ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Struggling With Weight

Updated on May 25, 2013
Me in 8th grade with my friends. I blurred their faces to protect them.
Me in 8th grade with my friends. I blurred their faces to protect them.

Back Then

I was a heavy little kid. I was chubby as a baby, but the baby fat never really went away. My mother claimed I never wanted long hair (I think it was just a ploy so she didn't have to deal with my long hair) and so I kept it short. My mom was a big believer in letting me do what I wanted, so I wasn't one of those girls who played sports or took dance lessons. i spent my childhood watching TV and reading books alone, not being active like a "normal" child should.

However, as a child, I never realized anything was wrong with that. My family ate our meals while sitting around the TV, usually on our laps. And my parents were both heavy, and my grandparents weren't particularly small, either. It wasn't for several years that I even realized how different I was. It was in middle school where the bullying started and I started taking a serious look at myself.

Don't worry, this won't turn into a rant about bullying. That's a story for a different day. Today is about seeing myself up on a screen - pictures taken for a "year in review" type of presentation by the teachers - and realizing that I hated seeing pictures of me. Then I made excuses - I'm just not photogenic, those clothes don't fit right, it's the hair. But looking back, I can see that I didn't like what I looked like. I wasn't comfortable in my skin. And that's what's really important when it comes to weight and weight loss. Being comfortable with who you are.

Eighth grade was a turning point for me. It was the year I saw myself in a different light. My eyes were opened. I wasn't just a normal kid, and I certainly wasn't the man-eating she-male the bullies seemed to think I was. I was a girl with a lot of potential, and I wasn't about to let that go to waste.

My dress for Homecoming 2010
My dress for Homecoming 2010
Myself with my family, Prom 2011
Myself with my family, Prom 2011
Me with my friends, Prom 2012
Me with my friends, Prom 2012

Changing Me

It began really when a friend of a friend saw me at an event and told her "I want to play with her hair". A hairdresser offering to play with your hair for free is a pretty good deal, especially when cuts from the same stylist in the future ran me around $50. Anyway, she styled me like her own personal poodle and I ended up with a pixie cut and super short hair.

I felt like I had a new lease on life. With braces in my mouth and a new hairstyle, I felt like a new person.

But I was still not comfortable in my own skin. I just wasn't.

So I watched what the other girls did, and followed their lead. I ate less, and tried to be more active. It was a slow process, but with the help of a jaw surgery and a month on a liquid diet, I managed to lose somewhere around 20 pounds.

Now, that is NOT a healthy way to lose. I don't suggest it, and have to admit that I gained a lot of that weight back. My size went from around a 24 to a 14 in a month. Then, over the course of a few months, it went back up to 18, and stuck there. I had a friend say, "I would jokingly say you had gained it all back!" While her comment wasn't exactly truthful, or good for my self-esteem, it was close to the mark. I knew I had gained some weight back, and it was something I tried to hide.

So I kept trying to lose weight. It's always been hard because my father likes to cook homemade meals for us every night. I would eat the same portions every night that I always had, and then feel heavy and gross afterward. These meals tended to undo anything I had done during the day.

My family has a Wii console, and we had Wii Fit, a fitness "game", designed to teach health and wellness through fun gameplay. I went through phases where I would play it, but for the most part I was too lazy to get out all the necessary equipment to play it or the Jillian Michaels game my mom got for Christmas one year.

I tried joining a gym. The membership sat unused for many months during the year I had it, and I had to cancel the membership. A high school student with little to no income has to cut costs wherever she can, right?

School dances came and went, and I felt like nothing was changing.

College Life

For some reason, I didn't gain that stereotypical "freshman 15". Somewhere between walking across campus, marching band, and not having enough time to eat as much as I should have, I almost lost weight.

I started feeling lighter and felt like I had more energy. I met a couple vegetarians, and dedicated myself to eating less meat (though I could never go full vegetarian) and eating more vegetables. This seemed to help, of course, and so I persisted.

Eating little meals throughout the day, instead of eating "three square meals", or a few large meals, can be a huge step in losing weight. I've found that if I eat little bits at a time during the day, I over-eat less and I usually consume fewer calories.

Of course, that was when I was away from home. Whenever I came back, it seemed like I ate too much and fell back on old habits. In the end, it's less about what I worked on away from home, and more about the bad habits that still persisted in my home.

Home is Where the Food is

In my house, I'm struck by this constant urge to eat. It takes a great amount of willpower not to over-eat every day I sit at home. I'm not sure if it's a pervasive energy in my home, or just old habits dying hard. Either way, it's important to know my limits, and watch what I eat.

As I said earlier, my dad tends to cook every night. It isn't like we're eating opulent meals; most of the time they're quick meals he made in 20 or 30 minutes. But no matter how long the meals take, they are rarely what you'd call "healthy", and there are generally giant portions.

One idea I've seen to help limit food intake is to use a smaller dish. For the most part, this works. But for some people, like my brother, it could make over-eating even worse. He tends to pile on food as it is, and he does the same with smaller plates. Sometimes he'll come back for seconds or thirds, no matter the size of the plate.

While making the literal dishes smaller, limiting yourself, or cooking smaller amounts can help, too. My father is learning to cook for our family of four, instead of the 10 or more he used to cook for.

In order to change the way I eat, and the way that I interact with food and exercise, the change has to be happening around me, as well.

What is Healthy?

When we're talking about weight, it's hard to really, truly regulate a way to tell what is, exactly, healthy. Each individual has several different factors that can effect weight, and whether or not that weight is healthy for the individual. But scientists, being scientists, have developed the Body Mass Index (BMI) to give a general idea of what is healthy and what is not.

Below, I have provided a simplified table. To use it, look for your height in the column on the left (or whatever is closest) and then the nearest to your weight. The corresponding cell is your BMI. A BMI under 25 is considered healthy, 25 - 30 is overweight, and over 30 is obese. However, there are limitations to the BMI, as with any kind of measurement like this. The BMI does not consider percent body fat, but instead uses generalizations constructed by data on many different people.

Knowing your BMI, and how close you are to a healthy weight can help with weight loss goals.

Simplified Body Mass Index Table

Ht\Wt
100
110
120
130
140
150
160
170
180
190
200
5' 0"
[20]
[22]
[23]
25
27
29
<31>
<33>
<35>
<37>
<39>
5' 2"
[18]
[20]
[22]
[24]
26
27
29
<31>
<33>
<35>
<37>
5' 4"
--
[19]
[21]
[22]
[24]
26
28
29
<31>
<33>
<34>
5' 6"
--
[18]
[19]
[21]
[23]
[24]
26
28
29
<31>
<32>
5' 8"
--
--
[18]
[20]
[21]
[23]
[24]
26
27
29
30
5' 10"
--
--
--
[19]
[20]
[22]
[23]
[24]
26
27
29
6' 0"
--
--
[16]
[18]
[19]
[20]
[22]
[23]
[24]
26
27
A BMI chart, simplified. [##] -- "Healthy Weight; <##> -- "Obese"; All others considered "Overweight".

Are you trying to lose weight?

See results

My Story

I am finding my way through the minefield that is weight loss as of this writing. It can be tough, but in the end, it is worth it, for a healthy, happy life. Maybe most of it is self-esteem, but in all honesty, I want to lose the weight for me.

Everyone has their own reasons for losing weight, and I wish you luck and prosperity on your road to a happy life.

Just remember -- you are not in this struggle alone. Be strong, and live long.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    Click to Rate This Article