Go grab a drink, it's going to be a long one.
I have always been overweight. Well, no, let me rephrase that. When I was born, I was two weeks early and tiny. I think I weighed 2.5 kilos! But I quickly made up for that. Eating became a habit in my childhood, and stealing candy from the candy tin in the drawer became second nature whenever I came home from school. I got an allowance, which I usually spent on more candy and sweets. In my last year of primary school my entire class turned on me and bullied me. While mostly, I could pretend to shrug it off as them being assholes, the comments did stick. I started eating my lunches at home after 3 months and would often come home crying and craving something sweet to take my mind off things. I was 10.
Eating turned into a coping mechanism in secondary school, and the struggle with my weight really began. I had stick-thin friends who stuffed their faces with everything sweet and crunchy in sight and never gained an ounce, but that wasn't me. I ate when I was stressed, and I was stressed a lot thanks to, mainly, school theatre group. Final rehearsal week was especially bad, as we'd be stuck in the auditorium for hours a day with often not much to do whenever a scene was being rehearsed. Having a boyfriend with a metabolism rate that's approaching the speed of light also didn't (and still doesn't) help. A rehearsal day often ended with everyone gathered around a table, emptying bags of crisps and candy.
I also ended up with a rather aggressive form of eczema when I was about 14. It made me insecure, it made me feel bad, it made me miserable, and being miserable made me eat. Thanks to a dermatologist with a tendency to push her patients to trying new things, I ended up doing light therapy, more light therapy, seventeen thousand different types of ointments and creams, even an experimental treatment with medication they normally give to people after a kidney transplantation because at that point, my body had enough of my skin and was trying to push it away. It made me feel bloated, disgusting, and made my skin burn like someone lit a fire underneath. I gained a ton of weight during those days thanks to her 'treatments', even though they never worked, and finally, after almost six years of this, gave up on ever going back there. My skin calmed down considerably quickly after I made that decision. Funny, that.
I don't think I fully realised back then what I was setting myself up for. But I noticed that my weight was always creeping up, and it made me miserable. Being the dramatic teenager that I was (let's face it, we're all drama queens during those years), I considered starting throwing up after meals to do 'damage control', but I never went through with it. The idea itself was too revolting, I guess. Thanks to one of the most wonderful classes in secondary school history, where bullying was not tolerated by the students and teasing never went beyond remarks about one's hair or clothing and mostly stayed within the bounds of grades or strange personal belongings, I was never bullied or teased about my weight again.
I managed to stay relatively in shape during those days because school was a 20-minute bicycle ride away and I played badminton twice a week. Thanks to a horrible coach and a lack of interest in the sport thanks to him, I stopped playing badminton when I was 18. By then, I was in university, and walked a lot. My college is situated in the heart of Utrecht and it was at most a 15-minute walk from the station, so why bother taking the bus? I still lived 30 minutes from the train station, so I usually took the push-bike there and back home.
I think my current weight-issues began when I moved in with the BF. Suddenly, I lived only a 10-minute walk from the station, and I lived together with someone whose idea of a healthy meal was thoroughly muddled thanks to never really having cooked a meal in his life. I gained 10 kilos in the first 6 months. University was also stressing me out. My first year, I chose a program that did not really fit me, and I wasted a year trying to struggle my way through it before deciding to switch to a program that did suit me.
My parents, supportive as they were of my every choice in life, seemed unable to deal well with a daughter that was clearly unhappy with her own body and thought peptalks that only focused on my body and weight would 'help', or that cracking jokes about it, calling me Miss Piggy or poking me in the gut whenever I was eating, would help. I've never told them, but the tons of conversations we had that started with my mother tut-tutting about my weight really broke me at times and I shed many a tear about them because all I could focus on was that I was fat fatty fat fat fat.
I suppose at this point one could say that I was nursing a slight eating disorder. I would try to 'eat healthy' by not eating at all, only to fall asleep during class or on the train due to lack of nutrition. I would then come home and binge on anything I could get my hands on. Whenever I tried to actually eat healthy, I'd try to live on fruit and nothing else for days. I don't think I need to tell you that this didn't work and eventually, I'd fall back into old habits and eat a whole bag of crisps by myself. I wasn't exercising at all in those days. I would try to talk myself out of eating something, but when I succeeded in convincing myself I wouldn't need that cookie, or that bag of sweets, I'd reward myself... by eating that cookie or diving into that bag of sweets.
Last year I decided that enough was enough. I joined a gym and started working out twice a week. At the beginning of this year, however, I decided that I was going to start my own business as a translator and quit my (somewhat active) job at the local bookshop. I couldn't muster up the time to go to the gym twice a week and it dwindled to once a week, sometimes not even that. I decided to take up running this year, only to have my plans thwarted by short muscle structure in my calf muscles which gave me horrible pains in my lower leg while running that I'm hoping physical therapy will help with.
But despite my efforts, I didn't lose a single pound. Oh, sometimes I did, but they'd always come flying back as soon as I let up the effort. I didn't start a diet, because I only live with my boyfriend and I can't afford to cook two meals every evening, nor did I want to force him to join my diet.
But it really is time for some drastic changes in my life. Enough is enough.
Right now, at the start of this blog, I am a short, fat girl that weighs 112.5 kilos, and it is my goal to lose at least 30 of those before the end of the year.
There, I said it, it's out in the open! No turning back now.
In the coming days, I will document my steps toward a healthy eating plan and will try to lay out an exercise schedule that I can commit to every day. I hope you will enjoy reading along with my journey towards a better, fitter, healthier, happier me.