Well, not quite. When most people say they are at high school weight, it indicates a certain skinniness. I've never been that skinny. Slender yes, skinny no. And as the older sister of three sisters who have always appeared skinnier than me, I've had lifelong body issues. Even when I was in the best shape of my life (high school) I didn't see myself as skinny. My body issues were never enough to driving me to eating disorders. I like food too much to be anorexic and I hate the stomach flu too much to be bulimic. And that is not to downplay those very serious eating disorders. I could have very easily have been one of those girls (or boys) who succumbed to an eating disorder. I am a control freak, I don't share my deepest feelings very easily, I moved in 6th grade and the summer before my junior year which seriously disrupted my support system of friends twice, and like most teenage girls, I hated the way I looked. The reality is that my love for food and disdane for puke is what kept me from being one of many secretly hiding their struggle with food from their friends and family.
My struggle didn't go away when I left for college. In fact, my struggle with weight only got worse. I hit my lowest weight my senior year of high school. I was happy with myself and I honestly felt relatively skinny for the first time, well, ever. But then came late nights of studying and a campus cafeteria that served ice cream and the best deserts ever. Convinced I was shrinking my clothes in the campus washers and dryers, I stepped on the scale when I went home at Thanksgiving. Nope, Freshmen 15 strikes another victim. I returned to school with a renewed determination to work out and lose the weight. But I was 18. It's a lot easier when you are 18. I managed to keep it that way for over a year, then an awesome semester in London changed all that.
It wasn't just the carb loading. Yeah, in Europe there is a lot of really good bread to eat and the fish and chip shop was just down the street. We walked a lot. In fact, we walked everywhere, so I should have been getting enough exercise. What really destroyed my waistline was that while everyone else was enjoying the lowered drinking age by drinking local brews I discovered that liquor with fruit juice is amazing! At least, to my 20 year old self it was amazing. It also added A LOT of calories to my diet. When I returned to the States I discovered that I had gained at least 10 pounds.
It was weight that never went away. I kept working out. I was pretty faithful about it. But I also turned 21 and then eventually moved off of campus and was cooking for myself. By the time I started trying to get pregnant several years later and then started hormone treatments when it just wasn't happening, I gained more weight. By the time I was pregnant I was definitely not where I wanted to be with my weight. I started working out again after our daughter was born, but I still didn't lose all the weight. Then I got pregnant again and once again I was gaining more pounds, this time concerned that by the time I gave birth I would hit a number from which I would never psychologically recover.
Then my husband got serious about losing weight for his company's weight loss challenge and he encouraged me to work on it with him. He knew I wasn't happy with my weight a year after our son was born and three years after our daughter was born. So, with my brand new iPhone 5 loaded with apps and the new Fitbits that we purchased together, I got serious. I set my first goal (15 pounds) and then started tracking my calories with My Fitness Pal. What I got was a dose of reality.
My husband had been telling me for years that I had been sabotaging him. Feeding him the wrong foods and encouraging him to eat food late at night when he shouldn't have been. Yes, he is a grown man and can take care of himself, but he was right. I had NO idea how much I was eating. I knew I liked food a lot. What I didn't realize was that I had a slight addiction to it. It was an addiction that had kept me slightly overweight (according to my BMI) since before we got married. Once I started tracking and seeing how much I was eating, I was able to cut back. And I really cut back. While my plan had me at losing one pound a week, there were some weeks I lost more than that. Oh, I hit frustrating plateaus, but I didn't stay on them and in less than five months I hit my adjusted goal of 23 pounds. Now I vacillate between 22-25 pounds lost, but I'm happy where I am. At least, I'm happy with my weight. I have other body issues now, like my mommy badge of honor (a slight baby belly that needs some serious toning) and the fact that I lost at least a whole cup size in the process, but I'm healthy and a good example for my kids, especially my daughter. And I'm also proud to announce that my husband lost at least 25 pounds (and second place at work) in the process as well, and I continue to encourage him to not give up on it. In fact, we both weigh less now than when we got married.
So one of my goals for 2013 is complete. Now I just have to maintain it. I won't be slipping into a bikini anytime soon (I said I still have that baby belly to consider) but I'm very happy with my shrinking pants size and the fact that I have a lot more energy with which to chase around my two little monsters. Like so many women I will continue to struggle with my body image, and as the clock ticks towards 40, I know that my body will most likely rebel against me at some point. But hey, 40 is the new 30 now, right? At least I hope to treat it that way and I look forward to many more healthy years to come with my husband and babies.