I’ve always known life as a fat person. As a child, teen, young adult, and now as an adult woman, I’ve always been large sized. I have spent a few misguided and short-lived moments on the slender side. I slimmed down in the eighth grade, and then during my high school years I was constantly yo-yoing from sizes 10-14 and back again. After a crash diet when I turned 18, I seemed to lose the proverbial “baby fat” which lasted as long as the drive-thru line to get my first Fish Fillet. Sure enough, I gained it all back a few months later. Once I hit my twenties, I have spent much of the last 25 years, with the exception of 1995, on the 200+ side of life.
However, while my weight has always been a battle and diet has been construed with binge eating and unhealthy choices, I’ve always been active. I loved P.E. at school and played baseball, volleyball and badminton and have always been into some sort of dancing. I taught aerobics, DanceFit and line dancing throughout my obesity, until my feet and knees could no longer handle the 200-pound frame.
Yet, despite my active lifestyle, I have always been a constant overeater. There is no question…I am a food addict. I ate a LOT and most of what I consumed was junk food and fast food delicacies. The greatest consumptions of those occurred at night and generally in the later evening. I accepted and lived with my body. I loved food too much and obviously didn’t love myself enough to comprehend and conceptualize that what I was eating was slowly killing me.
Being fat was the only “me” I knew. I got used to it and succumbed to being an obese person. Complacency included avoiding my naked body in the mirror and covering it up with dark clothing. To combat my body, I dyed my hair platinum and styled my mane ala Farrah. I would put on dazzling make-up to create stand out blue eyes and glossy lips. All I had was my face and my golden locks. When the triple chin crept up on me, I accentuated my figure with push up bras to reveal my very ample chest and doused myself with glitter. Two thirds of me was a disaster but the upper third looked like a Las Vegas Show.
Life for me meant that I became accustomed to being overweight. I fell into the comfort zone of going from medium to large, then content with being extra large and then sadly admitted defeat as my size morphed every year. Normal for me has always been about shopping at the “Fat Lady” stores and just accepting that as the years progressed along with my out of control shape, that I had to start looking at the back of the rack, where the even bigger sizes were hiding. I was nearing the end of the line, even at the clothing store.
I have sections in my closet that I label as:
- Holy Cow
- Slim Joan
I refused to part with the latter. My mom would ask me to get rid of my slim clothes but I would persist in lamenting, “One Day, I‘ll get back in them”. The bitter reality was that I had to continually push them to the right side of the closet as a constant reminder of SOMEday. Yet someday became never and slowly cocooned into impossible and ultimately forgotten….until NOW.
Fourteen months ago, I started on what was initially supposed to be a weight loss journey that evolved into a Health and Wellness Trek and has now metamorphosed into a total overhaul of my entire landscape. What began as “Operation Meltdown” has transformed me into a Zumba Fanatic and has catapulted me into a desirable thirst for knowledge to become a Health Enthusiast. I’ve gone from being the self proclaimed FAT EXPERT into establishing myself as a Fit Optimist and hopeful Guru of Positive Change.
Turn back my clock to 2009, when my life and health had plummeted and all hope within me began to dwindle. Through years of neglect, my health had been growing intensely worse. My vision became affected and my once controllable tummy disturbances were now gravely compromising my pancreas, liver and gall-bladder. I am an entertainer by profession and a continual escalating red face had family and friends in constant fear that I was going to stroke out at one of our shows. An increase in migraine headaches coupled with the new ailment of vertigo played havoc on my performances and within all avenues of my life.
I could not see a way out of the hell I was living. My overwhelming low self-esteem was being compounded by self-defeating emotions, which led to a total loss of control over decision making relating to my career and matters of the heart. It was a horrific year for me, feasibly the lowest ebb of my whole life. Quite honestly, there was a point in December 2009 when I just wanted to find a clearing somewhere and lie down.
All of this was having a runaway train effect on my psyche. My heart had been pulled through the eye of a needle and by July 2010, I had eaten myself to almost 300 pounds. I had given up. Doctor’s appointments were in abundance as well as testing and examinations by Medical Specialists. Everyone was telling me the same thing; I was a walking ticking time bomb. It was only a matter of when.
And then….the dam burst. Literally, it busted.
Everyone needs their wake up call, their “aha” moment. Their fed up, shake up and get up intervention. Mine occurred in August 2010, when I was undergoing a “routine” Vertigo test at a medical clinic in Hamilton Ontario, which left me covered in vomit, feces and urine. I had an adverse reaction to the test and spewed my breakfast all over myself, the nurse and the walls of the clinic. Upon sitting up, I wet my pants and before I could get off of the examining table, my bowels opened up. I sat there in a freaked out state. If I had to compare the feeling: I felt like “Carrie” from the Sissy Spacek horror film when she is covered in Pig’s Blood. I put my head down and cried, “I didn’t sign up for THIS”.
There is no greater realization of self loathing then to be faced with the reality that you are 40 minutes from home, have no change of clothes, are by yourself in another city and have to drive yourself down a highway with poop and pee in your pants and strawberry jam in your hair.
More reality hit me when I pulled into my driveway in Brantford, and was met by my 18-year-old son, BJ, who was almost on his knees in shock, fear and eventual anger. I had called him from the highway in a frantic call “Get a bath running NOW!!!” He just kept staring at me in disbelief. “Mom, I could smell you coming into the driveway, what the hell happened to you?” I shamefully got out of the van and hurried into the house, with BJ in pursuit asking me 100 questions. Seeing THAT look of horror on his face and the onslaught of tears snapped me into focus. I had done THIS to myself. I was killing HIS mom. My most important person in the entire universe was going to lose HIS most important person and it became up to ME to prevent that from happening. And at THAT moment, everything for me changed. Continue onto Part 2 of this series, Confessions of a Fat Girl – How I Turned My Life Around!