We Don’t Talk About Bruno…

I have always been amazed at how weight and weight loss journeys have always been a “hush hush” topic. As a young girl, I learned quite quickly from my mother that women eat cottage cheese and tomatoes and never discuss their weight. I can remember my grandfather saying “Cottage cheese must make you fat because I have never seen a skinny person eating it”. I was aware of my weight at a very young age, my mother would come up with dessert alternatives for me and for her. We were grouped together as the black sheep, or should I say fat sheep, of the family.

But still it wasn’t discussed. Now I heard about it at school from A LOT of kids, but never discussions. I was not encouraged to be confident and I learned to shrink away into the background. I will call it the “Fat Sheep Fade to Black.” I do not blame my parents at all, this just wasn’t discussed as they grew up and I am sure they had no idea of how to approach me.

When I was 13, I attending a weight watchers meeting. We lined up and they would yell our weight over to the person recording the numbers. Before the meeting began, the leader asked even for their attention and introduced me as “the youngest person they shad ever had in their meetings.” Wow, thanks for that. I will include it on my headstone.

When I turned 18, things changed. Jane Fonda came on TV and told us we could get control of our bodies through simple exercises. She was gorgeous and skinny and had colorful leg warmers. The best part was that my father despised her and I loved playing her loud in the den because my father HAD to be so wrong! Of course, we later found out that Jane Fonda suffered from anorexia and bulimia for most of her younger life and she blamed her father’s comments for it! DANG! Another idol brought to their knees in my eyes.

Then came the 90’s and we were encouraged to stop eating any fats and to work out with weights. For the first time, I saw women on the different weight machines lifting, not just sitting and trying to look cute for the steroid king grunting next to them. I became obsessed, and not in a good way. Lunch was usually 5 pretzels and a slice of cheese – but only if I had lifted that morning. It was bizarre to me. I knew I was not eating properly but I was losing weight and I felt strong. Then came the diet pills. If I could lose this much weight by only eating one meal, imagine if I could curb my appetite for the whole day! And yet no one every said anything. Of course I hid what I did, but it was pretty obvious. Even my doctor who had prescribed the pills just said “You look fantastic – keep doing what you are doing”. And we wonder why we are so mentally screwed up with our bodies!

The 2000’s arrived and the South Beach Diet and the Master Cleanse raised their heads to see who bit. We all began drink cayenne pepper and maple syrup and lemon juice. I mean…COME ON! We literally search everywhere for the secret to weight loss. There HAS to be one right?

Well, finally in the last few years, I began to hear people talking about their weight. Not just their weight LOSS but their weight. The trauma, the incidents, the embarrassment and most importantly, the struggle. We began to see that it was more than just the number on the scale. We began to gather in groups and encourage and cry and laugh. I saw beautiful strong women and I learned that it was ok. It was ok to battle an addiction publicly. In fact, I prefer it.

By being open with people, I hope that I encourage others to be open. Keeping everything inside is not the answer, it absolutely is not. I am always amazed when people comment on how I can be so open. I want EVERYONE to be open. We were taught to be embarrassed of ourselves but that no longer holds true.

I am proud of who I am, I will not linger in the past, I will wake up each morning determined to be the most healthy version of myself I can be. Won’t you join me?

So That’s The Secret…

I am not a believer in weighing myself constantly, I hate the scale. It is ridiculous to me that an object can dictate how I feel about myself, about my day, about my LIFE! I choose to only weigh when I am at the doctor. Sometimes I slip the nurse a few “free chick fil a” coupons to not actually tell me the number on the scale (you would be amazed at what people do for a chicky)! I am just not someone who is obsessed with the number. Or at least that’s what I thought…

I have always told people to not go by the number but to go by how your body feels. And I believe that, to a point. When I was at my lowest weight last year, I didn’t worry at all about the number. I would yell from the mountain tops to NOT WEIGH YOURSELF EVERY DAY! Then the exercise stopped and after a few weeks, my eating changed also. I began to let more of the unhealthy habits back into my life.

Haha!! Habits??? That seems like such a nice word for this!

As I was saying…the exercise and the food began to take a downward spiral. The journaling stopped and the affirmations were put aside also. I pretty much gave up on myself. Fortunately, a mental breakthrough stopped my freefall before I hit bottom.

I cannot get back to my starting point. 480 pounds is not where I want to be. 480 is the number I started at, not the number I want to end at. I sat down and did what I do best – made myself feel like crap and guilty as ever. Then when that was over, I started journaling. I wrote about my feelings and I wrote some more, then when I felt like I could come up for air, I wrote some more.

I have stopped forward movement in my journey. A cookie here, hot bread there, pasta leftovers and yes, even pizza. At the moment I ate them, I did not feel bad about it. I really didn’t. My therapist (my sister and yes she is a real therapist) asked me how I felt right before I ate too much food. WOW! That was a hard question for me to answer. It wasn’t that food game me a warm and happy feeling or that I was so in love with food I could not walk away from it. So what was it? I began to think about that question and really went back a looooong way, to when I was very young.

I believe that I overeat because it is something that I can control. My life right now now has A LOT of drama. Issues at home, issues with money, taking care of my mother and father…I feel like I have no control over anything. But I have control over my food intake and I do not want anyone to take that away from me. I don’t want to lose control and let others into my private world with food.

So I am back on the wagon (again, always again it seems). But I discovered a trick that will never let you down. I weighed myself to see how much I had gained and I saw a number that surprised me. It was BELOW my goal weight!! Right there, blinking in front of my eyes. For a moment, I cannot describe how crazily my heart flopped. Then my husband walked in and said “Oh, that is set on kilograms, you might want to change it to pounds”! NO I DO NOT WANT TO CHANGE IT BACK TO POUNDS!

Anyway, that is a perfect reminder for me to remind you that the number does not matter. How do you feel? How do your clothes fit? Does anything hurt? Ask your self that question if that scale number is not going down as fast as you want it. I have to say this because I have heard this from SO MANY diet institutions: “It won’t happen overnight”! No shit!

I think my next blog will be “Things Overweight People Do NOT Want to Hear”!

Stay strong!

January is what??

OK – here I am again. I know, I know, my blogs have been few and far between lately. I owe you more than that. I have asked you to be my support, to read my writings and to join me on my path. I have been struggling lately, I have been struggling AND hiding. I felt if I could keep myself hidden then I would not have to face the truth. If I wasn’t facing the truth, I would not have to make any changes… BUT that is not what I need, so here I start with my weekly scheduled blog AGAIN!

I heard an expression once “January is the calendar’s ingrown hair”. I get that. The after Christmas funk has set in and you are faced with stuffing deflated inflatables of cute puppies riding in Santa’s sleigh into a box which seems way smaller than when you first brought it home from Target. Your waiting on your W2 so you can process how much money was taken out of your paycheck and vacation is far far away…

January is what you make of it.

This January I am making it the start of something. A brand new year, a new month, all clean and ready for dates to be filled in and dreams to be fulfilled. I stand here with a clean and clear slate in front of me. I can choose to make NO changes and go through the whole year feeling how I feel now. Dissatisfied.

Why dissatisfied? I have let stress and worry become heavy in my life. So heavy that they have made the scale numbers go higher and higher. Yup. I let my insecurities back into my world. What insecurities you ask…

“You know you are going to fail, just go ahead and do it”

“Who are you to reach out and try to help others”

“Why do you think anyone cares”

Yup…all of those insecurities crept back into my head and slowly moved themselves to front and center. So here it is, the end of 2021 and I am taking inventory of my life. Do I want to stay where I am? Am I happy when I start to look at food as my comfort and my source of feedback (ha…FEEDback…get it?).

So the other day, my answer came right out in front of my face. Old tendencies bubbled up from where I had hidden them away. My husband and I walked into a restaurant and immediately my heart dropped. The booths looked tiny,. For the first time in 2 years, I said “can we have a table please”? I was sick. I had returned to a place of fear. Later I noticed that I kept pulling my shirt down over my stomach as we were walking through the mall. More and more some of the old fears began to appear: sitting down slowly on chairs that look a bit flimsy, putting away all sleeveless clothes and, once again, shopping online at the larger sized clothes.

I was so angry with my self and then I was scared and then I just cried and cried. Why did I let this happen? I had worked so hard! Do I write this up as a failure and just give up? Should I let my kids know that when I died they will have to burn the house around me (a Gilbert Grape reference that terrifies me)?

OK, I was a bit extreme. Yes, I had gained some weight but I was still down 180 pounds. I had to flip this so I didn’t let myself fall deeper and deeper into depression. I can still help so many people. How many of us have fallen and fallen with our weight loss and still get up? A LOT of us.

So yes, it is another beginning for me. I have to put on my big girl granny panties (which are the only ones that fit now anyway) and face my reality. I can do this. I absolutely can do this. Join me and come along for the ride!

SO in closing, January will not be my ingrown hair – it will be my full-on lash extensions, full lip and winged eyeliner!

Fatty Jody

Guess who’s back? Back again?? YES ME! And I STILL have weight to lose. And if I hear one more time, “It’s a journey, not a race…”I KNOW!!!! I have been on this journey since the 7th grade.

Seriously, the 7th grade. I recently posted on my Tik Tok account (heck yea, ya girl has a TikTok!!) a question to my peeps. What is your earliest memory of realizing you had a body image issue. You would not believe the answers I received. One woman remembered her dad making sounds every time she walked through the den…in the 3rd grade!! Another person said that at every reunion, her aunt would call attention to the fact that she had to wear women’s size clothes…yea, she was in the 6th grade.

My memory? I remember my aunt calling me “Fatty Jody” when she came to visit us. I had never had anyone directly say something to my face. I mean, there were little signs…like shopping in the JCPenney husky department for back to school clothes. Or when the class would stop to watch me try and do the 1/2 mile run for the Presidential Physical Fitness Award (yea, that is a whole ‘nother blog). But my parents had never said out loud that I was heavier than the average young girl.

So my aunt just spoke the facts that she thought were actual. She saw me as “Fatty Jody”. She didn’t see me as the young girl who was throwing her lunch away at school every day so people wouldn’t watch her eat. She didn’t see me as the girl who would be the “ear” to all the boys when they talked about the girls they liked. She didn’t see me as the girl who tore pictures of girls out of her Tiger Beat magazine and tried to imagine what it felt like to look that way.

But what is the saddest of all is that I didn’t see myself as anything but “Fatty Jody” either. I was always the class clown, because who would take someone who was overweight seriously. I always made good grades, because I sure as heck wasn’t getting any athletic awards and I never put myself out there. I never attempted so many of the things I wanted to because of how I felt about myself. I think back to that 7th grade girl and I just want to hold her and I want to tell her what an amazing sense of humor she has, I want to tell her she is beautiful and I want to tell her, more than anything, I want to tell her she has to love herself.

I am still working on that one. I am still working on loving myself. So many people are in this same boat. We grew up with judgement and from that judgement, we formed our opinions of ourselves. One year ago, I went on my first kayak ride down the Savannah River near our home. That was a huge deal for me and I almost chickened out at the last minute. But I didn’t. Do you know why I didn’t? Because I have built a wonderfully positive and amazing support group around myself. I don’t hear the negatives, I hear “Of course you can do this” or “I am so proud of you”.

That is another thing that I would tell “Fatty Jody”. I would tell her to build a support network. A strong group to surround her. Oh and I would tell her to tell her Aunt Daisy to shut the hell up.

Oh and look for me on TikTok @higgsbunch!!

Until next time…