Whole30 Day 4 — The Double Body

This is me three years ago and 15 pounds slimmer than I am now (Feb. 21, 2013). Dang, I'm cute!

This is me three years ago and 15 pounds slimmer than I am now (Feb. 21, 2013). Dang, I’m cute!

Eight years ago and 30 pounds heavier, taken on my birthday (mark it on your calendars!). I look happy, don't I? Well, since I'm a writer let me just quote you this one: don't judge a book by its cover. My weight limited my life; my SIZE stopped me from living.

Eight years ago and 30 pounds heavier, taken on my birthday (mark it on your calendars!). I look happy, don’t I? Well, since I’m a writer let me just quote you this one: don’t judge a book by its cover. My weight limited my life; my SIZE stopped me from living.

All my life I’ve had a “double body” (as opposed to a “body double”). Or thought I did. I’ve pictured myself as at least double the size of everyone else, and that has shaped my life (pun intended). I’ve fulfilled that vision by pursuing a poor diet of junk food and lots and LOTS of sugar, until I became a size where I was actually MORE than double the size of a healthy-weight adult.

I was a tall kid. By fifth grade I was 5’6″ and taller than the female teachers in my school. Most of my friends in elementary school told me I was fat or mentioned it at some time during those years. The boys teased me about it (which really helped my shyness), and a neighborhood mom even told me, in front of her teenage son and a bunch of boys from my small town, to “go home and tell your mom you need a bra.” I was in fourth grade (yeah, she helped me out a lot).

But when I look back at photos of me at that time, I wasn’t even close to being fat.

Back row, pink and white striped shirt (I LOVED that shirt!). That's me, thinking I was huge and fat. I'm even slightly hunched, trying to be shorter.

Back row, pink and white striped shirt (I LOVED that shirt!). That’s me, thinking I was huge and fat. I’m even slightly hunched, trying to be shorter.

So, even though my mom told me repeatedly, “You’re NOT fat,” who believes their mom? I wore bigger clothes, bigger shoes than most of my girlfriends. Some of my clothes and shoes were twice as large as my friends’. I was fat.

I had my only child when I was 21 and gained 60 pounds during my pregnancy. I never lost it. Not totally. And I just continued to eat like the fat person I now truly was, and I hated my body size and myself every step of the way.

Decades of Weight Watchers, Weigh Down Workshop, a medical weight loss program, T.O.P.S. and other diets only kept me focused on the scale. I lost weight, but I wasn’t healthier. I was dependent on sugar substitutes for weight loss, I ate tons of non-fat dairy and fake cheese, and I binged.

My life was ruled by my SIZE. I stopped doing social things. I stopped living life and started getting older than my years with aches and pains, hot flashes, mood swings (sour, sour moods), headaches, back aches, aching joints, sleep apnea, and NO energy. Every diet I tried made all those things worse. I lost some weight and some size, but I didn’t really ever feel good.

Today, I’m still double the size of a healthy-weight adult. But I don’t care. I’m 30 pounds under my highest weight, and part of that is because I lost a few pounds on my first Whole30 and have maintained that loss. I have a closet full of “thinner” clothes from back when. And when I lose weight, as I will continue to do by eating consciously, following the Whole30, and a then eating a smart Paleo diet, I’ll fit into them again. But my body size isn’t my focus now.

My focus now is to have the energy I need to make it through the day. If I get moody, or suddenly have a drop in energy, I evaluate what I ate that day and I don’t eat it again. My skin is clear, my energy levels are up, my thoughts are clear, my creativity is up, most days my depression and anxiety are improved, my mood swings are gone, I’m more social more often, and I feel the best I’ve felt since I was a kid.

Double body? Yes, still.            Do I care? Nope.           Happy? Truly.