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weighting around

When I was a little girl, I was invincible. I say this because I had not yet been exposed to the idea that my body could be compared to those of others around me. All I knew was that my legs, tan and brown in the summer and covered in mosquito bites, could get me anywhere I wanted to go. I wasn’t concerned with the flatness of my stomach (or lack thereof) or how shapely my arms were, or what my clothes where doing when I turned this way and that.

This blissful ignorance didn’t last long.

Part of my body-consciousness started when I was in fourth grade. I remember attending a family reunion with my parents and sister in Tennessee, and this gnarled old man approached me in the lobby. “Why, you must be my kinfolk!” he exclaimed. Puzzled, I clung to my father and stared at his wrinkled face. Seeing my confusion, he said, “You’ve got a nose just like mine!” He then turned to show me his profile, revealing a large, bulbous schnoz with a big hump in it.

I remember I cried for a while over that, and my newly discovered witch nose.

Shortly after, I began to realize that I wasn’t quite the same size or shape as the other girls in my class. While I had been a pretty scrawny kid, I was definitely chubbier than my friends. I started wearing big T-shirts and dressing what I now describe as sloppy. Someone called me fat in seventh grade, but I started trying to “diet” long before that.

You name it, my mom has tried it. And I did, too. There was Weight Watchers, Tops, Metabolife, Soup Diet, Grapefruit Diet, Not Eating At All… it never worked. I hoarded food when I was younger, waiting to eat ’til I wasn’t around anyone so that I could enjoy myself alone. Even if I wasn’t hungry. (I still struggle with this.)

I became a little more comfortable with myself in high school, in that I actually dressed cute, wearing the same little shirts from American Eagle and Aeropostale that were so popular with the girls my age. I made my own style. But I still hated my body. Never did I wear swimsuits or even tank tops.

My weight has fluctuated throughout the years. I lost weight right before my senior year, without really trying. I just remember having people comment on it, like a teacher or a classmate. Once, when I asked a girl if my homecoming dress looked a little tight, she replied with, “No, you’ve lost a lot of weight! We talk about it all the time.”

I tried to lose more weight before my senior prom with diet pills. I didn’t eat anything for three days at one point. It didn’t last. When the last graduation cap was thrown in the air and after my senior girlfriends and I said our goodbyes to the beach, it kinda went downhill. I packed on about 30 pounds. It was 2003.

After several months of wearing hooded sweatshirts and stretchy work pants, I joined the YMCA in 2004 and started back with the Weight Watchers points system. It worked great, and within several months, I was down close to 40 pounds. I moved to my college town after commuting for two years and enjoyed living it up. Beer and late night pizza earned me about 10 pounds, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t handle. It was a slow gain, but by the time I had moved to Birmingham in the summer of 2007, I was at an all-time high. I was depressed and felt like this big blob whenever I would do anything with my friends. My anxiety was through the roof; I cried all the time and couldn’t handle being in public situations.

My doctor prescribed something that he thought would help. I began to feel much better, more like a normal human being. But I noticed that I couldn’t manage to lose weight; in fact, I was gaining like CRAZY. By spring 2008, it was out of hand. I gained 25 pounds in three months. I felt like a prisoner in my own body.

My medication was changed, and while it took some time for me to not feel like I might rip my hair out, I got better. I managed to lose about 5-10 pounds without really trying. I tried to modify my eating habits, but the scale wouldn’t budge. I convinced myself that I was never going to lose weight without the help of diet pills or something extreme. I cried all the time. I was 15 pounds down from my highest weight and at a stand-still.

When the New Year began in 2009, I decided I wouldn’t let my body push me around anymore. I’m in control. I took matters into my own hands and began walking with a co-worker several times a week at lunch, for about 30 minutes. I almost completely gave up soda. I portioned out snacks and planned out meals. I dropped about 10 pounds. People started to notice.

By June 2009, I’d lost about 30 pounds and joined the YMCA in my area. I took classes and used the treadmill and elliptical. One day on the treadmill, after walking for close to half an hour, I wondered what it’d be like if I went faster. Before I knew it, I was clip-clopping along at what most would deem a jog. To me, I was flying. I did what I could remember of the first week of Couch to 5k and practically floated out of the gym. (Read more about how I started running.)

My boyfriend bought me a pair of real running shoes for my birthday, and I plugged along for several months before finally finishing my first 5k that October, the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I was hooked. I began running with some friends several times a week and signing up for races pretty much every month.

I finally hit my lowest weight this past April, in 2010. I’ve taken a few detours since then and am back up about 10 pounds. But I know how far I’ve come and how far I have left to go. I can do this. The hardest part is getting started, and it’s taken me two years to understand that. I know what I want, and that’s to be the healthiest me that I can be.

And when I want something… I do everything I can to get it.

I’ll add more pictures later, but here are some progress shots:

difference of about 40 pounds

difference of 50 pounds

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7 responses »

  1. Cheers to new blogs!

    Reply
  2. You look beautiful at all the different weights.

    Reply
  3. I’ve always thought you were gorgeous but I’m glad that you are happy!!

    Reply
  4. Love your determination Summer! You CAN do it, and you will. We both will!

    Reply

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