The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

2 years ago I almost lost my  life to necratizing pancreatitis.  In case you’re wondering, yes, every July 29th I am going to “celebrate” the day I didn’t die, so you can look forward to that.  This year I am telling the truth about something that has constantly on my mind since the beginning of elementary school.  My weight.  It makes me crazy nervous to write about this because it is so intensely personal and I am so ashamed that I am shaking as I write this.  It’s time for me to come clean.  If I can’t be honest about this, then I will never have it under control and I have to get it under control.

I am fat.  When I say fat, I mean people start praying when they get on an elevator with me because I am weigh the maximum amount that is allowed in that elevator.  I could weep for my body.  No matter the abuse I put it through it always wakes up in the morning and carries me through what I want and need to do.  2 years ago it bewildered the doctors as I recovered with no lasting effects from necratizing pancreatitis.  When they diagnosed me they said that my case was worse because of the extra weight that I carried (in all fairness, I had just delivered my first baby 5 weeks before…I don’t know who has lost all of their baby weight in 5 weeks…and if you do, please don’t tell me about it).

I am afraid that this is a battle that I will fight until the day I die.  That makes me exhausted and I believe the only chance that I have where this is not the case is if I come clean and air out all my dirty laundry.  Of course, this is my perception, my truth and a path that I need to travel on my own.  So it may not be what you know or believe.

I believe my weight comes from 2 issues.  First my metabolism is about as slow as a snail.  Second, my history of what has become broken inside of me that I feed with food.  I believe that my metabolism is slow because of my history but also because I take after my father, who is big, and not my mother, who is small.

I was very aware of my weight in elementary school.  I rode the bus with Catholic School kids who made me very aware that I wasn’t “skinny” and therefore I was considered fat.  They were cruel.  When I say cruel, they would say things to me, make me sit on the floor in the aisle, put backpacks in empty seats and wouldn’t let me sit there, they would make verbal comments and even hide my backpack from me.  School (thankfully) was a safe haven for me until 8th grade when I transferred away from all my friends.

I was not a fat kid.  Every moment of the day that I could, I was outside playing.  I also ate a lot so I was big, but not fat.  The 60 minutes I spent with those kids 5 days a week for 6 years made deep cuts into my self confidence and how I felt about myself.  I was never happy with how I looked (my stupid goal was for someone to look at me and say I was skinny, I will never be skinny), but my appearance was never on the top of my priority list.  When I transferred to 8th grade with no friends, some of the boys were horrifically mean to me, but all in all, I think I squeaked by with only small wounds.  After I made friends, I didn’t really talk to anyone else and couldn’t care less what other people thought of me.

In 8th grade I started playing basketball.  I played hard, almost all year round, for at least 2 hours everyday.  I became very strong, still not skinny, but very strong.  I hurt my knee and thought I would sit my sophomore season out to let it heal itself (I never returned).  I went from exercising intensely to not at all.  At that point I didn’t connect that if I stopped doing physical activity but didn’t change what or how much I ate, I would gain weight.  This was the first time that I became heavy.

Without even realizing it, I stopped eating.  It wasn’t something that I did consciously but suddenly everyone was commenting on how good I looked and was asking what I was doing.  The turning point for me was on the Fourth of July.  No matter what size I am, my boobs stay the same size…HUGE.  I was walking down to the fireworks and some drunk guys passed me and asked me to come with them.  I said no and walked past them.  They starting making comments about how I thought I was too good for them and all I was was a blond with big boobs.

I made a decision then that I didn’t want to be judged that way.  I feel that who I am as a person is so much more important than what I look like.  I never wanted to feel that I got anything or anyone assumed anything because of how I looked.  I felt that if I had a shield of being unattractive then what I got would be mine DESPITE what I looked like.  I spent a couple years eating to gain this shield of weight.  Then I realized I was so miserable, what was the point?

I felt the only way for me to get to my goal weight (125 pounds, size 6) was to drastically reduce the amount of calories I took in each day.  I restricted my diet to a couple hundred calories a day.  The weight melted off me and I heard again how great I looked.  I starved myself down to 144 pounds at which point I could fit into a size 6 jeans.  I lived and died from what the scale told me.  As soon as I fit into a size 6, I knew that wasn’t good enough and I wanted to be a size 4.  At this weight (the only reason that I was able to get to this weight, let me remind you, was from starvation) my friend told me that I looked “okay” but I could stand to lose 5 more pounds.

I got the stomach flu and dropped down to 140 pounds.  The lightest I have ever been in my adult life (and the lightest I will ever be).  When I gained the 4 pounds back just by smelling food I became very upset, but my body just couldn’t get any smaller.  I talked to Josh about being upset about these 4 pounds.  His response was that I could lose them.  I asked him if it would bother him if I gained weight and he said yes.  We can add that to the dumbest things we’ve said to one another.

It was that moment in the car (I can even remember exactly where we were) that I said, fuck it, if you’re not going to love me if I gain weight then this relationship is doomed to fail and I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted and how much I wanted.  I gained weight and gained weight and then gained some more weight.

When I was at the heaviest I ever had been I became pregnant with Finn.  I then proceeded to gain A LOT of weight with Finn.  After I had Finn I was working to lose the weight and was also nursing.  It was a slow process, but I felt it was acceptable.  Then came the pancreatitis which meant that I did not each a bite of food for well over a month.  Then I was given a feeding tube so that I could get substance.  I took 600 calories a day through my nose.  Sometimes I got sick from it, so I would take in less each day.  It was well over 4 months until I could eat normally.

After I could eat again, I wanted to eat and did eat everything.  After being sick I was down to my pre-baby weight (which was not all that slim) and I gained and gained.

So this is where I am right now.  I am stubborn because I don’t want to be judged on my outward appearance.  If someone says something to me, then I will go and do the opposite out of spite (healthy and mature, I know).  I eat when I’m sad, I eat when I’m anxious, I eat when I’m mad, I celebrate with food.  Food is social for me.  This has been a life-long battle and it was my battle to fight, given to me at birth as all the females in my family enlisted in this war.

I’m not going to go into depth for that, because it’s not my story to tell.  I will say that when I was growing up we were taught to clean our plates.  We didn’t have money to waste and if we let the food go to waste, that’s wasted money.  Even if that meant eating multiple servings, we weren’t going to be wasteful.  I have worked on this with Finn.  It’s hard for me not to insist that he cleans his plate.  I want to teach him that if he’s full he can be done.

I never went without food or felt that there wasn’t enough.  However, it was precious and shouldn’t be wasted.  When we were lucky enough to go out for food we would share plates to help keep the cost down.  As soon as I had my own money to spend, I went out all the time getting everything I wanted and had it all to myself.  I wanted to know that I worth my own plate of food at a restaurant.

This is why I want to make a change now.  I know better now, I know it’s not about a number or a size (although I am obsessed with whatever number I am or I lie to myself, believing that what I eat doesn’t have an  impact on my weight).  I want to be healthy.  I want to be a good role-model for Finn (I don’t want him to have to battle with this all his life, if he doesn’t have to) and for my students.  I  don’t want to feel that my weight is holding me back from being the person I want to be.  I want to be able to play with my son and be the kind of mom I want to be.  I want to be around for A LONG time for my husband and my son.  I want to get pregnant (if and when the time is right) without be scared about my weight.  I want to be healthy.  I want to be one size for more than 1 month.

I know that I have a challenge in front of me.  I know that because there were 3 times in my life when my body thought I was starving it, it’s going to be three times as hard to lose the weight.  I know that I am holding onto this shield because I am terrified to become pregnant again because I don’t want to be worried about being sick again.  I am ashamed that this part of my life I can’t seem to get under control and it’s out there for everyone to see.  I feel that I have no will power.  I feel that I am exposing myself to a scary level with this.  I don’t feel fat (I feel like the real Kate is stuck in here, waiting to get out) but I literally can’t stand to look at pictures or video of myself, it makes me want to vomit.  I know that if I do it this time, it has to be IT, that people can think what they want and draw whatever conclusions they want about me but I need to be healthy for me.

The things that are different this time are that Josh has expressed his concern about my health, which he hasn’t done before.  I know it’s bad if Josh said something.  I don’t have the right to put myself in danger of being taken away from him and Finn.  I am reading this book that is helping me learn about what the food thing is for me.  For me it’s not about a diet, it’s about something that I can maintain for the rest of my life.  It helped me realize that I am ridiculous when I eat to deal with my feelings.  Am I really so scared of my feelings that I can’t handle them without food?  Of course not.  How stupid.  Also, if I’m eating for any other reason then because I’m hungry then it’s not about food.

I don’t know how much I will tackle this publicly and write about it, but I needed to be honest with myself and for that to happen it had to be OUT THERE.  My battle is against my emotional scars, my habits, my addiction, and my physical reality.  I believe that in some ways I believe an addiction to food is one of the most difficult addictions to kick because with other addictions (drugs, alcohol) you can completely remove the addiction from your life.  Food has to be part of my life, but in a healthy way.  I have an addictive personality.  This is why I didn’t choose to smoke or try weed and I am very careful about my drinking.  It’s just who I am.

My body has been there for me, done more than I could ever ask, surprised doctors.  It has given me everything I ever wanted with little complaint.  I am not my body, what is inside is so much more precious.  It is a vessel to take me where I want to go.  Now it’s my turn to take care of my body.  To give it what it needs to continue serving me until I lay it to rest and ride on the wind.

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14 Responses to The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

  1. Mwa says:

    What a brave post. You have made such a huge step, just writing this out.

    It struck me that you related a lot of your weight gain to how other people see you. And then a lot of the reasons you gave for losing it were to do with other people. I like the last paragraph, where it is just about you and no one else. This shouldn’t be about other people at all.

    x

  2. Nic says:

    wow what a confession. If you can keep this kind of determination, you can do this without fail. Good luck!

    I understand that you won’t put much or any online but let us know from time to time how it’s going or when you’ve reached your goal weight (and i think a size 6 would be too small, don’t deprive yourself of everything).

  3. Nicole says:

    Kate,

    You are a brave woman. I support your journey and understand what you are about to do. Facing yourself and why you make the decisions you do is hard. Especially when the decisions you’re making are defensive ones. When I decided to lose weight I knew I had to make it a life choice/change. It didn’t matter what others thought, it only mattered to me what I wanted for myself. My decision is what you are deciding right now- to be healthy. You are exactly right in not striving for ultra thin; healthy is the way to be. It’s a decision you’ll make everyday. And everyday you may not want to make the decision, and that’s okay. It’s okay to want to have a “pass” and take the day off, or a meal off. Just keep in mind your overall life goal and expectations you’ve set for yourself. You want to succeed and are in control of it. I know you are a stong, determined woman and this is a challenge you will take and face head on. You will make it through and meet your goal. I’m proud of you, Kate.

    Love, Nic

  4. linlah says:

    Sounds like you are starting on a good path. You can do it.

  5. Vince says:

    Kate,

    I can relate to you my story. It’s no where near your stuggles and by no means do I wish to diminish what you’re going through. I think you’re correct in that your weight has two components, one emotional, one lifestyle. I personnally had to make a lifestyle choice.

    My family has a history of diabetes. My dad is now a type 2 diabetic and requires insulin shots on a daily basis. I saw my doctor about 18 or so months ago and routine blood tests revealed my blood sugar levels were elevated and I was in a “pre-diabetes” stage. I never want to have to stick myself with a needle, so I saw a dietician who put me on a plan where I monitored the number of carbs I eat on a daily basis and get 30 minutes of activity at least 5 days a week (activity defined as getting off your butt and doing something, even if it’s walking up and down the stairs, and not necessarily 30 minutes at a time).

    Within about 6 months or so, I went from 188 pounds down to my current weight of about 153, which I’ve maintained for at least a year. My blood sugar levels are now normal. Like you, I LOVE food and eat when I’m stressed. As you said, it’s like an addition and you have to take it one day at a time.

    If you want some details as to what my dietician said, shoot me an email. I can go into depth. However, don’t look at it as losing weight. Cause that’s not what it’s about. My goal was never to lose weight. My goal was to get healthy and avoid diabetes. Which so far I’ve done. I just happened to lose weight in the process.

    Good luck to you!

  6. Jessica says:

    You’re so brave Kate! I love you so much!!!!

  7. Madame Lefty says:

    Weight is one of those very difficult things to talk about. Coincidentally, I went to the doctor today and found out I may have X and one of the symptoms being obesity or overweight.

    I wish you the best of luck. It’s an ugly fight to battle one’s weight, but it’s worth the effort.

  8. Mary Jo says:

    Kate-

    As I was reading this post I was in awe that you were so courageous to write it. I know it’s really hard for you to talk to me about this, but I do want you to know that if there is anything I can do – anything – to support you in your pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, I will do it.

    You wrote a post a few weeks ago about how courageous Jessica is – and she is, I agree. You too are courageous – and I admire you so much. You are my hero!

    Love, mom

  9. Laoch says:

    Embracing the truth is a fine first step. Good wishes to you.

  10. It takes a lot to put forth such a personal story. I think you just took your first step forward in your battle!

  11. JaniceP says:

    You’ve got a tough fight ahead of you. Congratulations on taking the first steps.

  12. SuziCate says:

    Wow. You are lucky to be a live after that pancreas scare. This was a very difficult post to write…kudos for you. Often, we first have to face things and come to terms with them vefore doing something about them. I am someone who also eats for comfort. It is a difficult process to break. Losing weight is not easy. My sister actually gained a lot of weight and was unable to take it off. She was having tremendous health issues and opted for the by pass surgery. It has been amazing for her. She not only feels good about herself, but she is able to do things she was unable to do. She is much healthier…doesn’t feel the strain on her body anymore. I can see the positive impact it has made in her life. I love seeing her smile and know that she is happy and feels good about herself. I once took a class at church that was along the lines of the book you are reading. I think it was called something like Out of Exodus (it’s been many years so I can’t really remember). I did lose about ten pounds on it, It had a video series with the workbook. At any rate, I wish you the best. The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with yourself. We must first love ourselves for other to love us freely. It’s hard not to feel defeated at times, but hang in there, you can do it. It’s also hard to ignore other people, but right now you need to focus on you because people who are mean or say nasty things really aren’t people you want to invest your time with no matter what your weight. You can do this…you’ve taken the first step and that is the biggest one of all! You go, girl!

  13. first of all, congratulations on surviving! that is an incredible story and i am always so blown away by people who have faced such tremendous difficulties and manage to get through it.

    And as for your other battle – i can tell you that opening up like this will be a very freeing thing for you. there is something about getting it out there that helps.

    the great thing is that you recognize what is causing the issue. although you can’t “fix” your metabolism you can def do things to help speed it up. but the emotional side of it, you can fix.

    that’s the good news.

    it will be a tough journey, but you are determined and that is half the battle. i mean, you’ve overcome bigger things than just your weight.

    remember that.

  14. Stacia says:

    Good for you for finding the courage to be so honest about this issue (with yourself and with us). And congratulations on your anniversary, albeit a very scary one.

    Do you know about this meme (http://tinyurl.com/298f35x) at Mommy Drinks Because You Cry? It might help to have the support of these wonderful bloggers as you work toward a healthier weight.

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