Dear Old Body,
As I continue to adjust to my new physique at a stable 135 pounds, I am constantly reminded of how poorly I treated you for too many years. As someone who dealt with some major depression (and still feels the effects of it sometimes), I coped the only way I knew how at the time- with food, and too much of it. The places where your skin tore and stretch marks began to appear are still here as reminders that you were once obese. The collagen couldn’t keep up with the caloric demands put on it, and you have proof of that. It still makes you very insecure when anyone sees you in a swimsuit or much less. But instead of the pounds covering your body as a shield and wall against the world outside, you’re left to fend for yourself. You’ve been doing pretty well with that, especially when surrounded with the most kind and supportive people. They are able to see the beauty within and embrace the stretch marks anyway, simply because they add more character.
Old body, I apologize especially for what I put your stomach and digestive system through. Having one ice cream sandwich from time to time is a treat and should be celebrated; having 8 in one sitting was a fireball to the gut, and even after all the wrappers, I was never able to find the happiness I was desperately searching for in the bottom of the cardboard box. It was nowhere near my fridge or freezer at all, but within myself. OB, I kept so many layers of protection over you to keep others from getting too close, for fear of being hurt, being rejected, and being forgotten, like you had been from your father. With each bite of Kraft Mac ‘n Cheese, you were adding more pieces to the puzzle, more bricks to the wall. With tears streaming down your red cheeks, you were looking for a way out. For years, I put you through treacherous bouts of IBS and would rely on laxatives to somehow help. But those only put a bandaid on the real issue- my horrible eating habits. Your stress levels were so high for years on end, and adding all that processed crap did nothing but injure you further. I am sorry for that. I didn’t care enough to eat food to help fuel you, give you the energy and strength you so badly needed- I was always in search of that quick fix and quick high to help ease the pain in that moment. So much sugar and so much fat. Your ever-familiar size 14 jeans that you wore for years and felt awful in, increased to a size 16 shortly after you met Chris. Fried chicken wings, onion rings, and baked goods you made for his family stuck very easily to your 5’9 frame. It was no matter, though, for Chris’ family wasn’t into healthy eating and the only green and orange items in the kitchen were M&Ms, which you always helped yourself to, to help ease dating jitters.
The story doesn’t end there, though, OB. Thankfully, there’s a victor in this tale. It was you. It was always you. With those size 16 jeans came your last straw. Years and years of having to shop in L and XL and you were suddenly having to grab a 1x. How embarrassing. Trips to the Gap and Old Navy were traded in for a new location- Lane Bryant. Though the clothes were fashionable and trendy, you HATED that your body was continuing to expand. That was it. It was finally time to take charge, and boy, did you. Uneducated at first, you started with a diet- Weight Watchers, and learned how to negate calories. The pounds began to come off quickly- very quickly, and before you knew it, you had lost 50 pounds. But then the scale STUCK and no matter how well you stayed on your Points and how much you worked out (up to 2 hours a day, 6 days a week), it just wouldn’t budge. And soon enough, you actually began to GAIN the weight back. Having no education from your leaders about true nutrition, Old Body, your energy levels were at their lowest. Depressed again and desperate, you continued with this diet madness for too long.
In June 2010, you saw another infomercial again for the P90X program. Your stomach turned with the intense look of it- you thought that in NO WAY could you even attempt such a program. Boy, were you right- but only for so long! I am so thankful you decided to go all in and try it anyway. Those first two weeks were truly hellish, and each muscle in your body was sore, but in the best way imaginable. It was as though they were beginning to wake up for the first time in your life. With the cleaned up diet (removing all TV dinners, Weight Watcher endorsed baked goods), full of fresh produce, lean proteins, healthy fats, and Shakeology, you were well-equipped for the next 90 days to follow. The IBS you struggled so long with was subsiding and you were (dare I say it) regular for the first time in your life. No one likes to talk about it, but the relief you feel from being regular is MANDO HUGE. You no longer had that 3pm energy crash and you sure weren’t reaching for processed junk food anymore for a pick me up. You didn’t need it.
With the increased strength training, your body was shedding FAT this time, and not just “weight.” You began to understand the enormous difference between the two. You were suddenly attempting crazy workout moves like pushups (on your knees first, then on your toes, then declines and military style), increasing your weight load on dumb-bells, and eventually pull-ups (something you only dreamed of). As the time progressed, you began to break away from past inner dialogue and replaced it with words like “strength, hope, power, determination, work” and all Tony’isms, which you still find charming and hysterical. You were being taught about true fitness from the greatest of the great, Tony Horton. Although there were days you wanted to just give up (who would notice anyway?), you stuck it out, you gritted your teeth, and grumbled through the pain. To say you left blood, sweat, and tears on your carpet is a complete understatement. You also left the past image you had for yourself and your life ahead. Your body had serious tone and strength, and your future was brighter and healthier than ever before. You felt GREAT!
I keep photos of you around, Old Body, to remind me of how far I’ve come. Although we are the same person, I feel as though I have a new identity completely. You are now sharing your story with others, building them up, teaching them what you know, and shedding light on the truth. Because of that infomercial and you taking that first chance for change, you are now in your own place, working from home and covering all of your financial reasons. You are capable of SO much more than you ever thought possible. It’s all about breaking free of the leftovers of that shy, awkward girl, and walking into the new woman you’ve become. Time to shed that ball and chain for a new pair of wings.
Keep your head held high,