Monday, February 26, 2018

Dear Food: It's not you, it's me.

I have been absolutely obsessed with my weight since I was 11 years old. I was definitely not a fat kid. I was athletic, danced hula, and my parents were very active people. Before the age of 11, life was great! I was totally adorable. Raise your hand if you've ever felt personally victimized by puberty. I woke up with my period and worse, boobs. There are two types of girls who get big boobs at a young age. There's the ones who immediately buy push-up bras and tight shirts. Then there's the ones who wear two pairs of sports bras to squish everything down as much as humanly possible. I was in the second camp and I remember my mom forcing me to wear a real bra and hating her for it (sorry mom!). Soon after my period and boobs came acne ALL OVER MY FACE (side note: I don't know who it was but someone out there lied to me about acne being a teenage thing cause I am 29 years old and fuck you). Then I grew to be 5'6 and literally have not grown an inch since. Then, after I got used to all of the above and towering over all the boys, I was suddenly fat. How did that happen?

Here's the thing though, I wasn't actually fat. I just thought I was.

I was a chubby kid, sure, but fat? No, not really. I was still within a healthy weight for my age and my height. But around 7th grade, I distinctly remember understanding the fact that I was, in fact, not skinny. And that was not okay. All the boys liked skinny girls. Skinny girls were the popular ones. Why couldn't I just be skinny? How does one become skinny?

At that age, I didn't really understand dieting. I know that my mom and aunt sometimes drank Slim Fast and would workout to Sweatin to the Oldies but I figured that's just what adult women do. You hit 18 and you begin drinking Slim Fast while watching Richard Simon in way too short of shorts. It wasn't a diet or a workout thing. It just was. In high school, I really realized that I was fat. I continued to play volleyball (which I was getting much too short for). I didn't care about what I ate and I ate everything. Then I stopped playing volleyball and continued to eat everything. I still didn't correlate dieting to losing weight. I wasn't a perfect size 2 but, in high school, the largest size I ever got to was a size 12 (for a comparison, plus size model Ashley Graham is listed as a size 14 to 16). All I knew was that I hated my size and I directly blamed my weight for every issue I had in my life:

"If I wasn't fat, my teacher would cast me in the school play."
"If I wasn't fat, that boy would like me."
"If I wasn't fat, I'd have more friends."
"If I wasn't fat, I'd get better grades and my teachers would like me more."
"If I wasn't fat, I could do all the cool things with all the cool people."

I literally let my fat be the thing that ruled my world. Since high school, I've had a handful of people call me fat (mostly on the internet). The largest pant size I ever reached was a size 16. That's it. When I got to that size and weight, it didn't take me too long to decide that I wanted to lose weight. I think that it finally kicked in because I was finally ready to do it for myself, no one else. I'm a muscular girl and I always will be. I kept telling myself that I will weigh more because muscle weighs more than fat, WHICH, it totally does but that truth can only take you so far. Once I tipped the scales slightly over 200lbs, it was time for a change and something that I did for myself.

I never, in a million years, thought that simply wanting to lose weight would have thrown me into an obsessive spiral that would take me over 5 years to crawl myself out of.

I lost 60lbs in a little over a year (and did so in a very healthy and positive way). I started with just calorie counting. I slowly added in cardio and weight lifting. And then I started my job at Poshmark and that all went to shit so let's add the Posh 15 onto that 60. Despite losing all that weight... I still constantly think that I'm fat. Constantly. Since I started losing weight in 2012, I have deprived myself from eating things I actually want to eat. Since 2012, I have had MyFitnessPal downloaded on my phone to intermittently calculate everything that I eat and drink. I have made myself throw up food many times because I felt guilty after eating too much or too poorly. I have starved myself for dinner many nights because I was already over my calorie limit for the day. I have put myself through the Cabbage Soup Diet three times in five years. I consistently weighed myself multiple times a week for five years. When I didn't lose weight, I hated myself. Hated. There were so many times I cried on the bathroom floor because I gained a few pounds. There were times where I refused to buy new clothing because I just wanted to lose 10lbs before I bought a new pair of jeans. I have left stores in tears, teetering on the edge of a mental breakdown, because I deemed myself too fat to wear anything cute. If I was going out to eat with friends, I would look at the restaurant menu beforehand so that I could calculate what I could and could not eat. And the days that I didn't eat right, I literally hated myself. Any problem in my life, I correlated with my weight. If a boy didn't like me, it was because I was fat. That was the biggest one for me. Boys didn't like me because of my weight.

I cannot believe I allowed myself to act like this.

I would develop these patterns. I would eat super healthy and good and be great and awesome and oh man, someone brought in donuts to work, I'll just have half of one. Dammit. I ate half a donut. I want to throw up. Why did I do that to myself? I'll just only have salad for lunch, it'll be fine. Shoot, now I'm hungry and I have a workout to go do but there's only chips. Ugh. Fine, I'll eat the chips. I already had half a donut so I guess I'm just going to be fat for the rest of my life, might as well eat the fucking chips.

But guys. Those chips? They tasted awful. Because every time that I took a bite, I hated myself for taking a bite. Every. Single. Time. Jesus, I couldn't even enjoy shitty food because I was too busy hating myself for actually eating said shitty food.

I have spent so much time obsessing over food. Five years of non-stop obsession. Five years of thinking that I'm not good enough because my BMI says I'm (still) fat.

And I am so incredibly exhausted guys...

I'm done.

I'm just so done with caring so much about my weight. How in the world am I going to let three little (or big) numbers rule my existence? I am so sick of going to restaurants and not eating what I want to eat because I'm scared of gaining weight. I'm sick of cutting out carbs or sugar or alcohol. I am so sick and tired of being obsessed with weighing myself. I am so tired of counting my calories and depriving myself of eating what I want to eat. I'm just so fucking tired.

Earlier this year, my best friend (HI JESS) told me she was deleting MyFitnessPal off her phone. Jessica and I have spent years mutually obsessing over our food and our weight, so for her to do this and tell me about it was HUGE. Later that day, I mentioned this to my friend Scarlett. I told her that I was thinking about deleting my app too because I was just so tired. Scarlett thought it was a fantastic idea. That got me thinking... How many other people in the world are ready to do this? How many of us are out there? How many of us just need a damn cookie?

Here's my challenge to you if you see yourself in everything I just posted. Delete the app. Eat a burger. Go for a walk. I still eat healthy, for the most part. I actually enjoy healthy foods and usually crave those. But I'm writing this post while eating a pint of Ben & Jerry's non-dairy desserts. Because motherfucking balance. I love love LOVE working out. No not at a gym cause lol I'm not that disciplined but you can catch me in a studio class at least 5 times a week and using my new favorite app, Tone It Up, any other day. I will squat you into oblivion but please, for the love of God, don't make me run. In a zombie apocalypse, I'm staying and fighting cause even the slowest zombie will be able to catch me right away.

It's almost March. That means it's been 2 months of me eating what I please and you know what? I couldn't be happier. I have no idea what I weigh and my jeans still fit. I know that I will never be a size 2. I'm learning to be comfortable at the size that I am. My middle is a little pudgy and probably always will be. That inner thigh fat ain't goin nowhere. And I am cool with that. I'll admit, I've had a few days of touch and goes, but earlier this year, I was able to wear a bathing suit without having a full on panic attack. I call that a win.

No, I'm not going to spiral into a fast food daily binge while frying all my oreos and drinking a liter of soda with a family size of chips because that sounds absolutely disgusting. I still love eating healthy and clean but I won't beat myself up for eating Taco Bell every once in a while and next time one of my coworkers brings donuts, I'm eating the whole goddamn thing.

So please, get out there, find what physical activity makes you happy and eat a slice of pizza. You can thank me later.