The Cold Hard Truth

I came to an uncomfortable realization yesterday about myself and I really want to share it. I hope that my words come out the way I want them too because as I was dwelling on this topic at 4 in the morning I thought that I probably wasn’t the only one struggling with this. I have been holding on to an in- security blanket for the past several years and although I’m terrified, I think it’s time to let it go. The issue is that this blanket is a manifestation of my insecurity and I have securely gone back to it several times when the going gets tough. This blanket is not Michael Jackson’s youngest son, though I think it’s about the same size. This blanket is my extra weight. And I’ve held onto it throughout my twenties for reasons I think I’m finally willing to admit to myself.

I was always a fairly thin person growing up, but I always struggled to keep my weight down. When I was young I was really active, but that activity dwindled as I discovered a great love for TV and no longer lived in the country where I could run through the fields pretending I was Laura Ingalls Wilder. (Oh come on, like I’m the only one) As I got older, I mostly controlled my weight by vomiting, though this wasn’t really bulimia so much as it was my constant stomach pain, ulcers and IBS. (Good times people, good times) I dated a very thin guy through high school and much of college and I think that really made me focus on staying slim because I certainly didn’t want to weigh more than my boyfriend. After we broke up I started dating someone who was a junk food junkie. It’s not his fault that I ate junk, but I ate like a man and the pounds started piling on. I’d exercise a little, but I was pretty much sedentary in college, aside from walking to class, and when I moved off campus, there was very little walking anywhere. When my Mom died I understandably went off the deep end and I took a semester off of school. During this time I put on about 30 more pounds, in addition to the 20 I’d packed on the previous year. After I graduated I lived in the land of cheese and beer (hello Wisconsin!) and I imbibed in all of these things, all while half-assedly exercising when I couldn’t fit in my pants. Moving to Maryland added to the depression and in 2004 when I started with the Government I topped out at 210 lbs. Wow, that was really hard to type and admit to those who don’t know it. On Columbus Day 2004, I vowed to get in shape. I joined Weight Watchers, I followed the Couch to 5k running plan, and I worked out every day after work with Marc, using his tried and true “no excuses” policy, even though I desperately wanted to make excuses. It took about 18 months, but I got down to 155 lbs and wore size 10 pants, which I was happy with, and I was fairly active. Then I went to AMO School, newly engaged, running daily, and surrounded by Marines who noticed how cute I was. And I allowed myself to fall into the trap of vanity, feeling like I was attractive and thinking that it would be easier to start all over instead of marry a person that I carried so much baggage with (weight, emotions, history, etc). This whole ordeal made me physically ill, and when I returned to Maryland I weighed 136 lbs, which honestly, doesn’t look that great on me. But I felt pretty because I was getting a lot of male attention, but I was a mess inside. A complete and total emotional wreck, but damn, I was a shiny penny. Although I tried to continue running, I didn’t maintain a “no excuses” policy and as the weather got colder, I got warmer, inside by the fire with a box of cookies. My weight started creeping up right after I met Mircea and even when I lived in sunny San Diego I managed to continue to gain weight, despite working out with a personal trainer and half-heartedly running a couple of 5ks. My heart just wasn’t in it anymore. And since then, I’ve been on the upswing. Sure, I lose a couple of pounds here and there, but I don’t really keep up with much longer than 30 days. I did 30 days of P90x, 30 days of the Biggest Loser challenge on base, and 30 days of making excuses after I had knee surgery. I’m just done with this bullshit. I am back up to 189 pounds and I’m completely, totally, dissatisfied with my size 16 pants.

The reason I’ve shared this whole long story is that it comes to the biggest reason I’m scared to lose weight: I’m scared of the person I could become. I know who I am now. I have spent years of my life with my shoulders slumped and my eyes to the ground, afraid of who I am. I was almost comforted by being a fat bride because I felt that it’s what I deserved.

Fat & Happy

I am self-deprecating to a flaw, but only because it allows me to protect myself from the judgment of others. If I tell others how unattractive I am, I can beat them to the punch and I won’t get hurt. If I stay lazy and chunky I will always have that as an excuse. If people don’t like me, it’s because I’m fat. If my husband leaves me for someone else, it’s because I’m fat. It’s ridiculous. It’s not to say that I’m prefect by any means, but I finally feel like I got through all of the bullshit of my youth. No more co-dependent relationships, jealousy, competitive friendships and wild mood swings. That’s so 2006. But this last little (ok big) thing just seems too hard to let go of. It is my security blanket of insecurity and if I let it go I’ll have nothing to hide behind. I feel like I’ll be more vulnerable and I’m afraid to death of it.


I’m smart enough to know that my fears are a little bit silly, but that they aren’t insurmountable. I learned a lesson the hard way but it’s not something I will do to myself ever again; or to the ones that I love. I know that it’s going to be hard to get to day 31 and beyond in diet, exercise and sanity. But I know it’s worth it. And I also have to remind myself that even if I can’t fit in a certain pair of jeans or have my girlfriends compliment how pretty I am, it doesn’t mean that I don’t have value. I think I’m finally ready to stop hiding behind a layer of warmth and stand in the light for myself. It wouldn’t be so bad if my sparkly interior was mirrored by a sparkly vampire-in-the-sun exterior. Without the angst. Damn those angst filled vampires.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Leslie
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 15:44:33

    I’m right there with you! I was lucky to have been thin through high school and college without having to do much to stay that way. When I got my first job in public accounting I put on 30 pounds over that first year (probably closer to 40-45 but no way I was gonna step on scale at my heaviest) because of extreme stress, horrible hours and really bad eating habits. After I left the first place I got strict with my eating and managed to get within 15 of my starting weight but then my mom passed away and between comforting myself with food and booze I was right back where I started. I’ve yo-yoed a bit since then but now I’m really ready to get serious about it because I deserve to look good, and more importantly feel good. Thanks for writing this post Kate, it always makes you feel better to know you’re not the only one. =)


  2. Chanel
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 15:45:04

    You have so much wonderful on the inside, you can look however you want on the outside. I’m glad you want to be healthy though…your kids will appreciate it (when you have them). It’s great that you have such a positive attitude and supportive husband. I wish nothing but the best for you!


  3. Chanel
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 15:57:33

    You were beautiful in your wedding pictures(fyi) 🙂


  4. Lori Thibos
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 16:03:48

    I too have had a hard time with the weight thing. I was anerexic in hs, gained my freshman 15 and was happy. Down the road I married the wrong guy and while he was in Iraq, I packed on the pounds. After that went south I grew my hair out and tried to move on. When I got back together with my hs sweetheart, I started to loose a bit. We had a little boy and by the time he was 1 i lost all the weight and then some…I looked alright for our wedding, and then I was down to 155. I then got pregnant with our second boy and am still struggling with weight loss. I weigh 175…I did the p90x for about 60 days and then i was stressed with the move and what not. I don’t see my weight as a security blanket, but I struggle with it. Right now, I don’t see myself lossing anytime soon. I am trying to just be happy here. I don’t think that i’m fat persay, but I know that I will never be skinny. As long as I don’t gain anymore, I am okay with that. Hope things work out for you!


  5. Alison Haffner
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 16:33:31

    how beautifully raw! i admire your honesty and vulnerability in this post! i’ve also wondered if my weight was some sort of security and if i’ve self-sabotaged weight loss attempts. i’ve heard that when you don’t lose weight it’s bc you subconsciously don’t want to lose it. i have yet to figure out my reason though.
    on a lighter (no pun intended) note, isn’t it crazy to look at old high school pictures and remember thinking, oh my thighs look so big- when now i would KILL to have thighs that tiny!
    good luck! and remember you’re definitely not alone!


  6. Missy
    Jan 17, 2011 @ 16:53:43

    Well, I do think you look great, but I don’t think that was the point of your post. 🙂 I am stuck in a rut right now with my weight, after losing 20 lbs this fall. I still have more to lose, and I want to, but why am I not even trying??

    Anyways, you can do this. Sending hugs and much support your way….


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