My Story. Part 2 – Mom Was Right. I Got Fat.
This is Part 2, of my 3-part story about my personal struggles with health and weight gain. If you haven’t already read Part 1 – I Gained Over 30 Pounds in 1 Year, click here to read it first.
Personal Note: In this story I use the word “fat”. I use this word because I am telling a true story about something that impacted my life. I am not suggesting that someone who is XXX pounds is “fat”. This story is about my personal experience, and the events/words that helped me overcome certain obstacles. I trust my readers will understand that certain words were not chosen to judge or label, but rather to paint a picture of how we all have unique experiences that motivate us to face reality and make positive changes.
My Mom is Always Right
My mom came to visit me a year after I had moved away from home. Mom is a very honest person. She is upfront, but she is never rude nor would she ever say anything to hurt anyone’s feelings. So, when she looked at me and said, “you got fat!,” I was shocked. How could she say such a thing?
When our visit was over, her words, “you got fat!”, haunted me for a long time. I tried to wrap my head around it. Was she right? Did I get fat? I was in denial and I preferred my Doctor’s words; I was “athletic”, not fat.
During this time I was still doing more physical activity in a day than most people do in a month. In fact I was so physically active, with sports, I couldn’t justify nor did I have time to go to the gym. I thought I was eating well based on what I knew back then. The reality was that I knew nothing about nutrition.
At this point in my life my knowledge was sadly limited to what I read in my roommates Men’s Health magazines which was full band-aid quick fix advice. Over the next year I used one quick fix strategy after another and managed to lose 10 pounds. Unfortunately, ten pounds didn’t appear to make any difference whatsoever.
I finally decided to confront the reflection of my naked body. I had been avoiding this moment for a very long time. I got out of the shower, stood in front of a full length mirror, in daylight, and looked at my body head to toe. I even mustered up the courage to use a second handheld mirror to get a view from every possible angle. I stood sideways, trying to determine where my ass ended and my leg started, but I couldn’t tell. I squished my thigh with my hand and gasped at all the dimples. I was horrified. I had cellulite . . . lots of it. I looked squishy, soft, and bloated; nothing like the athlete the doctor had me believe I was. I thought back to my Mom’s visit a year ago and realized she was right—she always is—I got fat!
Now that I had accepted that I got fat I started to aggressively apply as many quick fixes as I could at one time. I continued to limit alcohol, I tried to eat less overall by cutting back on unnecessary snacks. I started to become aware of calories on food labels, gravitating towards low-fat options, but I was still eating mainly processed food.
I used this quick fix method over the next two years. My weight was a roller coaster. It would swing anywhere from 127-145lbs in a matter of months. I had two wardrobes; my bigger clothes and my not so big clothes, which I cycled through repeatedly. I had led myself to believe that this type of weight fluctuation was “normal”. According to the fitness magazines it was. You know the articles: “Lose Your Winter Weight. Drop 25 Pounds Before Summer”. I continued to seek advice in these magazines. I would drape them over my lap (so I didn’t have to look at my cellulite) and read them while I was on the toilet. Speaking of which, I was now spending more time on the toilet and less time doing the things I loved.
I had hoped that once I lost some weight, I’d start feeling better. Maybe my digestive issues would improve, and maybe the pain I felt throughout my body would go away. But it didn’t. I had a haunting feeling that something was really wrong, something I had been ignoring for a long time.
I had been making frequent visits to the Doctor complaining of headaches, stomach issues, severe joint and body pain, chronic strep throat and bladder infections, and PMS. My Doctor continued to prescribe prescription drugs, which included repeated rounds of antibiotics. This didn’t seem out of the ordinary to me. I had been prescribed antibiotics on a regular basis since I was a child.
During one of my regular trips to Doctor he voiced his concern about my frequent visits and symptoms. He asked if anyone in my family had Fibromyalgia. I replied “Yes, my Aunt does”. He said, “that makes sense; it’s genetic”. There were those words again “genetics”, my Doctor back home had always blamed my health issues on genetics. So, we scheduled another appointment to proceed with a more concrete diagnosis.
I went home to digest what the doctor had said. I neither liked nor wanted to believe what he suggested. I was angry but I was also desperate to get some answers: at this stage of my life my I was only looking at mainstream fitness magazines and my Doctor for answers.
Like most things in life, the answers are usually right in front of us. Sometimes we just need someone or something to smack some sense into us in order to see it. Well, a solid smack to the head was what I got. Stay tuned for Part 3; how a traumatic brain injury and an accident that should have killed me, changed me and my health, forever.