Leading by example

Life as an overweight kid was pretty rough. You definitely notice that you’re not one of the pretty ones and that you don’t look like other kids. Where exactly does that leave you? Kids can be ruthless and downright mean, but so can adults. Probably even worse. The world doesn’t like overweight people. I know with social media now there’s a whole “body positive movement” that seems to be spreading, but the fact of the matter is that it’s crap. Don’t get me wrong. I love the movement. I may even feed and promote the movement. I’m all for the message, but I’ve also lived as an overweight child and adult. It’s not nice. Most people don’t care why you’re overweight or that you feel good about yourself anyways. Being overweight is seen as laziness, lack of control, poor choices, gross,etc. However, don’t lose weight either, because a lot of people will hate and criticize that too. I know this from personal experience. The first thing someone is going to attack is our looks. Most people aren’t going to attack my lack of book smarts or that I’m a scaredy pants. They’d call me a fat cow, before that would happen.  The first thing someone will judge is our looks. Sad, but true. Even with the spread of body positive bloggers and plus size models, it’s an uphill battle covered in insults and judgement. Children are not excluded from this. I remember adults calling me chubby or commenting on my body. Trust me, if a child is overweight, they know that they’re overweight. Kids at school have called them fat. They’ve discovered they don’t look like other kids. They probably can’t play and run like the other kids. They know their clothes is bigger than others their age. Being an overweight adult is hard. Being an overweight child might be even harder. How do you cope with that as a child? How do you learn what to do with that? How is an overweight child supposed to learn to stop it? It’s a child. I was a child. Children aren’t meant to cope with being fat. Heck, most adults don’t even cope with it. It’s horrible. It’s like a tunnel that people just get stuck in and can’t get out of. Children included. 

As a little kid, I didn’t understand or know why I was overweight. I only knew that people called me fat and that’s what I was. I can remember my own family members, classmates, and even random people calling me fat and various insults based on my weight.  As I child, I don’t believe that I had any control or power over my weight. I was a child. I didn’t know I had the option or ability to be a normal sized kid. I didn’t know how that was even possible. I didn’t know why I looked the way I did. I would get older and stayed overweight. I hear people say, “kids stretch out. They’ll outgrow it.” Yeah, I’m still waiting for that. Most children that are overweight, turn into overweight adults. It sucks let me tell you.  I started as a girl that would eat to the point of sickness, so that I wouldn’t go to sleep and have nightmares. I would get older and just learned unhealthier habits that settled in even harder. I never learned to be anything else. 

Of course, at some point we become responsible for our own actions, bodies, choices,etc. I stayed overweight. By then, I wasn’t just overweight. I had issues way bigger than my weight. I was dead on the inside. Do you think I cared what I looked like on the outside? No. All I wanted was to shut my mind off. To not feel anymore pain.  To erase everything from my mind. Oh hello drugs. Then, I found that if I use drugs like meth and opiates, it’ll make me lose weight too. I signed myself right up. For years and years. Guess what? I stayed overweight. Just my luck huh? 

I talked a big game about giving birth to my daughter and using her as a weight to exercise. (Give me a break.) I talked about having her and getting right back out to running and two hour gym sessions. Prior to the fertility treatments, I was probably in the best shape of my life (until now.) So I was hopeful that I’d have her and get right to it. Haha. That was cute. The only thing I used my kid for was a reason to eat like crap and not exercise. What happened to all the work I had done prior to having her? Physically, mentally, and emotionally!  I had promised myself I would show her better. That I would be better. I had retrained my head. Read books. Counseled myself.  I told myself I would lead by example. I had done so much work to just drop the ball. Ugh back to square one. I had to start over. This time fatter than I had ever been in my life. I started to change my lifestyle little by little. 

I worried about my daughter ending up in the terrible cycle of the overweight world. It used to scare me. Now it really fuels me. I truly believe in leading by example with children. I believe our children are the way they way are, because of us. They know what we teach them. Hence, children being mean to overweight people and kids. Following lead. 

My daughter is three years old and she wants to be just like me. She moves her hands like me, she talks like me, she wants to wear a shirt like mine, she wants to eat like me, she wants to sit like me, she wants to love her daddy like me, she wants to exercise like me, etc. I can’t tell you how terrifying, adorable, and motivating this is. I’m not scared my daughter is going to end up like me. I’m not scared she’s going to walk around being made fun of and not have any control over it. I’m not scared she’s going to have to deal with all the crap that comes with being an overweight child. These things used to scare me quite a bit. Except for the first time in my life, I finally have the education, habits, tools, and power to control my fears of my daughter growing up overweight. I finally know how to be healthy and what it means. I finally know what I’m eating. I no longer roll my eyes at moms who don’t give their children sugar or processed foods. I’m not trying to be a perfect mom or a hippie mom. I’m not trying to be better than anyone. I’m trying to raise a healthy child that learns healthy habits. I’m trying to break the cycle. I’m trying to give my child the best chance at this hard game of life. I’m trying to make it so that she doesn’t grow up addicted to sugar and food. I’m trying to make it so that food is not a coping mechanism for her, but fuel for her body. I’m doing that by example. Life is hard enough without having to worry about being overweight. My job is to protect my child and prepare her to become a healthy functionioning adult. I use that as fuel. Fuel to eat right. Fuel to exercise. Fuel to show compassion and forgiveness. Fuel to keep learning and advancing. Being the best version of myself. 

I’m no longer on a weightloss journey. That moment has passed. It turned into a lifestyle at some point. I won’t ever stop this. I make the choice everyday to make health and fitness an important part of our life. This is how my body and my mind feel best. Yes, I am losing weight, but it’s just what’s coming with living a healthy lifestyle. My daughter deserves a fighting chance. She deserves to feel good and be healthy and that’s my job.  This three year old carries so much power for me. She fuels me like no other. I started this journey for myself and now it’s for my family too. It’s not just me anymore. So when I don’t want to for myself, I do it for my girl. She’s watching. 

Freak of nature 

I grew up with three brothers. I have two older brothers and a younger brother. Let me just tell you all, these guys are good at everything. I’m not just saying that, because they’re my brothers. Give them a couple tries at anything and I promise, they will be better than most. They’re fast learners and even more importantly they’re eager to learn. They’re incredibly smart and it just so happens that they’re also incredibly good looking. Ugh, I know. I hate them. You know what else they like to do? Be healthy and exercise. So annoying! Of course, we all have our flaws. My brothers and I all made our mistakes. Some bigger than others, but we all made them. Growing up we drove each other mad, but I always remember looking at them and being jealous. I was jealous of how easy it seemed to be for them. Jealous of how they could do everything. Jealous of their normalcy. I’m not talking about a spiteful jealousy. I was a chubby scared little girl watching my brothers be larger than life.  I’ve always admired so much about them. I wanted and heck, I still want to be like them. If there is anyone in this world that I want to be proud of me, it’s my mom and my brothers. Of course, I want to be proud of myself and I know my husband is proud of me. He married me, but to have my siblings and my mom be proud? That’s been my goal for years. 

I made bad decisions. I lied. I hid. I messed up. I hurt people. I didn’t have any regard for my life, much less for anything or anyone else. When I decided to come clean and get help, I knew I had a long road ahead of me. Not just with having to learn how to be sober and make good choices, but making amends with my family. I remember telling my family that I was sorry. I also told them that I knew it meant nothing. I didn’t want to say I was sorry anymore. I knew my words were cheap and abused.  I didn’t want to sit there and give them my reasons or excuses as to why I was a drug addict or did the things I did. I asked them to please watch me live my life. I wanted them to know my actions. All I could show them was that I was living an honest life and making good choices over and over. It was all I could ask for. It’s been years since I’ve told my family that and to this day, sometimes that’s what pushes me to be better. Them. 

I know people say not to compare yourself to others, but really what else do we do? I had three siblings. Of course I was going to compare myself to them.  I compared myself to my brothers, cousins, friends, randoms, etc., my whole life. Even now I feel like that’s what the adult life consists of for most. Keeping up with the Jones. Comparing what you have versus what your neighbor or that blogger has.  Comparing our body versus that body. Our child versus that child. We all do it. I do it daily, I’m sure. I just don’t do it to myself anymore. I know now, that I am a freak of nature. I will never be like anyone else. What works for everyone else, will probably not work for me. The way my brain works will never be the norm. I will never be part of the norm. That was a hard pill for me to swallow. Once I was able to accept that, I was able to stop comparing myself to others. Now I just compare my husband, my kid, etc. Oh wait, sounds like I’m pretty normal after all.  

This played such a big role on my journey to getting body and head right. I finally let go of everyone. I had to do this my way. I had to find my path. You know what I found out? I’m like my brothers. Those guys that I was jealous of? Yes, I’m like them. I can be with any of my brothers and feel like I am home. I wouldn’t say I like to exercise, but I like to be healthy. I wouldn’t say I’m smart, but I’m quick just like them. I’m not traditional, but neither are they. They’re larger than life to me and I’ll always see them that way. They’ve driven me in ways that they will never know. To go work out, to stay off dope, to be an honest person, to be myself. I’m forever grateful for the very best friends anyone could ever have.