I was reading through my homepage today, which includes news stories and of course some celebrity gossip, and there was an article about weight gains and losses of celebrities. Some for movie roles, some because something had changed in that particular person’s life, or simply because [insert celebrity] had started working with a nutritionist and/or trainer. I’m scrolling through the story and thinking “I know a little more about gaining and losing weight these days. I have a story too.”
If you met me today, you’d never guess that I have lost 50 pounds. That’s the thing I’ve noticed. If you meet someone at a particular weight or size, often people don’t think that person has ever been a different size. Especially if they’re not a very big person. So to meet me now you’d never guess that I’ve lost and gained roughly 60 pounds in one direction or another. I’ve been all the way down to about 93 pounds and all the way up to almost 160 pounds. (And yes, I recognize that the average American woman weighs about that, and I know that most people avoid specific numbers when asked about their weight because no matter what the number is you’ll be judged for it. But in the interest of sharing my story I’m including a few numbers.) (Oh, and for reference I’m 5’4″.)
Those numbers are weights I have been at as an adult, and yes, they signify the extremes of one end or the other for me. I haven’t been under 100 pounds since my early 20’s and I was that thin because I was going through a tough time and I’m one of those women that doesn’t eat when stress/major life changes/something big hits.
I met my husband and made my way through my 20’s, got married and we decided to have one more child. Settling down, pregnancy, and some medical issues later I reached my highest weight. And then I got told I had a birth defect that would eventually result in me needing a hip replacement at an early age. As in the doctors were hoping I’d make it to 40 before needing surgery. I lost 50 pounds, but I still only made it to 34 before I ran out of time and it was hip surgery or losing the ability to walk.
When I say that I lost 50 pounds, I think it’s important to emphasize that I didn’t go on any crazy fad diets or take diet pills. I lost the weight the old fashioned way, the hard way. I learned how to cook differently. I cut out soda, fast food, and junk food. I counted calories and I worked out every day. I started out not being able to walk more than about 1/2 mile and worked my way up to being able to bike 12 miles or walk 4 miles in 45 minutes. I learned how to take care of myself, how to cook differently, and how to make healthier choices. The side benefit to all of this was that my kids were just old enough to see the changes, and now a decade later, they know how to make healthier choices for themselves.
These days I’ve gained a few pounds back, but I still weigh less than I did when I got married. I’m always seeing articles criticizing celebrities and public figures for every single pound they gain or lose. There is always some new fad diet or scary hard workout idea. I campaign quite a bit for loving oneself and focusing on being healthy. No more photoshopping or berating someone for having a body. People come in all shapes and sizes. I see women killing themselves trying to be “thin enough” or meet some ridiculous ideal and it scares me because I don’t ever want my daughters to base their worth on their weight.
I share my story because I think it’s important for women to realize that just because someone is a certain size now doesn’t mean she might not have more in common with you than you think. I have been as small as a size 2 and as big as a size 14/16 and every size in between. Just because I’m not as big as I once was doesn’t mean I don’t understand what it’s like to fight with your weight. It’s hard enough just being a woman in today’s society. I hope that we can drop some preconceived ideas and support each other!
❤ ~ Xun