I’m overweight. Actually—by medical standards—severely obese.
My weight has been up and down since I was a chubby adolescent clad in terrible tie-dye.
I got really heavy in time for sophomore homecoming and had to have a dress made so I could go. Then, two years later, I wore a size ten to my senior prom. Although I avoided the “Freshman 15” in college, in the years that followed, so did the cellulite … and the pounds crept up steadily.
Then, when I first moved to Washington, DC., in 2005, I was the thinnest I’d been in years … yet still considered “plus size” as a 16, ironically just above the national average for American females.
Again the weight crept upwards, and though I lost about 50 pounds a few years ago –– I’m right back where I started from. Except not really, because each time I’ve packed the pounds back on, I’ve packed on even more.
When I weighed myself this morning, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been.
Obesity is something we talk a lot about – but it’s not usually the “fat” person doing the talking. It’s the doctors. The health practitioners. The personal trainers. The “industry.” And they’re talking at us, not to us … or with us.
That’s a big problem when you are a big person: People talk at you, not to you. As much as we avoid looking at ourselves in the mirror, it seems everyone else avoids making eye contact—if they acknowledge us at all. I’ve walked into stores as a “normal” sized person and a heavy person, and I promise you there is a marked difference.
Before you think this is some “woe is me” story, let me assure you: I’m not telling you this so you feel bad for me or anyone else. I’ve made the choices that got me where I am, but I want to share what my experience has been as a big person to give you context.
I don’t fit in chairs properly, be them airline or café. They leave bright red, painful gouge marks on my hips. I actually worry whether chairs or beds will collapse when I sit on them. Clothes shopping? Forget it. As if trying on clothes wasn’t traumatic enough, you get the bonus prize of less than breathable fabrics in some rendition of “tent couture.”
Then there’s the physical pain of back aches, knee aches, plantar fasciitis … and more. You just physically can’t take care of yourself properly. Like shaving. I don’t have good balance as it is, let alone trying to double over on a slick surface with a sharp object in my hand. Even going to the bathroom is a challenge, and one I’ll spare you the details of.
All of this does a number on your self esteem, which is why being a big person is so isolating. You start avoiding people and being in public. You get depressed, and if you’re like me—an emotional eater to the core—it just feeds an endless cycle.
I hit rock bottom when I realized how much my weight was impacting my getting pregnant.
That’s the impetus behind Project Detox. It’s a six-month adventure during which like-minded people will band together to pursue one simple goal: eating healthier.
It doesn’t matter how much you weigh, or whether you want to lose weight at all. This group is about making positive choices and being our best, healthiest selves. Together, we’ll explore cravings and why we have them, how to give your pantry a whole foods makeover and explore different eating styles, including raw, paleo and gluten-free. We’ll have experts, including nutritionists, holistic health practitioners and personal trainers, join us to share their insights on clean, healthy living. We’ll share what’s working for us, and what isn’t, in a collaborative, confidential and supportive environment.
Best of all, it’s FREE! Will you join us?