From my guest post on the PumpUp blog today:
I think one of my biggest problems in the past was that I did not truly know myself. It’s still a learning process. When you don’t really know yourself, it is so much easier to fall into the trap of what works for others but may not work for you. Trust me, I have fallen into that trap time-after-time (cue Cyndi Lauper music). Now listen, I am certainly not saying that you should stop experimenting with things in life or trying new things. I think it is important to branch out from time-to-time and learn new things. But, don’t get mad at yourself if what works so well for someone else, doesn’t really work for you. We are all different people and are at different stages in our journeys and most of us are on different journeys all together.
I have come to realize that I have to figure out what works for me. I’ve been on so many different diets, it would make your head spin – Weight Watchers, Sugar Busters, The Cabbage Diet, The Grapefruit Diet (I can’t even look a grapefruit in the eye to this day), The Adkins Diet, The Dukan Diet, The Good Life Diet, whatever that Susan Powter one was, Nutrisystem, Slimfast, Xyngular diet, The South Beach Diet, herbal supplements, Adipex, and the praying that I had a thyroid problem so I could just get medication to fix this diet. And you know what? None of those diets really worked. Sure, they may have worked for a short time, but I always ended up gaining some or most of the weight back. I now know that I need to work on the mental component and really embrace a lifestyle change that works for me. I also have to finally come to terms with the fact that it should be less about the lbs and more about the health aspect. Sure (for me) it is important to my health to shed some of this fat. However, losing weight is only one aspect of my overall healthful journey. It took me a long time to realize that, and I constantly have to remind myself.
Now here’s some real talk; something that I don’t really admit to people, least of all myself: I am very frightened that I am no longer going to know who I am if I’m not “the fat girl.” All my life, pretty much since puberty if not before, I have been overweight. I have come to identify myself as the fat one. That’s just who I am. So much of my personality has been about saying, “fuck you world, I’m fat AND fabulous.” I guess that I am scared of what I will become without that badge; like I should be admired because I maintained an awesome existence in spite of being the fat lady at the circus. It’s been a little horrifying to start peeling back the layers and realizing that this is what I am scared of and this is how I feel. How do you counteract yourself when deep down your soul feels like it is fighting for its very existence? Realizing this, explains so much of why I would self-sabotage anytime I was on a healthy streak. My psyche or subconscious or whatever the psychological words are, I think my very soul, was fighting for its life because I felt like I was killing the very essence of me if I lost the weight. This is quite a powerful thing to work against. At least, I am finally aware of this fact now. I imagine that it is very hard to fight demons that you can’t see. At least now, my biggest demon is out in the light where I can begin to slay it.
The mind is a very powerful thing, and it is funny how memories work. I always remembered myself as this horrifically obese child. It seemed that way in my mind. I started looking back on old photos from my childhood, and guess what? I look like a normal and healthy and happy child. So why did I have it in my head that I was ALWAYS fat. Was I a 30 lbs newborn? No. I’m pretty sure I weighed 7lbs and 2oz at birth. Here’s a picture of me from my youth: I’m cramming cereal in my mouth sure, looks like Lucky Charms from the picture, but nowhere is the fat little chubby monster that I thought I was. So much of my life involves the mingling of shame and food, and I’m still trying to figure out why that is. However, I have to realize that “fat girl” is not my identity. I am so much more than that. Here’s a picture of 8th grade Kaycee. I remember being so cogniznant of my weight and so self-conscious of my c-cup boobs. I hated my body.
So many of my diary entries from middle school and high school were filled with self-loathing and shame. I wish so much to cradle that Kaycee and let her know that everything will be okay. I want to tell her that she is beautiful, kind, smart, funny, and strong. I want to tell her that it doesn’t matter what others think; she is beautiful! I want to tell her that she is so much more than the numbers. That she will grow up to be a class valedictorian, she will graduate from college and law school with honors and will make a fine lawyer someday. Even more so, I want to tell her that she will forgive herself and her body one day. All the days filled with anguish and disgust aren’t worth it. She will fall in love. She will break hearts and get her heart broken. I want to tell her that she lives and will continue to live an amazing life and have abounding adventures. Most of all, I want to tell her that I love her unconditionally because I finally do. I’m so sorry to the past Kaycee who never got my unconditional love. Please know that I will never let you feel that way again. I was not the fat girl. I am not the fat girl. You are not the fat girl.