Realizations and resolutions.

Yesterday we stained the hardwood floors in my house. I wasn’t particularly looking forward to it, but I knew it needed to be done and I wasn’t about to make my poor father do it by himself.

Here’s the thing. I am overweight. Very overweight. And I realized yesterday just how much my weight is limiting my movement. I had noticed it before, of course. I knew that is was becoming increasingly difficult for me to tie my shoes and put on socks. Things that are embarrassing to admit, especially for a 27-year old. But yesterday, as I was staining those floors, I realized that I couldn’t kneel comfortably and instead had to lay on the floor and wiggle around like some kind of beached whale. My 52-year old father had less of an issue moving around than I did. I realized that I am too young to be held back by my body.

I know that my body can do amazing things. In high school, I ran cross country. I was never very good, but I could run a sub-30 minute 5k without much trouble. I could go on long runs of 8 miles or more. It was not easy for me, because even then, I was overweight. I was the biggest person on the team…and not just of the girls. I was bigger than all of the boys, too (in my defense, they were all either short and skinny or else tall, super lanky types). I weighed about 180 pounds at the time, and even though I am 5’7″, I thought I was humongous. I couldn’t imagine that I would ever let myself get fatter than that.

Cut to now. I weigh twice what I did in high school when I was running cross country. I think back longingly to those days, when I could cross my legs or sit on the floor Indian-style, or shop at the Gap. I can’t do those things now.

I think about how, someday, I would like to have children. Mothers have to be able to move. Mothers sit on the floor, playing with their kids. If I became a mother right now, I don’t know how much of that I would be able to do. And that is sad.

As I’ve gotten bigger, my world has gotten smaller. I don’t go out much. I don’t like going to bars because they always seem too crowded and I feel like I am taking up too much space. At restaurants, I try to avoid sitting in booths because they aren’t comfortable for me. I feel like people stare at me wherever I go. I sometimes get nervous when I see a child look at me, because on more than one occasion I’ve had a child look at me and say, “She’s fat.” I watch my friends date, get married, have babies. I don’t date. I don’t even try. I just assume that no one would ever be interested in me. I have to wear the largest size at the plus size clothing store.

Losing weight has always been one of my New Year’s resolutions. And I have been successful at times, losing about 30 pounds two or three times through Weight Watchers or a crazy supplement-based diet. But I always lost momentum and gained the weight back, usually with an additional 10-15 pounds for good measure. In 2006, I seriously considered having gastric bypass surgery. In fact, has my insurance company approved the surgery, I know I would have had it. I look back now and am glad I didn’t resort to that. Even through all of my failures, I felt like this was something I could do on my own.

But I have been feeling increasingly desperate. I am worried about my health. I  had a major health scare in 2008 that was due, in part, to my weight. I am currently seeking out therapy for my food issues in hopes that I can understand why I feel the need to binge and overeat.

I want to live a healthy life. I want to be active. I want to run again, to go hiking and kayaking, to try a Zumba class, to do yoga. I want to be comfortable enough to wear shorts or a skirt and  sleeveless tops and maybe even a bathing suit. I want to date, to get married, to have babies. And in my current state, I just don’t see any of those things happening.

In 2009, my resolutions were to lose weight, buy a house, and stop biting my nails…among other things that I can’t recall. In June, I bought a house. In October, I stopped biting my nails. In 2010, losing weight will still be on my list of resolutions. But instead of being resolution #1, it will be resolution #3.

Resolution #1 is going to be exercising regularly. I have a gym membership that I put on hold about 2 months ago. I knew that, realistically, I wasn’t going to have time to go between a big event I was planning at work and working on my house in the evenings. But the work event is over now and once the bulk of work on my house is complete (hopefully by the beginning of February) I am going to take the membership off hold and make it my goal to go to the gym at least 3 times a week, if not more often. For a while earlier this year I was going to a water aerobics class almost every day. I want to start off with doing that again. I want to walk/jog around my new neighborhood on the days I don’t go to the gym.

Resolution #2 is going to be eating more mindfully and more healthily. I want to eat less processed and fast food. I want to plan my meals and snacks so that I don’t need to rely on processed or fast food when I am hungry. I want to eat when I am hungry, not because I am tired, or sad, or depressed.

I believe that if I can do #1 and #2, resolution #3 will happen on its own. I know it might not happen fast. But this is more about changing my life than a quick fix. My family has a history of longevity. If I want that to apply to me as well, I need to change my habits.

I know it’s possible. People do it all the time. I find great inspiration from some of the blogs I read – especially Questions for Dessert and Pasta Queen, among others – stories from people who have made the decision to live healthier and take their life back.

If they can do it, so can I. 2010 is going to be my year.


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