I’m not going to say what I weigh at this time. To be honest, I don’t exactly know. And, even if I did know, I’d probably be too embarrassed to share. I’m just not that brave. I do know that whatever the number on the scale is, it’s not a good one. My “fat jeans” are a bit snug lately. When the jeans you wear just for Thanksgiving day gorging become slightly uncomfortable on the other 364 days of the year… well, that’s when you know it’s time to get things in check.
I’ve been a bit heavier set since that lovely time in life known as puberty. One day I was all muscle and tomboy, then, nearly to the day of my 12th birthday, I woke up with hips and DD’s. And then… I just put on weight. A lot of it. My size fluctuated from a size 12 to a size 20. Once I weighed 185 lbs during a 3 year stint as a vegan obsessed with fitness. Then, I ballooned (there’s really no other word for it) to 299 lbs. I had one small victory in the massive weight gain, I never allowed myself to get over the 300 lb mark. That was just unacceptable… 299 lbs, well, it’s not 300, right?
Keep in mind, this wasn’t a case of extreme yo-yo dieting gone awry. There were times that I felt like Superwoman, able to climb mountains for 10 hours a day and then still take on the world. But, then there were the times in which it hurt to type. It would physically take too much effort to hold my arms to my sides and move my fingers back and forth. I know how to eat healthily and “for life”. (Even though I am a bit obsessed with baked goods). And I grew up playing sports and partaking in physical activity every day, and liking it! There was just something wrong…
I was fat (there’s really no other word for it) when I got pregnant. Then I got really, really sick. I lost nearly 30 lbs in the first few months from morning sickness and the inability to eat; because the smell of food received the same visceral reaction as actually eating it. After Lili, my daughter, was born I didn’t gain more weight, but I felt like I was unable to function. I wanted to lose the excess baby weight I’d finally gained, and all of the extra weight I’d been carrying for a decade. I wanted to be a good parent and set an example. And to live long enough to enjoy my child’s life as well. But, I hurt. It hurt to move. It hurt to lay still. It hurt to exist.
This wasn’t a new sensation; the constant, unexplainable pain. I’d felt long periods of extraordinary pain most of my post-pubescent life. I thought it was normal. I swear, I thought everyone had migraines 2/3 of the month. Or, that it was commonplace to not be able to walk across the room without feeling like your muscles were being ripped from your skeleton. I’d talked to my mother about these things when I was younger, but she thought I was being melodramatic. Our family physician told me to take Aleve until it felt better. I took 4… every 6 hours. It never got better.
NOTE: Don’t take 24 of any pill in 24 hours. Take the recommended dose, follow doctor’s instructions. I was young & stupid & desperate… and lucky to still have a functioning liver & kidneys.
Then on a visit to an urgent care center, a medical resident started asking a long list of questions regarding my pain. I was being seen for pain that resulted in gallbladder removal. But, no matter how swollen or stone-ridden your gallbladder is, the rest of your entire body should not feel as though you’re repeatedly being hit by a MAC truck. Bless his heart, this doctor-in-training spent over 90 minutes asking me questions, poking & prodding, pulling limbs and nodding intently as I answered. I would reply to a question and then add “… but that’s normal, right?”. But it wasn’t. I was referred to specialists and finally I realized that I wasn’t normal. I had had, and still have, a severe case of Fibromyalgia.
Fibromyalgia isn’t “all in your head”. It isn’t easy to explain and, if you don’t have a chronic pain illness, it isn’t easy for others to understand. It won’t kill me (though some of the symptoms, left unchecked, could). But, I hate to say it, there are days I have wished I would just die because then the pain wouldn’t continue. It sounds emo & extreme, but that’s the reality of a chronic pain illness. There have been times I’ve felt fantastic, but those moments wane and I come back to the realization that nearly every day for the rest of my life I will hurt. bad.
So, what does this have to do with not being fat anymore? Well, exercise, the kind that burns nearly 100 lbs and doesn’t take 200 years, takes a lot of energy & exertion. These are two things it’s difficult for someone with Fibro to expend. But, I’m lucky. I have an amazing pain specialist (note: seeing a specialist without health insurance is spendy. I choose to find a way to afford it because without the Dr.’s help, I can’t function). And, my amazing pain specialist prescribes me medication that allots me to have enough energy to function like a human being. If I don’t mind being in a bit of pain (though far less than without medication) and completely exhausted, I can exercise. So, I do. It takes painkillers and a lot of determination, but I exercise. Because I have 70 lbs to lose so that I can gain a healthy weight… and be a dress size small enough to buy adorable dresses from Anthropologie.
This is my journey of my “second job”. The 12 hours I spend in the gym every week. The foods I eat. The trials and the triumphs. I’m fairly certain I’ll succeed. Wish my luck!
For more information on Fibromyalgia, visit here, here, or here. Consult your physician before starting an exercise regimen, especially if you have your own health conditions. And, please keep in mind that any mention of using painkillers (whether OTC or narcotic prescription) is done so within prescribed dosage under the direction of a pain management specialist, never recreationally! If you have an issue with the use of drugs of any sort, please seek assistance.