On gaining weight…

When I started writing this blog, my intent was to write about things I had noticed were wrong in my life – that I hoped to make right.  My intent was to be honest about struggles I dealt with, and never represent myself as someone who does not have any issues (trust me, I have issues – just like everyone else).  My intent was to forward with the fact that when I have problems I have to find ways to address them – one day at a time.

Each year, when the New Year rings in, millions of people flock to gyms across the country in order to lose weight.  They join Weight Watchers buy Slim Quick.  However, when my New Year rang in I was moving in the opposite direction of weight loss.

The day after we celebrated the New Year, my husband sat me down and had a serious conversation with me about my weight.  He said that he loved me, but that he was worried about how thin I was getting.  He said that he loved to hold me, but that he did not like feeling my rib cage when he hugged me.  I might have just shrugged off his comments, but a few months prior one of my best friends had sat me down and had a similar conversation.  She said she loved me, but that she was worried about me.  She said she didn’t like seeing my rib cage through my clothing.

Throughout high school and college I always thought that I was overweight.  At my largest, I was a size 16 and weighed about 190.  According to the BMI chart I was “obese.”  However, I never thought I needed to lose weight until I started dating a guy I will refer to as “jerkface.”

Jerkface and I started dating in college.  After we were dating about a year he told me that I was too fat, and that I needed to lose twenty pounds in order for him to keep dating me.  If I was dating a guy like that now, I would most likely kick him in his man parts, and tell him to stick where the sun don’t shine.  Unfortunately, I was so desperate for affirmation that I started to lose weight.

Over the next few years I went from 190 pounds… to 140 pounds.  On a positive note, in addition to losing weight, I also dropped the jerkface.  While the jerkface was gone, the fear of not being loved had stayed.  Sadly, I hadn’t really realized how embedded that fear was until my husband sat me down and asked me to gain weight.

I am writing this today because I bought pants for the first time in over a year.  That last time I bought pants they were a size 4, and I was ecstatic about my tiny frame.  Today, I fit perfectly into a size 8.  I don’t know how much weight I’ve gained, because I haven’t weighed myself in three months.  What is really sad to me, is that my brain is having a mini crisis about being a larger size.  My brain is telling me to go work out, to not eat so much, and that I need to slim down.  As I am freaking out, my husband’s request echoes through my brain.  As I am freaking out, I start crying when I have the thought that my nieces and sisters would grow up ignorantly believing they have to be thin in order for people to like them.

I would never say that I had an eating disorder, but maybe I just don’t know what this is called???  I never fully stopped eating food, nor did I binge and purge.  I like food too much to never eat.  I lost weight because I became OBSESSED with working out and tracking my food intake.  If I went over 1600 calories a day I would freak out, and do a second intense workout.

Somehow, magically, I managed to gain weight.  How did I do it?  How did I gain  weight?  In order to gain weight, I had to do four things.  First, I had to start eating more food.  Instead of eating 1600 calories a day, I started eating closer to 1800 or 2000.  I stopped going hungry in between meals.  I started having healthy snacks.  Second, I had to stop working out so much.  Instead of doing daily doubles or seven days a week, I cut down to six (which I know is still a lot – but I have to start somewhere).  Third, I had to trust that the person I married would love me despite the size pants I was wearing (and trust me when I say that very few husbands mind it when their wives gain some cushion up top and in the back… especially mine).  My husband has been nothing but supportive, and tells me I am beautiful at least once a day.  Forth, I had to learn to appreciate the body that I have.  To me – the forth part is still incredibly difficult.  But I figure that if I couldn’t love my body when I was a size 4 (which is by ALL definitions thin), then I will never love my body until I choose to start doing so.

I spent the last four years of my life believing that I had to be thin in order for people to love me.  That – was wrong.  I spent the last four years of my life slowly killing my body by not eating enough and by working out too much.  That – was wrong.

I have loving friends who accept me as I am.  I have a wonderful husband who is kind and supportive.  And fortunately, I have the chance to make this right.  One day at a time.

One thought on “On gaining weight…

  1. Steph, you rock for sharing this with the world. I had an eating disorder, and really struggled with it for the longest time. Thankfully, I'm recovered, and in remission, and doing great. I do remember buying a pant size that is rightfully should be for me instead of stick-thin pants that I was trying so hard to fit in, and I felt good. For the first time in my life, I felt good about that instead of feeling blah. Like you, I am working on loving my body, and it does get easier. You can always talk to me. I get it. Really I do. Thank you for sharing this with us.


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