This isn’t a weight loss blog or a fitness blog. I generally don’t talk about anything on here unless it is reading or writing related. But as the end of the year approaches, I’m in a contemplative state of mind, and I wanted to talk about what encourages or discourages us on our paths: as creatives, as women, as humans.
Over the last two decades, I have been every dress size from an 8 to a 22, no lie. Junior year prom 1999 my dress was an 8, senior year prom 2000 my dress was a 10. Undergrad 2000-2004 I fluctuated 10-12. During the tail-end of a long relationship and after its failure, around 2006, I was a size 16, and I remember it being a big deal because I had to go and buy new clothes (this was before shopping online was a default mode, so I went to Sears). When I returned home and lived in the city for a few years, 2006-2009, my size fluctuated in the 12-14 range, weight dipping lowest when my sister and I were taking regular ballet classes together. When I moved to Arkansas my weight stayed on the upper end of that range, as I abandoned vegetarianism and felt happy and comfortable within my relationship.
My wedding dress was a size 16, which I was fine with, but at the end of 2012 when I tried it on and it basically wouldn’t fit, I was undone with panic (Spanx saved the day, after some crying). 16 was the top of the “misses” or “women’s” clothing section. Becoming a size 18 meant I had to find the “plus size” section at Kohl’s, and I felt really low about it. In the last 5 years I’ve purchased much of my clothing online, on e-bay or etsy, and locally at a thrift store (now closed, RIP) called Saver’s. My size has been in the 18-20-22 range, around 2X to 3X. I’ve come to accept this, and wearing a larger size doesn’t stop me from feeling cute or beautiful or adorable or sexy.
I have a record of my weight fluctuations from the last 7 years because I’m an old holdout user from the Wii Fit era (read: blip) and I keep returning to it because it’s an easy way to weigh in and make a record without having to do much more than stand there.
2010: 200 range. Maintained.
2011: 185-210 range. Dropped. LOWEST WEIGHT.
2012: 185-210 range. Gained.
2013: 200-225 range. Gained 210 up to 225 (5 mos). Dropped 225 to 200 (3 mos). Gained 200 up to 210 (4 mos).
2014: 205-235 range. Gained 205 up to 235 (8 mos). Dropped 235 to 220 (4 mos).
2015: 210-230 range. Gained 220 up to 230 (4 mos). Dropped 230 to 210 (3 mos). Gained 210 to 220 (2 mos).
2016: 230-235 range. Maintained. HIGHEST WEIGHT.
2017: 215-230 range. Maintained (2 mos). Dropped 230 to 220 (4 mos). Maintained 220-225 (2 mos). Gained up to 230 (1 mos). Dropped 230 to 215 (3 mos).
I remember when 200 was the highest my weight had ever been. I remember how shocked I was when I realized it had climbed to 235, almost 240. During the time I had my own apartment and I was working out regularly, I hit my lowest recorded weight, around 180. Do you know what I did? Instead of focusing on how great I felt about the work I was doing, I took that information to the internet and asked all my female friends who were willing to tell me their heights and weights. I guess I was expecting to be able to imagine some grand chart where I fell in relation to other people I knew and just feel cosmic goodwill toward all. But when a friend of mine who I had expected to weight more than me said that she weighed less? I let that fact (which may or may have been fact or fiction, outdated, exaggerated, or accurate) crush me. I broke the one rule: NEVER compare yourself to others. Compare your current self to your past selves. Because it was easy to see how far I’d come tracking my own progress. But looking at someone else and thinking “I’m not there, I’ll never be there” was exactly what caused me to never get there. “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Please don’t let my mistake be yours too. Never look at the work of someone else and think “why aren’t I where they are?” You have no idea what they’ve been through to reach that point, and you’ll never know how close you were if you give up.
My weight has fluctuated mightily, and I can note when I was in school, when I got married, when I bought a house, when my mom got sick. Every time my weight has increased, it’s because I’ve stopped paying attention to my body. Every time my weight has dropped, it has been a direct result of my monitoring my intake and exercise. Most recently my weight is down, because I’m paying attention and actively participating in my own improvement. I hope I keep it up and make future-me proud. As a little green-screen angel named Shia La Bouef once said, If you’re tired of starting over, stop giving up.