(The following post may contain affiliate links that help me to be able to continue running this site. )
So… A lot of people don’t know, that over the last 5 years I have gained over 60 lbs. It started to gradually happen in the first year, then it started to get very dramatic the second year, gaining 30 lbs in a few months. There were all kinds of things happening that contributed to this issue, and I didn’t really get any official answers from professionals, but I have lots of answers I’ve come up with on my own. The next three years my actual weight stayed around the same but increased gradually. I ended up feeling like I had doubled in size at my highest weight. To fully embarrass myself, and disclose the numbers, I stayed around a hundred in high school, stayed under 120 in college, and my highest, where my knees started hurting and I seriously did not recognize myself, was 180. That was recent.
I live an extremely isolated life at the moment, for a lot of reasons, but I don’t think many people who “know” me, have really seen me, to see the difference- for anyone reading this who doesn’t know, I am one of those people who has been effortlessly and hopelessly skinny all my life, until the 5 year struggle. Marriage, Adoption, Ministry, Money, and more, have all taken their toll. There aren’t really words to describe how it feels to look at the scale when your life is falling apart, and see a number that seems very close to 200lbs, when you have considered yourself to be very close to a hundred pounds, for so long. I mean, 80 pounds is like.. a lot! My dog is around ten and I cant imagine I have put on 8 of him.. mostly if not all, fat.
Maybe this is over the top, but I wanted to be honest so if anyone is reading this who is in a similar scenario, might be able to relate. I am sure there are people with much higher weights than this, or people who picture me as different than I really am, who would scoff at this as not even heavy, nothing to worry about, and that’s cool. I am only 5’4ish I think, although that is debatable and clearly I have no grasp on height because my license said 5’1 for about 5 years, then I got it updated to 5’4, I for sure thought I was shrinking too but my husband said I was at least 5’5 up against a measurement in home depot the other day. -but regardless, I can do better than this.
I have definitely had some cognitive dissonance as well as body dysmorphia, with all of this, and what I mean by the cognitive dissonance is that for a while there was nothing that could be done, there was just so much going on for me I didn’t have time to think about it or even get on a scale or even LOOK AT MYSELF, if you can imagine that. I set aside my health priorities for survival and emotional reasons. I basically just looked away from myself for a few years. There has also been the issue of being so wrapped up in the struggles of others and the unfortunate injustices of the world, that I wore sacrifice and stress like a badge of honor almost, and took pride in putting myself last. I went through a transformation where I wanting nothing to do with vanity, narcissistic tendencies, over sexualization, wanting to impress and perform for others- I wanted no part in any of this that I saw overflowing all throughout the culture. So I went the opposite route, and although I don’t regret much of it at all (hello ladies if you have never went years without altering your hair, embraced your real face, or decided to end the whole routine of shaving body parts, you are missing out on some true and natural luxuries in life!! ) but what I am saying is I found some important parts of me, and I learned a lot, but I lost the element of self care completely in my pursuits of being real , learning humility, and caring for others first. I am one of those people who feels selfish when I take care of myself, shouldn’t I be doing something for someone else with that time and money?! So I have a high focus on self care right now after I have run myself into the ground, I am just now starting to dig out.
And as far as the dysmorphia, this isn’t the right term exactly, because I’m not viewing my body as awfully flawed and going to take any drastic measures to have like a “perfect” body or anything, and I don’t mean that I’m imagining something terribly wrong with my body that I HAVE to change- I cant find the word for it but what I am trying to say is that I cant seem to envision my body correctly because of the abrupt changes and the stress. At first although I was rapidly expanding, I still saw myself as small and thin, and couldn’t grasp that I could not fit clothes, be picked up, fit through tiny spaces, and I kept running into things. I think pregnant women deal with this because of the rapid growth in a short time frame, but I don’t know if there is a word for this concept. Then as I started to be shocked by the reality of my size, I saw myself as this like giant monstrosity. It isn’t even my fault though, I can wear larges in both mens and womens clothing, and a lot of places I have shopped, nothing fits me correctly, even the fitting on some large items looks awful and tight and its like… are there not bigger people than me? where do those people shop, if I am trying on the highest size in some places…. are all the big people really in the extra large size realm and have to shop in certain places? I guess so, but still things like poor fashion design, unrealistic and varying size scales, and the fact we expect things to always fit us great with never any personal designing or tailoring.. its just weird and confusing. So I am seeing myself a bit more realistically now, I do not feel skinny or fat, just thick and a bit lumpy.
At this point its clear I just need balance in all areas of my life.
At first it was just… bizarre. Clothes wouldn’t fit and it was impossible to find anything to wear without looking either pregnant, or just… obscene. I had become more modest over the years, but this was just… ridiculous! I was busting out of everything, and creepy men out in public would leer at my body parts. I bought looser and looser clothing, my whole style changed into a new one, a comfortable, loose, flowy, forgiving one, and honestly I love it. But the way people started to treat me, I kind of felt… like I had sunk into a different bracket of people in the public eye. A bit over dramatic for sure, but there were A LOT of factors playing into this whole health issue, and, while I won’t be able to explain them here, It got annoying. I would constantly knock things off counters and tables with my hips, backside, breasts, and stomach. There is this one ledge in front of our sink, I have asked my husband approximately a million times never to set things there, but it is literally his favorite place to set things, and I have knocked over, spilled, and broken hundreds of things now.
Thigh chafe. AND The holes that wear into the thighs of jeans in a rapid amount of time. 90 percent of womens clothing is now off limits to me. I mean, I honestly love my style and my wardrobe, I’ll never go back to wearing tight womens jeans (I can basically only fit one pair of jeans now, GAP, and I always thrift them, I have two pairs although one has some serious thigh holes) no more fitted womens tshirts (mens section all the way). Plus i’m not a cleavage shower and like my butt to be sort of modestly covered but I digress. Things have become very simplified, there are only certain brands and styles I will even consider, and if the people who designed the shirt aren’t willing to give me a full sleeve, I wont even touch the thing. But before this derails into a whole post about how I hate most clothing and have all these little avenues I have to go down to get outfits in my “style”, Ill stop there and just say, … I got…. thick?
There’s no other way to describe it, but I still don’t recognize my body when I see it. My jaw drops when I see a photo of myself and I do double takes when I get out of the bath. It’s me…. but not a me that I’m used to. A softer, lumpier, bigger version of me. So some aging has taken place alongside the weight gain, and now I really don’t know who I am in relation to my body, am I old? Am I youthful? Am I…… FAT? Am I.. skinny(nope, not any more!), Am I cute? Am I hideous? WHO AM I AND WHAT AM I? I remember my nicknames working in a restaurant, FLACA and FLAQUITA, well people, I am flaca no more. So now I am… Gorda? Gordita?
I actually completely embraced my new self, once I found some clothes to put over all the new lumps and bumps and humps, (and rumps), and was just like fine, now nobody can pick me up and run off with me. And I thought I could just eat whatever now that I feel “big” and have looked and felt pregnant for 5 years(seriously all the symptoms, never a positive test), so whats the difference? It was actually weird how I consistently stayed this way, because I have either had emotional issues with food, or I have had A LOT of fasting. And my weight mostly stayed the same. It was weird how other people would eat whatever and stay the same, and I wouldn’t eat at all and still gain weight. So I have come to realize that there are a million, literally a million factors that go into weight gain and loss and maintenance, and I’m going to start looking into them with a bit more action. I have researched things for years, its time to DO.
So about the title of this post, I embraced my new thick self, and began to constantly make comments about “the wants and needs of the thick woman” and people always found it hilarious. I would do these little bits but I eventually realized I had developed the inspiration for my lil bits from Daryl Philbins line about Toby not understanding the wants and needs of the thick man, when Kevin was trying to decide who to buy cookies from. (The Office) and well I just new that theme would make a good blog post title for me to unleash all of this. I mean, it brought you here didn’t it?
I had crossed over into a new category of people, and although that category really varies depending on how people view me, I didn’t mind the physical appearance aspects ALL THAT MUCH, although I am definitely down playing the blow to self esteem that comes when you look pregnant for 5 years and cant seem to bring your first kid home. Especially when at this age range people constantly ask if you have children, and I’ve even been told Congratulations on occasion. It isn’t AS MORTIFYING as it would be for some, like when my son innocently and casually told me I had a beard(IT WAS ONE HAIR PEOPLE!) I can usually find humor in these scenarios or just keep going I mean what else can you do? wallow? I can’t wallow, hate to wallow.
Things that did start to bother me though:
Lack of energy, heavy fatigue, feeling weary and heavy.
Physical pain in many parts of my body
Lost a lot of my flexibility and developed terrible posture!
Started to get very weak, I force myself to do things, but never feel strong. like I can Rally and make myself do what needs to be done for the short term goals but I am constantly aware of my limits and weaknesses.
I had a few emergency situations where I realized I am not as strong or as fast or as capable physically as I would like to be in an emergency. Several years ago somebody tried to steal my car while I was passed out inside of it and although I was trained for these scenarios, I did not want to chance a potential altercation and made a run for it. As I ran to get help and my lungs burned fiercely and my legs wobbled like noodles, at one point I got dizzy and ran into a small twig of a tree and rolled down a hill I think it was in the snow, -I promised myself that I was going to get in a better shape(and this was when I was still pretty young and fit!) so that I could stand up for myself and others in emergencies or at least have the ability to escape!! But guys, that was 6 or 7 years ago and the situation has only gotten worse. If you need a reason to get fit and strong let this be the main one.
I am a bit embarrassed to see people because I’m not outside myself and cant see if its a shock or not for my new self to show up when people are expecting me to be my old self. I know that I don’t care AT ALL about what the average person thinks, and most people know that, but there are a few people whose opinions I do value, and don’t want to feel ashamed in front of them. Furthermore, a few people that I do care about made concerned comments, and I saw online that I am considered Plus Sized, and “Obese”. While I think this is mostly BS, it did hurt to hear concern from others, at what I had basically ignored and passively accepted.
The last thing I want anyone to think about me is that I am greedy or lazy. I strive with an extreme hustle to never be those things and I would hate for someone to look at my body and get those vibes. That isn’t me.
When I was in Uganda with my son, I could easily force myself to do the necessary lifting etc to help with his mobility, but it was a temporary trip, I want to be as strong as possible so I am never shaking or slacking when it becomes my full time gig. I also had a much more serious drive to be my best self, and to be prepped for any emergencies that might require physical strength or capabilities now that I will soon have a vulnerable child counting on me to care for them and keep them safe.
Speaking of my best self, while I rarely weigh myself or monitor the situation and have barely had time to pay attention to my ever evolving body, I did have the realization this year that I DO want to be my best self in every category, if possible. I can ignore this body and these issues, for as long as I want, but at the end of the day, IF I ask myself, am I doing the best I can for my body… the answer is always no. I would like to start taking steps to improve that.
I don’t really know how to put this, but I don’t like attracting the wrong type of attention. Its almost like the creepers out there who prey on “overweight” or certain types of women, are expecting me to have low self esteem and be an easy target? or something about my body attracts them? I don’t know and I don’t have the time, energy or desire to analyze it. Honestly a woman is never safe on this earth because before, I would attract too much attention because I looked young,(those pathetic creepers looking for underage girls) or because I looked HOWEVER -honestly you cant win. I seriously remember the looks and vibes I would get as a young teen from creepers, and this is a similar scenario, but its a different set of creepers? I don’t know, but I don’t want to be a part of it, and although there will always be creepers and there will always be SOMETHING about me that attracts people, (Its a burden every woman must carry simply for existing sadly,) My point is if I can scale back these new creepers a bit… I would like to.
I have dabbled in many diets, vegetarian and paleo being my favorites, but I have also struggled through a lot of freegan and survival phases where I just had to keep going and eat whatever just to exist and I want to be a bit more firm in eating to LIVE and not just eating to be ALIVE. I don’t like dissociating in my mind from my ideas about health and food based on money and survival. And while there isn’t a ton I can do about this, I am trying to make money as well. (more about that further down) I’ve got a lot in store this year, and I want to be more intentional about my life choices, and feed, quite literally, the right things.
Elaborating a tad on that last point, I am also sick of the financial struggles. I am happy to struggle for the right reasons, I truly am, but I don’t want to be worn down and have others struggle because we are all on a sinking ship and I cant seem to get it together. SO naturally I am using my weight loss and health goals as a fundraiser. Why anyone would expect anything less, I don’t know.
I’ve rambled a bit but let me get right to the overarching point. The next few years of my life, or however many I have left, I NEED to be a warrior. I HAVE TO. I have been called to and entered into some pretty DEEP challenges, and I NEED to and HAVE to be able to just.. CONQUER. I need to be physically, emotionally, spiritually, financially, ON POINT. And right now on an average day I feel like a 90 year old pregnant woman who is fading fast and barely getting through each minute. According to meme culture these days, this is normal for a lot of people, and although its nice to laugh and relate, somethings gotta give. I am not a meme. I am Stephanie. I am the queen of SUCK IT UP, but that also is part of the issue. I don’t want to just force myself through each day and each challenge, I want to DEMOLISH each obstacle with a FEROCIOUS STRENGTH AND ENTHUSIASM. Now a large portion of this strength will come from God, but I want to really do my part.
Also want to tackle those issues with putting myself first. I always want to put myself last. I am that nurturer caregiver type who sacrifices my own well being enough, to see the effects of years of this, as seriously detrimental. I have been called “The Ultimate Caregiver” and this is truth. I wanted to do something JUST FOR ME, and although a lot of my reasons still consider the well being of others, I want to make ME a priority. And not just when I get run down and decide to “treat myself” as if that will somehow revive me. I wanted to do something, that puts me at the front of it and says HEY LOOK I AM A PRIORITY. To myself. And hopefully this will help me to see myself as more of a human who deserves to also be cared for, later on in this journey. I also feel that putting some positive focus on my physical state will really brighten up my emotional and mental well being.
I freely admit, that my son, and then financial motivation, were the main attractions to my new health goals. I signed up for HEALTHY WAGE. You basically make a bet on your weight loss goal, and if you lose the weight, you win your money back PLUS an additional Cash Prize. I KNOW that the financial incentive of winning CASH, (while sacrificing my FAT), PLUS the motivator of not having money to LOSE, will be the best combination of motivation for me. I played around with the calculator to find the best prize I could win, and I am aiming to win $1,020. This will be used to pay off some adoption debt/upcoming adoption expenses. Side note since I haven’t felt like writing about it, we are currently doing an expedited home study update, and purchasing plane tickets for an additional court trip, extra visas and travel expenses, none of which was planned for or budgeted for.
I am excited to start this journey to kick start the new year.
I have planned to succeed in losing 35 lbs, by 10 months from now.
(Already excited to grub on Thanksgiving!)
I will have minimum $1020 to put towards adoption debt/expenses if and WHEN I SUCCEED. (That’s over 100% return on my investment, the thousand figure doesn’t include the money I put in which I will also be getting back)
I decided to do a lil giveaway to kick off the journey, create some awareness, and also see if anyone wants to support me or join me on this ride!
I have THREE of these AWESOME Bubba Double Wall Insulated 24 oz Tumblers with Straws, and I’ve come up with THREE ways you can win one. (How’s this for your New Years Goal of drinking more water?)
FIRST WAY: Share this post on your facebook profiles and pages, to help me spread the idea around, so hopefully more people will support me and or join me! (do me a favor and tag me in a comment of each share so I can keep track and don’t miss any!) Each Share equals one entry. I will draw a winner at the end of February. (You can share this on any social media really just tag me somehow so I don’t miss any of your entries.) Just copy the link and post in your status box.
SECOND WAY: Sign up for a Healthy Wage Challenge of your own, at the following link. You don’t have to commit to as much money or weight as I did, obviously this is your own journey and if you have been wanting to do something different this year, now is your chance! Bet on yourself, and do what you need to do to, to lose that weight, look and feel better, and get some prize money too!! Drawing the winner for this one at the end of March, so get on it!! oo- and send me a message or something after you sign up- because this is an affiliate link and won’t tell me who signed up! https://goo.gl/eyqEQEWin Up To $10,000 In Cash Prizes While Getting Healthy. PLUS get $100 Prize Boost from 1/24/19 through 1/31/19!
The reason this method is so motivating is a) you don’t want to LOSE money and b) you want to GET money. Double motivation of not losing AND gaining. People like to get paid and they like to win things and they hate to lose money. Makes sense. Plus imagine the feeling of success when you get money, a new body and a healthier lifestyle! : )
THIRD WAY: Sign up to pledge any amount on my weight loss Goal at my Pledge It Fundraising Page. Drawing the Winner for this one at the end of April, I thought I would do one drawing/winner per month, for the next three months, to keep the ball rolling on this whole thing! https://pledgeit.org/steph
So its a great cup and now you know how to win one fo free! (Jake loves his he takes it to work every day. )
There is a small problem though… I got very comfortable with my chunky self… the thickness.. its a part of me. I am not even sure if I want to lose that thickness… In a way, I like it, and I have accepted it, but I do need the money and I do want to see what it would be like to take my health up a few notches. So my husband asked what would I even look like with all that weight gone (I guess he doesn’t remember me when we met in like 2009?!) and he gave me the once over like he was trying to figure out what would be gone. I told him I’m losing everything but the belly. ; )
I think I will miss the thickness… but I would like to be thick like a chicken breast or a tree trunk and have less mashed potato vibes…. I mean… whats the worst that could happen, I can just gain weight back if needed… right? Is that how it works? It seems like it would be easy to gain the weight back. And hopefully if I gained the weight BACK, it could be… BETTER WEIGHT? I would rather try it out and have a thousand bucks on hand.
Another issue though, is that I have never been on a diet and don’t really understand what a calorie is. So this should be interesting. Like… There is good fat and bad fat, good carbs and bad carbs, good calories and bad calories…. so why is this such a confusing mess and how have people been living in this diet and fitness world all these years and I have avoided it? I don’t know how to diet and a lot of fitness bores me, so I am just going to try to incorporate healthy decisions and a lot of hard work into shedding some depression and emotional issues, getting rid of some life stress… and turning that fat into cash money and health?! … 🙂
So I will see you in November with a smaller gut and a thick wallet. (then I will make some debt payments/travel plans and the wallet will be thin again) But I am hoping and praying above all else that my son will be home by then, because at that point it will have been 6 years and 3 months since we met him.!!!!!!!!!!!!
I will be updating definitely monthly, hopefully more than that, but I am pretty sure I will have two more international trips this year and also, finally, officially become a mother.
Think about if you want to join me on this journey!
I am excited and grateful in advance for your support in this next chapter of my life!!! THANK YOU! : )
Enjoy this adorable photo of my beloved Chocolate Drop and have a lovely day! 😀