On the eve of my 33rd birthday I stand in front of the bathroom mirror surveying the damage. In a million years I never thought I would ever be one of “those people”. Those Obese people, the People of Walmart people. Chunk and cellulite glare at me in the reflection. My fat rolls have fat rolls. The skin on my stomach is a trellis of stretch marks from the pain of growing so absurdly huge with each of my four full term pregnancies that the skin eventually gave up trying and just broke. My stomach sags over my under ware touching my thigh in a way that literally conceals the waistband from certain angles. Yuck.
With my fourth child in 6 years turning 7 months old today and the results of countless excuses and neglect starring me in the face, my skin and I are both deflated. As I pull the floppy skin up and down stretching it to see if a “normal” sized body even still exists under there, I wonder if this sad skin will even return to normal if I were to lose 100 lbs. Will I have to have skin removal surgery? 100 lbs is a lot to lose. It sounds like a monumental amount of weight, but truthfully, I probably need to lose even more than that. And what is the base line? Where do you start counting from? Where do you start? If I am really putting it all out there I should admit the weight I was the day my last baby girl was born. An embarrassing, staggering, whopping 281 lbs. Do I give my self credit that 7 months out and I have stabilized at a mere 250 lbs? Does it even matter? I’m not going to lie, 250 lbs seven months after ballooning up to 281 does not feel like something to brag about. Honestly, those 29 lbs are basically a 7 lb baby, a roughly 7 lb placenta, and close to 15 lbs of water weight that all came on in the last 3 weeks of my struggling pregnancy. I was so swollen, the day before my induction, I could barely open my eyes from the puff in my face. Diabetes, blood clotting issues, my last baby weighing in at 9 lbs and suddenly creeping up blood pressure, no wonder my doctor said “let’s call it at 38 weeks.” Throw in a placental abruption at the end for kicks and let’s just say I am grateful, thankful, and blessed to be here, mulling these fat rolls over with four healthy kids sleeping in their rooms.
But I am not blaming the kids. THIS IS ALL ON ME. This is a lifetime of knowing better, but doing worse. Of stuffing my face with terrible, empty foods because I was stressed or tired or lonely or addicted or whatever. You don’t get to be 100 lbs over weight from pregnancy. You get to be 100 lbs over weight from neglect. Self neglect. This total disregard for my own well being has brought me here. My “self righteous sacrifice” of “putting my kids needs first” is a farce. In neglecting myself, I do them more harm in the long run. I jeopardize my health and my ability to care for them because I don’t first care for myself. In my younger years it didn’t seem to matter. I could eat crap, get no sleep, burn the candle at both ends and not worry about it. I’d deal with it later. Or I would start some fad diet and make an attempt to justify my excuses.
Well, it’s later and for the first time in my life the results of my decades long lack of self care is rearing it’s ugly head. I have come to believe that all of my ailments are the result of my weight. Can’t sleep? Lose weight. Tired? Lose weight. My left foot hurts constantly from the tendon between my toes splaying out and the bone touching the ground when I walk. “Well, don’t weigh 100 lbs too much and that wouldn’t hurt.” I have veins popping out of my left calf and it is oddly 5% bigger around than my right one. I’ve had superficial blood clots, headaches, nerve pain (stingers) sore back, and bad teeth. You name it, it’s all because I am fat.
The buck stops here. There is no more room for patience with myself, cutting this our counting that. Without drastic and abrupt change, things for me won’t end well. I have all the markers for all of the terrible, no good, very bad diseases. What was the point of all of this hard work to get to where I am with my family and career just to likely keel over dead from a stroke before I get the chance to reap the benefits? It’s time to be different, to turn things around. It’s time to change.