I started wearing plus-sized clothing in elementary school. At 12 years old I owned my first pair of “goal jeans”. I had always halfway joked that I was “big boned”, but at 238lbs during my senior in high school it was pretty evident that I was much more than thick. I was obese. I was hopeless. And I commonly used food as an emotional crutch.
I remember the day that I ordered 2 Big Mac hamburgers and a biggie-sized fry, accompanied by a large sugary coke to wash it all down. I ate every single bite of that gargantuan meal, and afterward I had even bragged that I was capable of consuming that much. Thinking back to a moment like that makes me so sad for my teenage self.
My eating habits were completely reckless throughout my youth. I ate senselessly a lot of the time. I would regularly order a fast food meal on-the-go and then discreetly add a biscuit to my breakfast meal or an additional burger to my lunch/dinner meal. This meant that I could gorge the extra item in private and consume the acceptable amount in front of others. I engaged in these eating rituals frequently.
There are no horrific events that happened to me as a child that can explain why food was my emotional crutch. I like food - plain and simple. I love food, actually. And for a long time I was completely obsessed with eating. Though my food obsession took over my obese physique, I was still super active in sports, specifically fast-pitch softball. It would eventually secure me a college scholarship that punched my one way ticket outta town. I was headed to Texas, y’all!
I was always an athlete. Physical activity never really bothered me, but once I walked onto my college campus my activity level was forever changed. I discovered monster miles, distance sprints, and other scary, scary biz. I was an overweight kid living 4 hours away from my small hometown in Oklahoma. I had previously only lifted some heavy weights with the high school football guys. I was in unfamiliar territory in fitness land. The obvious change in my everyday activity helped me drop nearly 40lbs my freshman year of college. Without a doubt, my college experience truly changed my life for the better.
I still devoured Whataburger taquitos and participated with my college softball team in pizza-eating contests at the local Cici’s Pizza (hey, the owner loved us!), but I was still losing weight. I didn’t realize it at the time, but self-confidence was making a cameo into my everyday life.
Post college I took up marathon running. I completed several half marathons and three full marathons, and I adopted the mentality of “I run so that I can eat whatever I want!” I was running 26.2 miles at 185lbs and inhaling pastas and bagels and carb-loading, oh my! From there and all throughout my twenties I hovered between the 180lb-200lb weight range. When I wasn’t training for a long run, I was in between cycles of calorie deficits to hit a “goal weight”, whatever that meant. I once remember trying to stay under 1200 calories, and if that included a small chocolate bar, then so be it. Hey, it fit within my calorie range. Right? UGH. I was so naive. I was still proud of my accomplishments. Running marathons had changed my body. I was never ripped, but running gave me a longer, more lean look.
At age 30 I had gotten down to my lowest weight at 172lbs, but I achieved this with major restriction and deprivation. Even at my skinniest to-date weight, I was still a flabby skinny.
In 2014 I joined a boot camp where box jumps, push-ups, rope slams, and chin-ups became an everyday addiction for me. I soon participated in a couple of weight loss challenges, and during those challenges I discovered that nutrition is where physique can be found. YOU GUYS. I was experiencing results that I had never before envisioned. I was becoming somebody that I had always wanted to be. I was wearing a single digit pant size. My current size 8 is much smaller than my 4th grade size 14 or my 12th grade size 20. I still don’t think I’ll ever escape a size large top, though. Because BICEPS. My current weight? No idea. Seriously! I stopped stepping onto the scale when I started lifting heavy weights. Because MUSCLES. I now remain focused on the way my clothes fit my body.
I remember coming home from a workout early one morning, and as I was making my morning coffee my emotions completely took over. I stood alone in my kitchen bawling, absolutely overcome with gratitude for where I was at that very moment in my life, both physically and mentally.
I’m a completely different person today. I wish that I could go back to the teenage me and let her know that life does get better. I wish I could tell her that she’ll one day radiate confidence that will allow her to help others along their way throughout their own fitness journey. I wish I could show her that she would one day work as a trainer motivating those around her.
If I tell you that I am resolved of my food obsession I would be lying to you. It’s something that I still cope with occasionally. Sometimes food isn’t a big deal to me, but other days I spend way too much mental energy on food. Some days I’m terrified of it. Isn't that crazy? I just never want to go back to where I was before. Do I ever order two Big Macs? No! My lifestyle has completely changed, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t overdosed on whole almonds at some point in my recent past. Oops. I strive to make food choices consisting of proteins and lots of veggies. Do I indulge in yummies from time to time? Of course I do. But I moderate. I pay attention. I listen to my body. I now know the difference between weight loss and fat loss. Fat-be-gone!
My point here in this story? It’s never too late to start your journey. NEVAH! I own my journey, and I’m willing to put it out there to show you that anything is possible. You are worth it. You deserve to discover your very best version of yourself, and only you get to decide what that looks like.
Nothing happens instantaneously, but things happen with consistency. If I can do it, then so can you - I promise.
Let’s get to work. Let’s engage, empower, and elevate. #EEE