get faster and have the ability of running more than just a half mile or just a quarter of a mile   maybe we’ll run 2 miles!

Here we are at 58.2 and *** pounds, and soon we’ll hit our target weight! Praise God for the strength!

Shake it off

If there is one thing I do not enjoy doing, it is talking about me. I never have anything to say about myself other than, “I’m weird.” Because in reality, I am weird. So I want to talk about something that girls (and boys) can relate to: weight.

Let me start from the beginning, where I first learned that weight and looks and all that stuff can be important.

In fifth grade, I was the biggest kid in my class. Height-wise and weight-wise. At 5’0″ I towered over my classmates. Literally. In fifth grade, I weighed about 150#. Yes, I was like a weed purposely planted in a pot of miracle grow. I received water everyday, and the right amount of sunshine. When I started 6th grade, my miracle grow lost it’s nutrients, and the watering can turned dry      most of my classmates had shot up over the summer, and were now taller than me….today? Yeah if the 14 other students and I had to line up by height, I would be the last in line. In 6th grade, I learned very quickly that being my size is “abnormal.”

It didn’t bother me that much (at first), because I had a few people who I considered to be my best friends. But every now and then, I would look at myself in my bedroom mirror, and yearn to be…thinner. I soon struggled with constantly starving myself, and binge eating (because I was sooo hungry from not eating…) It started out small, but then the “problem” turned into an obsession. The obsession turned into a habit. My habit formed my thoughts, which fed into my obsession. The cycle kept turning.

I didn’t tell anybody how I felt, well not outright anyways. I would say things to my friends like  “You’re so pretty just the way you are,” and then in the same sentence tear myself down by calling myself “fat.”

Sometime in my 8th grade year, I had a girl tell me that I should learn to love who I am now, and love my body the way it is, because someday it won’t be the same. I will never be the same size that I was at the moment, and I will never be the same person I was at the moment.

So right before I entered high school I promised myself that I would be done with hating myself. I would accept who I was, and what I looked like. I honestly felt better about myself, and throughout my freshman year I don’t think I cared what the number said on my scale. To be honest, I don’t know when I gained weight or lost it, because I only weighed myself twice. And both times were during gym.

Throughout my high school career, I believe I stayed at a constant weight. I probably fluctuated during winter time, or when I had gym. During the summer of 2009, I did go on a crazy weight-loss kick and believe I lost around 20#. That was also the summer I chopped off nine inches of my hair. It was a tad bit higher than my shoulders…

But then as I started walking on my college path, I ate normal, but I exercised less. Way less. I gained the stereotypical “freshman fifteen.” It got worse after my freshman year, because I drank a lot more soda. I won’t blame it on my roommate who drinks only soda. I blame it on myself for not listening to myself, and for taking the easy way out. Trust me, buying a case of soda is easier than trying to drink healthier. City water is gross. We only had a mini-fridge that only has so much room. I don’t believe in bottle water (that’s a whole ‘nother rant…).

Needless to say, that after my third year of college, I gained a lot more weight than I ever wanted to. But I am also bound and determined to lose the weight. I started my weight-loss goal I would say officially at the beginning of May. It was when the week of finals were taking place. I remember clearly, because although I had time, and I really only sat in my chair typing up a million papers (because I didn’t have finals, only papers…), I didn’t eat anything. For about 2 or 3 days straight, I only drank water, and water. I might of had a granola bar or something…That’s not exactly a healthy way to try and lose weight, but my depression level was full.

But the following week, I really started pushing myself to eat better, and to snack often. I drank a lot of water. Now I usually drink water or juice, although soda has a way of creepin’ into my life. Mountain Dew always hits my weak-spot. Especially Baja Blast! I still try to snack throughout the day, but as I work an 8 hour shift, I don’t get a break or a chance to sit down unless I have to use the bathroom.

I’ve lost about 20# so far this summer. 15 of those pounds are when I moved back home and started working again. 20# is a great start, and I’m so over-joyed to be 20# lighter! I can feel the difference, I really can.

Twenty pounds down, many more to go. As Taylor Swift put it, “I’m just gonna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake…shake it off!”