What I’m about to write is very hard for me. It’s practically the only thing that embarrasses me. It’s the one thing that is impossible to hide — believe me, I’ve tried. It’s high time to be honest with the world — and more importantly myself.
I weigh 269 pounds. I’m tearing up and shaking as I type the number. While not my heaviest, it’s certainly not where I want to be or in any way ideal for my health. It’s also my biggest shame. I’ve been able to accomplish many things but achieving consistency with my exercise and eating habits is not one of them.
I’ve struggled with my weight since I was 10, which means I’ve not been comfortable in my body since about 1986. That’s 33 years of pulling on the bottom of my shirt when I stand up, 33 years of adjusting the waist of my pants, 33 years of crying in fitting rooms while trying on bathing suits, 33 years of having the most burning source of my shame the ONLY thing I can’t hide — despite all my black clothing and camera angle tricks.
Food has always been my loyal friend. When I’ve been sad, lonely or anxious, eating has calmed my nerves. I’ve also used food to celebrate with friends, connect with family and acknowledge victories, big and small. Whether I’m up or down, my urge is to eat. I have a clear understanding of nutrition and portion control, but when life gets a bit hectic, all that knowledge is thrown aside for the quick, easy fix. Before I know it, I’m binging on fast food in my car in a Walmart parking lot.
While I’ve had extended periods when I was “good,” I’ve not found the discipline to stay on course. Four years ago, I lost 50 pounds solely through making one better decision at a time. I swore I’d never return to my bad habits, but slowly they crept back in, and here I am teetering on 270.
I’m not athletic — uncoordinated and clumsy, actually — but I’m strong and am fortunate to have good health, even with my weight issues. I feel guilty that I’ve been blessed with this good fortune while others who take better care of themselves have not been so lucky. While all my vitals are still great, when my weight goes up, my overall well-being goes down. My knees ache, I have heartburn and I’m told I snore when I sleep. I also know that if I don’t get a handle on this, I’m likely headed towards a serious issue like diabetes or heart disease. As much as I dislike exercising, not having the ability to exercise would be far worse.
Being fat is a conflicted state. I love parts of my body — my eyes, hair, teeth, hands, chest, are all nice features. But when I allow my gaze to fall, I’m sickened by my flabby arms, fat stomach and thick legs. Maybe the worst part is the realization that my biggest problem is my own fault. Last week, I ate an entire can of Planter’s Cheez Balls while hiding in my basement. It’s a constant struggle to lose part of my physical form in hopes of gaining a closer understanding of my metaphysical self.
While nobody would say I’m a private person, this is the one thing I don’t open up about. My fat has become a protective layer that I’m hiding behind. This is ending today.
Adopting a healthier lifestyle is accomplished one decision at a time. I started this morning by hitting the gym at 5:15 am. I packed a balanced lunch and am getting back into the habit of tracking my caloric intake for the day. I’m not going to allow myself to slip into the mindset of “I made one bad decision today, so I’ll let it all go to hell and start fresh tomorrow…or Monday…or the 1st of the month.’ If I mess up, I’ll just make a better decision the next time.
I’m also admitting that the reason I’m not athletic is because I’ve never taken the time to foster athletic ability.
This is the dawning of a new Mollie. I’m no longer going to be ashamed of my body because I’m going to work hard to make it the best it can be. I’m going to be open with friends and family about my struggles with food and exercise. Time to stop trying to hide my faults and instead work harder on fixing them.
I hope you will join me on this journey. If you need to focus more on your health, let’s do it together. If you’re in great shape, I’m enlisting accountability partners. If nothing else, send me a prayer or word of encouragement — I’m going to need it!