Pour Your Heart Out: Weight

May 18, 2011

I was soooooooo relieved a few weeks back when I poured my heart out about feeling lonely sometimes and you gals comforted me, sympathized and shared what’s happening in your life.
Seeing as this blog is for real women who deal with weighty issues (pun intended),
I wanted to broach the topic of weight, and… I’m sharing my number.

{ps: this is me again participating in Pour Your Heart Out from The Things I cannot Say.}

First of all… weight: UGH!

It’s soooooo frustrating sometimes.
It’s how we look, it’s the stupid number that gets so many women riled up.
Is it up, is it down… do I weight less than her?! 
Most women are lying if they say they’ve never compared themselves to another woman and felt a teeny tiny satisfaction knowing they weigh less than the other. Don’t lie.
Heck, I’ll admit it: I have, and I’ve come to realize how absurd that is. No one is like me.
She could be five inches taller, have breasts three times the size of mine, anything. Why am I comparing??

At 31-years-old I need to know it’s pointless.
I’m over it. At least, I’m going to try my damnedest to be!
This is who I am. A 124-lb. woman who is proud of her body. I have to be.
This body is my vessel taking me through life. In just two years it’s carried a baby and has come back from paralysis. It’s created life and overcoming freaking paralysis. Pretty incredible.

About me: I’m a Weight Watcher lifetime member who’s lowest weight hovered around 115 pounds. In remember in elementary and middle school I was always the girl who was a little overweight,
and in high school and college I was always in the 140s. Not the 1-teens or 120s like the “popular girls.”

I remember talking in high school to a best friend (an adorable little thing who must have weighed nothing and ate more carbs than you could imagine)… she told me this awful story about how her brother had a party and put some crappy note on the door that only women under 120 lbs could enter. I just said how obnoxious and moved on. Yet, 15 freaking years later I still remember that conversation. Why? Because, I, at 140ish lbs, would not have been invited inside my best friend’s door.
I guess that’s what started my “number fixation.” Thanks, dude.
After college in 2002, I got a desk job that caused my thighs to expand and my pants to practically bust at the seams. A clasp even broke off the waistband. Embarrassing truth.
Can’t believe I’m posting this: here’s me in early 2002. Did I not realize this dress didn’t fit??
Soon after, during a random doctor visit  the nurse had to move that little thing on the scale from the 100 to 150 bracket. I knew in that moment that I needed to do something.
My size 12 pants were getting awfully tight.
Weight Watchers was hugely successful. I started at 153 and went down to about 115 at my lowest.
Here’s me at a bridal shower in 2003, I believe.

WOW, check out that chick’s jawline and little waist! haha.

Cruel life (weight) truth:

Just because you’re thin — and at your supposed dream weight — doesn’t mean you’re happier.
After being a size 10 my whole life, it took me years to see the woman I am now. I’d pick up clothes that were a size 6 or 8 thinking it was me, but I was typically a size 2. Body dismorphic disorder for sure. And, it was at my thinnest that I compared myself the most. Weird, right?
I noticed dimples on my thighs that looking back, I don’t remember agonizing over when I was “bigger.”
I think, how could I have been happier at that weight? Yet, I was. Had friends, had boyfriends.
I’m sharing this because I know many of us struggle with our weight. I’ll be honest. My goal is 120 pounds, three pounds less than where I’m at. HOWEVER, I’d be thrilled to stay where I am if I could be more toned and fit. It’s something I’m working on (did pilates this morning!).
Focus on being healthy. I recognize I needed to lose weight years ago and am happy I did so. It knocked my cholesterol below 200 for the first time in my life. I eat healthier and am more conscious of myself. That’s what it’s about. Not the number, not the spots on your body that you wish were different.

LISTEN UP:
Do not let your weight consume you and be who you are. Do not be so hard on yourself.
If you have a bad meal, weigh more than you want or have thighs with a few dimples, deal with it. LIVE.
I know now I rather enjoy great meals than be five pounds less. You might disagree with me, and that’s fine, but to me that’s living life and enjoying it.

After going through what I have these past two years I’ve learned we can’t keep bringing ourselves down about our body. “I look so fat in this outfit,” yada, yada, yada.
It’s so damn consuming, negative and miserable.
Stop yourself, and instead find something — anything — about yourself that you’re happy about and say it aloud. Believe it.

You are who you are. Embrace it.

(thanks for listening)


 
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  • The Chronicles of a Monster-in-Law

    Loved. This. Post. I have a very similar story to yours although my high end was more in the 175 region, I'm currently in the 150's and my goal is 130….20 pounds to go…blech, I know. But I am kinda on the tall side so I'm actually fairly happy, I don't feel an overwhelming need to lose weight. Like you said, if I could be toned and 140, I'd be perfectly happy. This post completely reinforced that I need to find the weight where I'm happy and content, what feels natural for me without fixating on comparing myself to others.

  • Ramya

    Loved every bit of this article. Am in my high 140's.. And struggling to lose weight~ Its tough to workout on weekdays when I end up working 8 hours or more.. But am going to try hard but not so much that am only obsessed about weight and not happiness!! :) I need to lose 25 pounds to be the perfect weight for my height! :0 but reading u r article I just understand that losing weight isnt everything in life! common we need a break ;)

  • Fashion By Alicia

    Thank you for you post! I have struggled with weight for a while now. I dropped to the lowest I had ever been in college (a size 2)and throughout law school put the weight on. Last fall I was in size 16 -18 pants (the largest I have ever been), I realized it was time to get healthy. I started Weight Watchers online and have dropped 44 pounds. I may not be my ideal weight, but like you said I am healthier now that I have been and that feels great. Thanks again for sharing.

  • L C

    Since January I have lost about 10 pens on top of r that I had previously lost. And although I still have more to loose I should be thrilled at my progress, but when I look in the mirror I still see a chubby girl with too many rolls. And quite honestly no matter how thing I get I will probably always see myself that way because that is themindset I am used to. Too many of us judge ourselves by our weight. We put to much worth into the numbers on the scale and really its pretty sad. Whenever I feel bad I just try to remind myself how far I've come, and that no matter what my weight is I still have a husband, family and friends who love me.

  • sarah

    LOVE YOU!

  • Alexandra

    Thanks for sharing. Weight sucks. In the end it's about finding a balance of being happy, healthy, and comfortable in your own skin. It's an uphill battle… but I hope to get there eventually. I stay happier by avoiding bikini shopping at all costs… there's nothing worse than a tiny bikini and those horrible mirrors/lighting.

  • Sandy a la Mode

    i feel like i am in a constant battle with my weight!! i always feel too fat for things.. but really i need to just embrace my body and be happy!!

  • Shell

    Oh, I so relate to this post! I have beat myself up for a number and seen myself in the mirror as being much bigger than I actually am.

    I've learned to embrace what I look like, though. I might never get back to my teeny tiny self, but I can be happy where I am!

  • {be merry} kate

    You are inspiring my dear! I'm at that point right now where I am working my way back down after a few years of not paying attention (or caring to). Now that I've been dieting though, I get worried as I get REALLY upset when I cheat. Deciding to cheat isn't a big deal, actually cheating isn't a big deal. But once I'm finished cheating, I'm not a happy camper. Thankfully, it could be much worse. But I need posts like yours to remind me that it is OKAY! So thankya love!

    *kate

  • Bonnie

    I love you even more now.
    I never look at the scale. NEVER. Not even when I go to the doctor's office. I always tell them not to tell me what the number is because I know that I will fixate on it and let it consume me and then I won't eat and then I'll pass out … Whole big thing.
    In high school, I was totally obsessed with my weight and was even borderline anorexic because, sometimes, I just wouldn't eat. I was already sickeningly thin, but I had it in my mind that I had to be at a certain weight to be considered "normal."
    I don't care about that anymore. Numbers are stupid, and I know that muscle weighs more than fat, anyway. And I'm a damn beast.
    Oh, and we're both hot bitches, so the haters can suck it.

    http://www.glamkittenslitterbox.com/
    Twitter: @GlamKitten88

  • fojoyisannoyed.com

    Great post!
    I am currently 185lbs, and I have been much heavier, and I have been much thinner – but I have come to realize that this is where my body likes to be.
    I eat (mostly) healthy, and I work out several times/work, and I am healthy. I try not to get too worked up that I am still overweight.

  • Nanci

    Thanks so much for your sharing your story. After years of yo-yoing, I've figured at what weight my body is happy and healthy. If I go above that, I lay off the desserts for awhile and if I go below, great! It means I can have more dessert!

  • Kim

    Yes it's true we all compare with each other but are we using the right variables? When I'm honest with myself, I too have to give myself a pat on the back for all that this body has done for me!

  • Erin

    Alyson, Our stories are so similar! I was never heavy as a child, but quickly started "pushing maximum density" in college. I'm 5' 4.75" and got up to 148 lbs. For those not familiar with the BMI scale, that's 1 pound away from being classified as "overweight". That's what did it for me. I marched myself right into a Weight Watchers meeting and had immediate and huge success on the program. I lost 30 pounds in less than 6 months and have kept it off for almost 2 years now.

    BUT I know what you mean about not necessarily being happy just because you're thin. I would be lying if I said that being thin doesn't have its perks, but it also has some drawbacks as well. Just like you, I am WAY more conscious now of my weight than I ever used to be. I obsess sometimes over the scale. I love WW, though, because it really taught me about portion control, healthy (whole) foods, and also gave me the confidence of knowing that I CAN DO IT. This gives me peace because even if I go to Florida for a week and come home 11 pounds heavier (7 after the initial bloat went away), I know I can get right back down to my goal.

    Unfortunately, I pay way more attention to my weight now than I ever did. And I'm not happy if I'm not at my goal. That's a little bit sad, since I look great, whether I'm at my goal exactly or not.

    I'm going to really think about what you said. Your words are wise, but easier said than done :) Good luck to you, good luck to me, and good luck to every woman who's ever thought about her looks at all (so every woman).

    Thanks for writing this, and for your honesty!

  • Alyson

    Wow, love reading all of your comments. Wish there was a good way for me to write back to everyone because your words have touched me so and reminded me that this weight journey is not an easy one. Ups and downs, comparisons, confusion, frustration, it's all there.

    Thank you for sharing your stories with me. — alyson

  • Tara @ Haute Lunch

    What a great post! Thanks for sharing this, because we all definitely think it! I have always struggled with weight as well. I've never been heavy to the point that I was unhealthy, but I'm usually wishing I could be a little smaller. I really got obsessed with my weight shortly after high school and dropped to 132lbs (which, for a 5'7" muscular volleyball player, isn't a lot). I was around a size 4 back then, and my mom definitely thought I was TOO skinny. Since then, I've mostly bounced between 145 and 155 (which is what I currently weigh), but I've tried to become more concerned with my health than what my scale says. I would love to get back down to a size 6 or 8, but I'm ok being a 10 for now. Hopefully the shredding and beach volleyball will be enough to help me drop 10lbs! :)

    Thanks again for this post- I think so many women struggle with weight, but many rarely talk about it.

  • Kimaloo

    I think the last time I weighed 124 pounds, I was in the 5th grade! lol

    But seriously, as someone who has always been heavy, it took a lot of years and a lot of failed diets, doctors, medications, and programs for me to realize I'll never be that envied size 2 thanks to my medical condition. The smallest I've ever been in my adult life was a 12 and I was completely miserable! I was very self conscious and constantly comparing myself to other women just like you described. I was always worried about my thighs being too thick or my butt too big, my arms jiggly or my tummy puffy… you name it, I stressed about it.

    But when I turned 25, something just kind of clicked and I stopped worrying about the number on the scale and more about how my body FELT instead of looked. I just try to eat the healthiest food choices and work out a few times a week. I feel my best when I'm somewhere between 185 and 200 but you know what? That's ok because I'm actually happy and I feel good most of the time. I love me, chub rolls and all, and that is what matters the most. :o)

  • oh, rebecca.

    I have been up and down with my weight a LOT throughout my life. My "thinnest" was when I was working on/living on a horse farm and dogwalking as a second job. In between all the physical activity, I also never had any money to eat, so lived on apples and popcorn and pink lemonade. I was 140. I was muscled from all the work, and I wore a bikini for the first time that summer. 8 years later, I'm 40 lbs heavier (ugh) and in a constant cycle of losing 10-15 lbs and gaining it back. At this point, I am on the verge of not caring about the scale and just focusing on my health and feeling healthy. I'm not the heaviest I've ever been, and I'm not the thinnest I've ever been. I don't really feel like myself right now in the weight/shape I'm in, but my boyfriend loves me and my body no matter what, and I love myself, so that's all that really counts.

    For what it's worth, I honestly think you look better in the 2002 picture than in the 2003 picture… but that's just me. And you're gorgeous regardless, so there's that to consider :-P

  • Heather Pranitis

    At the age of 34 I've accepted that I won't be 118 pounds again (age 21). I'm currently 148 and would love to be 128. Three years ago with the help of a personal trainer and eating very well, drinking lots of water I dropped down to 132 and was super toned – loved how I looked. I will get back to this. Perserverance, belief and faith in myself and ability to succeed! I know what I need to do but, I'll admit combining the workouts (without a personal trainer) and changing what I eat and drink isn't going to be fun, not at all. But, I'm going to do it. I really think its important for anyone trying to lose weight not to obsess about it and remember you do look fabulous. And its crucial to set realistic goals, seriously realistic, so that you can succeed. I've never done Weight Watchers and I might have too. By the way, I think you look great and I want to say thank you so much for sharing this post.

  • Lia

    Love this post, thank you so much Alyson for being brave enough to touch such a difficult topic for women! I am so proud of you for taking charge and losing weight! I am struggling too, and am about a size 12 too. I have accepted I'll never weigh 110 again, like I did in high school. But, I wouldn't mind being a healthy size 6 again! I've started running and hiking more recently, and I'm hoping that it helps. I eat healthy, but I just don't exercise as I sit at a desk all day long.
    You are an amazing and inspiring woman, and I cannot thank you enough for writing this post.
    xoxoxo
    Lia

  • Nicki

    This article really hit close to home. I too have struggled with weight issues my entire life, especialy in my current late 20's. I really appreciate your honesty in your writing. It takes a lot of courage for someone to be so completely honest. Just another reason why you are absolutely fabulous :)

  • outlaw4ever1967

    How totally sad that ALL of us are SO obsessed with our weight and appearance! Daily I freak over the too tight dress or the pants that no longer fit as a result of the 20 lbs I have gained since menopause. My boyfriend gets insulted when I do this as he says I look beautiful to him. When I think about it he has gained a few lbs too but I don't look at that in him only how wonderful he makes me feel. We should ALL lighten up!

  • Tiffany

    Wonderful post and so desperately needed!

    On another note… I found your blog through Erin and read your post on Haute Lunch. Another blogger from Florida? Yay!!

  • Alyson

    Oh Rebecca: hope you find the ability to love where you're at right now.

    Lia: way to start moving again. It's finding things you like to do so you feel your best, regardless of where your weight is.

    Nicki: so glad you read and commented. It's a challenge for everyone, and something we need to be honest with ourselves about.
    Outlaw: definitely need to lighten up. Yes, you're a little heavier than you want to be. It's like we either need to make a conscious decision to do something or just embrace the beautiful woman you are now and say thank you for the compliments from your bf! :)

  • Jill

    I love this.

    I am so proud of you for realizing that being healthy and being skinny are two different things. We have such a warped view in this country and it's damaging generations of young people.

    Enjoy life, enjoy good food and enjoy your body for the marvelous machine it is.

  • kuka

    Thanks for sharing! Loved it! :O)

  • Jan Norris

    Terrific read. I hope all moms out there share this with their teen girls; I worry most about them. It's where these crazy self-deprecating patterns start, sadly – and it's heartbreaking to imagine carrying a negative image of yourself for so very long. We've got to set examples for our young people and teach confidence and happiness with who we are, where we are and what we have.

  • Erin

    Alyson, I saw your comment about wishing you could respond to peoples' comments. May I suggest switching to Disqus? I switched awhile back and it was the BEST blogger thing I've ever done. I can personally respond to people and an email gets sent to them when I respond (not when another comment is made about the post…just when a response to their comment is made). It was an easy transition. If you go to the Disqus website, it guides you through the process.

  • Kimberlee

    Aw such a great post :) I think all women struggle with the number issue. I know I did in high school. I thought a certain number was SO FAT and now I'm 5 pounds heavier than that and love it! I have boobs (which I didn't have before) and curves. I definitely agree that we should focus on being HEALTHY and not a certain size. You can feel great in a size 8 or 10 or higher instead of a 2.

  • Johanna

    This is a great post…thanks for being so honest. It's especially a good reminder as a new mom who often wonder how these celebrities bounce back so fast. So true…everything you said! xo

  • M.J

    This was awesome! I found myself nodding my head while reading because it's soo true! I've always had a weight issue and now that I'm 30 my focus is starting to shift from being thinner to being healthy. I realize that no matter how much dieting I do, I will never be smaller than a 12 and that's okay! I'd rather be healthy in the long run and than be unhealthy and stress over numbers (like weight!)

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  • littleblacksweats.com

    I’m just catching up on these blogs, as I unfortunately, was not one of the 3 people that read back then. My loss! It was like reading my biography. I can remember all the hurtful things people said about my weight or comments they made about girls, who I thought were actually skinny. Why do our psyches let us hold onto that shit? To this day, I rarely have pictures taken of myself or post any of myself (as you well know by my own blog!), but I will say that the few times in my life when I have been really small, I have been miserable. Now, I am happily married with two beautiful boys and skills I didn’t even know I had, and have so much joy in my life. I’m getting better and realize that being “fluffy” and being happy can go hand in hand. Thanks for the post. You rock girlfriend!

  • http://www.facebook.com/karrie.smith3 Karrie Smith

    I’m looking at this post at the date it should post with. I can totally relate. In 5th grade I got a little chubby (i’m short, today I’m 5′ exactly), and that’s when I started staying indoors more and playing outside less. I got what I call fat, and in the 9th grade my heaviest was 134, but I was huge. Plus I wore glasses, braces, and had a horrible perm. I’m also a red head, and I got picked on a lot. I decided to “diet’, which really turned into obsessive dieting, binge eating after starving all day, and I had memorized the fat grams in practically every food. I got down to 103 lbs and was happy with my weight, but it was never enough. An event in my life, caused to me to weigh 89 pounds after the hospital, and I slowly got back up to 105 and stayed there for many years. I turned to chemicals that I knew that would help me lose (or stay the same) weight. At 26 I became a RN. Since I was busy running up and down the hall, I was still my 105 pounds. I was never happy with my weight. I always thought I was fat. At 30, I began to lose weight, and stopped nursing for awhile so I could care for my sister with cervical cancer. Sadly, she couldn’t beat it, and died when I was 31. She was hospice for almost two months, and family brought over SO much food. I got back up to 130, but I wasn’t as fat as I was in middle school. I was sporting some very ill-fitting clothes, but I didn’t really care at the time. Somewhere along the way, I lost the obsession to worry about my weight. Today I am 118, not thrilled but not beating myself up about it,,,,, but I try to embrace the fact that I have cleavage and what I wear looks good on me. I also have to remember that I thought I was fat when I was skeletal looking. I am going back to nursing, and I know that I will be at a healthy weight again, but I am so grateful that the obsession is gone. There is a “fat day” thrown in there to throw me off a bit every few months, but it’s not a daily struggle anymore. I appreciate your post. I look at you in your black dress, and was expecting you to say something good! Your dress DOES fit!! You are a beautiful woman! I feel like your pictures represent what my body looks like at my weight now, and the second would be like my lowest weight. Somewhere along the way we are taught that we are “beautiful” at our lowest weight. That’s where I was happier with my appearance. Who doesn’t love wearing a size 1 or 3, when your friends are 5-11? But I truly think you are beautiful and curvy in the black dress, and your smile is gorgeous and will be no matter what size your body is.

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