Sunday, January 18, 2015

I used to be Smaller…. So What!

Once upon a time about 10 years ago, I like most people in my age range I was a pretty slim teenager. I was very active, I participated in lots of extracurricular activities. I ran track, I was a part of the leader ship committee, I was on the Prom Committee, I participated in Each one Teach One, among several other activities. Me being active was my saving grace because my eating habits were absolutely atrocious, I was eating McDonalds, Burger King and Chinese food on a regular basis. There was no balanced diet in sight, I hardly ate veggies, I drank soda every day and asking me to drink water was almost the same as asking me to drink bleach.

Fast forward to my college days, Between eating a whole Domino’s pizza and pulling all nighters with limited to no exercise I managed to gain about 25 pounds my first year in school. Now, in High School I yearned to be a bit curvier. I wanted the hips and booty most of the other girls in my age range had and was so prominent in the music videos on the TV.  I was a late bloomer and the extra pounds made me feel more womanly. I was probably the only person that was happy about my extra undergrad weight.
Somewhere around 5 years post High School it hit me that I could not eat the way I had been my whole life and not gain weight. I was about 40 pounds heavier than my high school weight and I started to feel a bit insecure with my new body.  This was the most I have ever weighed and every time I turned around someone was talking about how “fat” I was. Now I never categorized myself as “fat”, a little curvier…. sure, fat, absolutely not. Fat to me means someone who is morbidly obese and severely out of shape.
Let me explain a little bit of my back story a little more. I grew up not knowing anything about a balanced diet, the veggies I ate were either doused in butter or cheese or made with some type of meat if we ate them at all. I drank soda EVERY SINGLE DAY. I had no idea the difference between a good carb and bad carb. I ate fried food on a consistent basis. I never ate whole wheat anything. I was stuck in my thinking that somehow it would taste different from white bread. Our fridge and freezer was stocked with all the latest junk food and quick frozen meals like Hot Pockets, Bagel Bites and chicken strips. Since I grew up in a household that pretty much survived off of fast food, I needed to learn to cook if I wanted to eat something otherwise. I begin to learn how to cook, but I learned to cook the staple meals in most southern inspired black households. I learned to make fried chicken, corn bread, baked mac and cheese among others. It was at a young age I learned I was a foodie and craved all types of food, I begin to make dishes like baked ziti and chicken stir fry when I got bored from the usual things I prepared.

So, about five to six years  post High school I went to the doctor and stepped on the scale and saw that I gained 50 Pounds since my senior year! I was shocked and embarrassed and immediately concerned for my health. I had no major health issues but asthma, and my cholesterol was a bit high. Which  my doctor let me know was bad considering my age but something that can still be fixed. I went home and did some research about ways to lower cholesterol. I found that the way I had been eating my whole life contributed to my current state, all the fried  and junk food finally caught up with me. I vowed to make a change in my lifestyle and try to eat healthier. I immediately joined a gym and begin a strenuous work out regime, I cut out all the soda, cut down on junk and fried food, begin to eat more fruits and veggies and SHOCKER begin to drink water.  Within a Month I begin to feel a change, I felt healthier and my body in turn looked better. I lost 31 pounds! I was so happy and not just because of my leaner shape but because I felt as good as I looked!

 It was during this time I met my  fiance. We meet online and fell in love and spent a lot of time in fancy restaurants, on vacations, cuddling and less and less time in the gym. In two years and lots of yo-yoing back and forth I gained back 20 pounds of the weight I loss. Even though I gained back some of the weight, My “Happy Weight” as I like to call it, I am still comfortable with my body. Do I have parts I would like to change? Of course what woman is completely happy with their body?  All I want is to be healthier.  I try to eat as well as can and exercise. If it leads to me losing some weight, then awesome! If it doesn’t I have to be okay  with that, everyone’s metabolism is not the same. I have come to terms with the fact that I may never be a size 8 again.
Now here’s the problem. Everyone else cannot seem to let go of my former slimmer self. Every time I show someone old photos the reaction is"OMG, what happened you used to be So Skinny?!?" Now I take this in stride but let me tell all the people out there, this is a RUDE thing to say to someone. I have looked in a mirror I know I am not the size I was as a teenager, I need people to get over that. I am a grown woman with curves that I love. You would never tell someone with adult acne that their skin was so clear when they were young, what happened? Most people would have enough common sense to know that this is not a nice thing to say to someone. I have no idea when the world decided that being an asshole was okay, but it needs  to stop people. It is not okay to comment on someone’s weight when they did not ask you your opinion about it.  Although I have tough skin imagine if I was a person struggling with body issues, telling me how fat I got does not help. I completely understand the concept of tough love but telling someone they are fat does not get them in the gym.  Commenting on how skinny I used to be is basically telling me I was somehow better before, and my current weight is not good enough. Weight is something that can be changed, however you never know what type of health issues someone may be going through.

We live in a society where a man can gain as much weight as he wants but if a woman gains weight she is letting her self-go. I actually had someone tell me that I need to lose some weight because at my current weight I would never find a man to marry me. This person was My Mother. *looks down at engagement ring* It is really sad  that we make a women feel less than if she is not an ideal size and put other women on a pedestal if she is the "ideal" size.

After almost 10 years of back and forth with my weight of being at my lowest and getting to a point of being comfortable in my own skin. I brush it off when people make snide comments about my weight, and even though I smile and take it in stride I call them an Asshole in my head.

By Electa Jonshon 
Twitter @Emazing17
Instagram @Emazing17

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