When I was a little girl I was always very tiny. At times short, at times tall, but always a pretty skinny kid.
I think I started learning to eat my feelings at 11.
Really, when left to my own devices my diet was never great. I'd come home from school and have marshmallows or mix powdered sugar into butter (not even realizing I was making frosting; I was a young genius, I tell you) and that would be my snack.
The biggest problem was that the summer before I entered 6th grade I was bored. It was too hot to go outside and play. It was too hot to even let the dog outside because I lived in hell. And I don't mean that in the playful "I hated the place where I grew up" sort of way. I mean I lived in the part of Northern California the temperature rivals summers in Arizona from late June through early September. We had a container of chocolate from Harry & David once and when the air conditioner went out all of the chocolate melted.
All of it.
And it looked like diarrhea.
Diarrhea in a plastic tub.
Another other part of the problem was that I had been a pretty active child until 5th grade when two important things happened. 1) That year I began presenting signs of the (sometimes) crippling phobic anxiety I would experience later in life. 2) That year my school began implementing P.E. programs for some of the younger classes (at that point the only grades at my elementary school that had an actual P.E. class were 7th and 8th). I found that even though I loved running when I was at home, I hated doing P.E. at school.
I imagine someone will read this and think, "but why? Running is running, right?"
No, it is not.
The problem wasn't the running. The problem was that I fucking hate being told what to do. So if you tell me I have to run... I won't. And I will have an attitude about how I'm not going to.
I went from happily being active to being bitter and sedentary. Bored, bitter, and sedentary.
I'm pretty positive this is the opposite of the effect intended by the school administrators, but hey, I was a contrary kid.
Now I'm a contrary adult. Kinda.
All summer I watched Saved by the Bell reruns and ate nachos. Because I was bored I would just keep eating. That was when I started getting a tummy.
Then I moved on to 6th grade, arguably the worst year ever. That was the first time I ever pretended to be sick so I could stay home from school. Why would I do that? Because all of my cool friends from the year before were suddenly bitches.
I was already pretty hard on myself, but that year I felt judged for breathing.
So I hid inside myself. And I ate.
This sounds like the sob story of some chronically obese woman trying to justify herself.
I didn't gain a ton of weight. Just enough to make my belly soft. It's really the lack of exercise I regret more than what I ate and how much of it I ate.
Once I started getting boobs it was like they just didn't stop. Until I was probably 18. Which is fine, I guess.I mean, I don't like fitted or strapless tops, anyway. And I really enjoy having to show bra straps if I want to wear spaghetti straps because it's 112 degrees outside.
But then when I was 17 I gained about 30 pounds from eating fried chicken strips everyday. I would buy lunch in the cafeteria and that was the cheapest thing I actually liked.
I've mentioned before that I lost it all during the strenuous breakup from my last long-term relationship, which was great... I guess it gave me something to aspire to.
My first year in college I wasn't so great at feeding myself, either. Unless it was pasta covered in cheese. And I drank far too much champagne, so I gained almost everything back.
My worst fear, realized.
And it happened so fast that I didn't notice at first. Then I was in denial and didn't do anything about it until it was too late.
So here I am, two years later, with reflux still acting up like crazy because I keep thinking I can get away with shit I can't and with pants that don't fit because I'm lazy and a procrastinator.
I would give anything to run a mile again... But I haven't done that since I was probably 10. I've spent more of my life being lazy and inactive than I did actually exercising.
Yesterday was the first day of something really difficult for me: eating well. Not just the right foods, but the right portions and at the right times. Instead of eating candy all afternoon to tide me over to dinner when I got home -- or even snack before dinner when I got home -- I ate apple slices.
I was pretty sure I was going to pass out and in case you're wondering, my stomach was upset most of the day because it's so used to being overloaded with delicious carbs and sweets that it didn't know what to do. But as a result today was the first day in a while that I felt energized when I got up. I actually felt GOOD this morning.
Then I came to work and my coworkers invited me to join them for nachos for lunch today... which I am currently smelling while dying a little bit inside.
But I brought a salad and salad I will eat.
I'm tired of the way my butt looks when I see it before getting in the shower. I'm tired of constantly feeling my belly sit on my thigh when I cross my legs at work -- and sometimes when I don't. I'm tired of not feeling well. I'm tired of feeling like the largest woman in my office (which shouldn't matter, but in my heart does). And I'm tired of imagining myself in the pants I wore at 22. I want to WEAR in the pants I wore at 22... Because I refused to get rid of all of them in the depressed hopes that I could wear them again one day.
So today is day two of twenty thousand.
Today is another success.