I was in the shower the other day (isn’t that where a lot of really good thinking goes on?) and I suddenly remembered a moment from my past that I completely blocked out. Stick with me here.
I’ve lost a major amount of weight 3 times in my past (going to make it 4 with this final loss!): about 50 pounds when I was in middle school to combat the ever-oppressive bullies that plagued my days, 30 pounds a few years after I met my now-husband (you know you’ve found the one when both of you gain weight), and 71 pounds after having my first child. This current weight loss will have me losing about 60 pounds by the time I’m through, if you’re keeping track. Anyway, when I tell people the story of my first weight loss experience, I usually just say that I started exercising and watching what I ate the summer before 8th grade, not really any more detail than that. I mean, I was bullied for being overweight and that certainly drove my decision to begin working on my health, but that’s about all I remembered about that time in my life. That is, until a couple days ago. There I was, relaxing in the shower, when I suddenly was hit with a repressed memory, a memory that is, no doubt, the reason I decided to lose weight when I was in middle school.
You know those school pictures you took a few times a year? There were pictures for yearbook and pictures for Fall and pictures for Spring, etc. Well, when I was in 7th grade, my mother paid for a set of pictures (let’s say Fall, so as a student you weren’t required to take the unless you paid for them) so I was obliged to take them. I wore a purple s’getti strap shirt over a white blouse and some khakis. I thought I looked nice. That was my favorite outfit, after all.
Fast forward to a few weeks later when the pictures came in. I received my pictures and was immediately disgusted with them. Not because of my face, or because I thought I looked funny, but because of my stomach. The picture was just long enough to reveal three big, fat rolls made all the more visible by the purple color of my shirt. I couldn’t believe it. Up until that point, I knew I was bigger than my peers, but I didn’t think I was “fat”. My perception of myself changed in the split of a second.
My friends all wanted a picture. That’s what girls do, they share their school pictures and put them in the front of their binder. I was so disgusted with mine that I told everyone I wasn’t allowed to give out the pictures until my parents had seen them. Truth is, those pictures never even made them home. I threw them away in the dumpster outside of school. I threw away my mother’s money and I threw away any evidence that I ever looked so fat. That night, I went home, cried, and began doing crunches and jumping jacks while locked away in my bedroom. That weekend, I researched how to diet and began a journey to lose weight and be happier with myself.
I had forgotten all about those silly pictures, but boy what an impact they had on me! They were the sole reason I decided to get healthy back in the day. I really wish I had saved just one to remind myself of that time in my life. I would honestly still have it posted on my wall to this day just to look at and remember how unhappy I was and how far I’ve come, even if I did pack on some pounds while pregnant.
One of the reasons I am so determined to get back to my pre-pregnancy healthy, in-shape body is because I want to be a good role model for my daughters. I know firsthand what it’s like to be self-conscious and feel fat and ugly, and that’s something I never want my daughters to feel as long as I can help it. If I can show them that eating healthy and exercising is fun and that people are beautiful no matter how they look, I’ll say I’ve won.