For most of my life, I was thin. I wasn’t what I would call in shape, but I was thin. I didn’t regularly work out, I was just lucky. I weighed 122 without fail.
Sometime around 2005, I started to get bigger. I realized I was gaining significant weight, so I started going to the gym in the complex where I lived. It took several months to even see results, but after around six months or so, I had lost the extra weight, which at that time was around 40 pounds. The whole thing shocked me because I’d never had an issue with my weight prior.
But that was just the beginning.
Over the course of 2006, I got into the best shape of my life. I was near my target weight. I was (for the first time) strong and building muscle. I felt good, and my chronic illness actually appeared to be improving (something no combination of prescription drugs has ever managed to do).
When I moved out of that complex, money was nearly non-existent. I no longer had a gym to work out at and, due to my situation, I wasn’t working out at all.
You can see where this is going.
Over the course of the following years, I fell into worse and worse physical disrepair. I felt unhealthy. I looked unhealthy. I was unhealthy. I managed to get myself more or less “under control” through my diet, but I knew I needed to get back in the gym.
In 2009 I pushed myself to make some changes. I went to the gym after work each day. I went on some weekend days. After many months, I got back down to a size 6 and began to feel better. But, as before, a series of unfortunate events (not like the book) led me down another path to being overweight, only this time, I’m still in it.
Before we go any further, this isn’t a vanity situation. My doctor and I have discussed it at length and we both know I need to lose considerable weight. I’ve been ill for nine out of the ten months so far this year and, as a result, I’ve lost over 20 pounds. I don’t recommend this particular diet, but it did give me hope that once I’m well, I could start to exercise again and begin making strides towards better health.
I never knew how being overweight for so long could and would affect me. I don’t recognize myself anymore. I know that sounds melodramatic, but it’s true. I see myself in the mirror and I’m disgusted, literally disgusted at the person I see. I think awful things about myself, things I’d never in a million years think about someone else, anyone else, who is overweight. I am constantly putting myself down internally. I am abhorred that anyone can see me. I don’t want anyone to have to see me. When I have to interact with someone, no matter who it is, I cringe inside because they have to see me. I get flustered and sweat and almost feel like apologizing because they have had to see me.
I know it’s not healthy.
I’m trying to change it.
If it were strictly a vanity situation, I would like to think I’d be able to wrap my mind around it in a productive way. Because it’s also a serious health issue, I somehow feel vindicated in thinking these things about myself. Like somehow I will browbeat myself into losing the weight faster.
It’s terribly depressing when I think about how badly I want to go to the gym, and that I know right now my body couldn’t sustain that. I want to start doing Pilates again at home, or even just my own set of exercises (e.g.: lunges, squats). Anything would be better than the nothing I’m doing. The more nothing I do, the worse I feel, and the worse my thoughts are about myself.
I don’t even look like me anymore.
At the worst of my weight (and I honestly can’t believe I’m even writing this here for people to see), I reached 220. I am cringing inside right now. I am back down just under 200, but I am still…it’s like I’m a stranger in my own body. Mirrors actually hurt my feelings. How did I get to this point? How did I manage to mistreat my health this way?
In part, I know it is because of my chronic illness, but I don’t want that to be a fallback for these feelings and this situation. I want to do what I can, do all I can, to make this an awful memory of the past. I see myself in the mirror and immediately feel sorry for my partner that I look like this. I know that’s ridiculous, but that thought crops up.
I’ve never been diagnosed with body dysmorphia, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I had it. I know I look so much worse to myself than I do to anyone else, but I can’t tell you how weird it is to look in the mirror and see some strange person who sort of resembles me staring back. I’ve kept myself hidden away because of all this. I know it’s not healthy. But I’m trying to turn it around.
I know I can try harder.
The reason I chose to write about this today is because I’m meeting two online friends in person on Friday for the first time and I am terrified. I know they will be wonderful, but I feel in my heart I will disappoint them. I didn’t even have any decent clothes that fit me to wear, so I had to suck it up and go out and buy clothes that fit last night. It gave me a hefty dose of anxiety and I have been progressively nervous for Friday.
But, I’m still going, and I’m determined to have a good time. My instinct is to hide, and I know I have to fight it. It’s one of the many “little things” on the path to recovery from this situation that I must push through. I can’t expect results if I keep doing what I’ve been doing. It’s time to start putting one foot in front of the other and make strides.
I’m ready to do that.
I want to be healthy so badly. In every possible way.
And if any of you are going through something similar, I wish for progress for each of us.