Body Issues

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.

Cheers, friends.

Categories: musings

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8 replies »

  1. Im in a sort of similar situation. I have an underactive thyroid or as its medically Hypothyroid. So my weight has always been an issue for me. To top it off diabetes runs in my family so thats another thing I have to worry about. I recently went back to the doctors to get back on my thyroid medication (which admittedly I hadn’t taken in years) and my doctor told me I need to lose weight because I’m pre-diabetic. I’m currently at 287 pounds which is a lot for me because I’m only 5’7. My vice that contributed to my weight on top of my thyroid was my love of soda and fast food too. So far I’ve cut both out and I feel better already. My next step is to get a bike so I can ride around. So Im saving up for that because gym memberships can get expensive.

    As for meeting up with your two online friends, you’ll do just fine. You’re such a great person that I know everything will go great.

    Just know that you arent alone and that others understand what you are going through:)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m in a situation like this now. Since we moved we haven’t started at a new gym and I’m getting hella fat. Everything gets multiplied with that; depression, sickness, everything. Healthy diet and exercise is the cure to everything, but it’s hard to get that train moving again once it stops. I’m struggling with that now myself – I’ve had more McDonald’s in the last month than I’ve had in a year, because fuck it why not lol.

    You’re going way way outside your comfort zone tomorrow by meeting people, so that might jumpstart things. There will be an emotional reaction to that situation, so hopefully you can channel that into something health productive. Don’t get hung up on what you looked like 10 years ago – that doesn’t matter. Focus on what you can do in the present.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, Jason, I’m really sorry to hear that. I know you were big into Crossfit for quite a while there. But you’re absolutely right: getting that train moving again is a slow process.

      I hope that’s true, honestly. I mean, yes, it’s super outside my comfort zone, and I just hope I do okay. I know if I keep sticking to my “routine” nothing will change and I’m not content with that.

      As for getting hung up on what I looked like, that wasn’t exactly my point. I think I was just trying to explain that I wanted to get back to being healthy and strong. That was all. :)

      But yes, focusing on the present is important as ever.

      Like

  3. What a brave article to make, talking about going out of your comfort zone! Weight is a thing for me too, I started dieting on and off when I was 16. Now, I’m 37 year farther along my life, and honestly, my weight has gone up steadily. Being in menopause now isn’t helping things. My problem lies in the fact that I love sweets and junk food, and for me, nothing can be a great time without food involved.

    I know I should do something about it, but I am not plagued by it: I feel quite content being me, so that’s fine. Would be better for my knees/ joints and such to loose some weight. I guess I will just keep on trying. I do know that walking a lot ( been waking over 10.000 steps a day for 1,5 years now) isn’t helping as far as I can see. So, I always say, it’s an 80 year long struggle…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I felt very uncomfortable writing it which just let me know I should probably be writing it. :)

      I’m so sorry weight is an issue for you as well. Isn’t it amazing how food winds up being such a major part of the events of our lives?

      It makes me happy that you are content. And I love that you walk so much! I need (and want) to be more active and I’m hopeful that my recent upturn of health will allow for that. I wish us both much success!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. just like you i spent years feeling like the gods of weight had blessed me, then it went downhill with an anti anxiety medication i was taking, and emotional eating, whaat i can tell you is that you owe kindness to yourself, be kind to yourself, be self gorgiving and gentle, and while i know thats easier said than done , i am sending you strength and love xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh NO. That’s even worse, that it was triggered by a medication. :(

      But you are correct: being kind to ourselves is the best thing we can do. I appreciate those wishes and extend them to you, as well. :)

      Like

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