I've been told that as we age our perspective changes, but I never much bought into it until recently.
In 2003, I'd gained a bit of weight and decided it needed to come off; after all, I weighed 139# when I gave birth to Monster and had ballooned up to 152#. I hit the gym, hired a personal trainer and went ape-shit trying to lose weight. After eight weeks with the trainer and doing two-a-days on my own, I had lost exactly 2/10 of a percent of body fat. I was the fittest I'd been since high school, but I was still, in my opinion, fat. According to the BMI charts, I was borderline obese.
I went to my doctor and armed with my record of working out and non-weight loss and she started me on phentermine in order to give my metabolism a "kick start". It worked beautifully. I continued at the gym with the trainer and two-a-days and added in soccer. I'd taken up soccer when I was thirty, but really got into it in 2004, playing on three indoor teams and two outdoor teams. The weight melted off, in what seemed to be no time, I was down to 124#. I felt great - I hadn't been a size four since high school. I went off the phentermine and held that weight for six months or so on my own, but it came with a cost. It took six days a week at the gym, for an hour and a half each day, plus hours of soccer to maintain that weight. On Sundays - the one day I didn't go to the gym - alone, I played almost three hours of soccer; an outdoor game near home and another in Denver. For over a year, I was able to maintain that grueling schedule of gym and soccer. In the summer, I added in working at the livery, grooming, tacking, riding, and feeding.
Then I got laid off from the family practice I was working at - suddenly my work hours changed drastically and I was working when normally I'd be at the gym. I was teaching full-time, which mean very long days - not that I hadn't been working long days before - but a different type of long day. I was no longer moving non-stop eight to nine hours a day at work; it was the end of the tourist season, so I was no longer doing physical labor three days a week at the livery either. I had to suddenly quit playing soccer, since I was teaching nights until 10 pm, there wasn't time for me to play any more. I added weight slowly.
I knew I was gaining weight, but it seemed to be manageable. In 2008, when RCC and I met face-to-face, I wasn't pleased with my weight - I was back up to 152#. Once we started dating and took up dance lessons, I dropped quickly to 141#. I felt good again. I had gotten the call from Heidi that I was to be a part of the cast of Horse Master with Julie Goodnight, so I felt extra pressure to lose more weight. I felt the extra pressure, but lacked the extra time. I could give up time with RCC to work out or I could continue to with our relationship. Honestly, I've been able to not look my weight my whole life. Even at 141#, I didn't necessarily look it - I was still wavering between a size six and eight. I could wear a six, but an eight was much more comfortable, which was what I ended up wearing on TV.
I got back from shooting Horse Master and got engaged the same weekend I returned. That started an in-ernest round of meeting each other's families and getting to know all of the future in-laws. My weight ballooned; by 2009, I had gained twenty pounds, so that on my wedding day, I was over 160#. Yikes. And it didn't stop, the pounds just kept coming.
I hit my all-time high of 189# in July of last year, before I got control of my portions. Working as a crew member for Horse Master, I lost five pounds in the five days we were shooting just because I was up and moving all the time again. I was thrilled and got control of my portions. People are actually surprised at how little I eat. A child's portion is often too much for me. One take-out meal can feed me for three days. That's also when I bought the Soda Stream and vowed to quit buying Coke for the house. I still drink Coke, but it's a lot harder to do when there isn't any handy.
At the beginning of the year, RCC and I both decided we had to lose the weight we gained. We gained it side-by-side, almost to the pound. Since he had previously lost 82#, it was important to him to get back to his pre-me weight, just like I wanted to get back to my pre-him weight.
I started 2011 at 183.5# and continued to change my diet and portions. In January, I lost four freaking pounds, getting down to 179.5#. In February, I hired a personal trainer and started hitting the gym again. I gained back a pound. I eat carefully, stopping when I'm full. I take my vitamins. I attend my training sessions even when I'm sick. I still drink Coke, but rarely finish one. Two, three drinks and that's all I need.
Throughout this whole thing, RCC has changed his diet. He's cut out soda completely, and now solely drinks water. He's very controlled in what he eats. A bowl of cereal for breakfast, a salad with protein on top for lunch and god-knows-what for dinner. He's cheffing at a dining hall - his choices are endless, so he never gets bored with his menu. He also never eats after 7:00 pm.
I've lost three pounds. He's lost 31#. And he hasn't stepped foot in a gym. That's what pisses me off the most. It helps that his job is much more physical than mine; he's working on his feet ten hours a day, I'm sitting on my arse in an office. It also helps that he's got an endless choice of food; I'm limited to what's nearby or what I remember to take to work. My snacks at work consist of one low-fat Laughing Cow cheese and five pretzel crisps (100 calories total) or one string cheese. I also keep Harvest Bars on hand, but can only eat about 1/3 - 1/2 of one before I'm full.
And, before you all yell that I need to cut out my Coke drinking, I'm just going to say that you all can go fornicate yourselves. I don't do a whole lot that's bad for my body, leave me alone about my Coke drinking. Hell, I only have alcohol a few times a year and I don't smoke or do drugs, so excuse me while I indulge in my one bad vice.
So, on Friday, I ended up back in my doctor's office, again armed with my food diary and my work-out plan. Again, she's put me on phentermine. The lowest dose, as I want to be able to sleep at night and the higher dose is not conducive to sleep. I'm hoping that the little boost will be what I need to start seeing results. At the rate RCC's losing weight, it will only be another two weeks before he weighs less than me, and I can't have that.
I know, you all are asking yourselves what this has to do with perspective, since that is this post's title. You see, I've been doing a lot of thinking about me and my body in the last eight weeks. I've even pulled out old pictures from when I was 124#. I felt great then, and I thought I looked great. But now when I look back at those pictures, I long to be that weight, but I honestly looked anorexic. Deejo told me when he saw me for the first time after I'd lost the weight that I'd lost all of my curves. I can see now that he was right. I was little more than muscle and bone, and not even well defined muscle. I wasn't skinny-flabby by any means, but I looked unhealthy. My trainer at the time had the balls to tell me that I still had nine pounds to lose before my abs would be better defined. At least I had the good sense to tell him to go to hell; I wasn't going to put the work in it would take to lose another nine pounds.
I look back at the pictures of me on Horse Master and remember how fat I felt, but I don't look bad in the pictures. I look healthy, even though according to the BMI charts, I was overweight at 141#.
Here I am, at 180.5#. For the first time in my life, truly fat. Almost morbidly obese according to the BMI charts (BMI 34), certainly obese enough to qualify for lap-band surgery (which I won't do - ever) and my perspective has changed yet again.
The thought of being a size four or six is tempting, but when I look back at what I looked like as a size four, I think I'll pass. Besides looking anorexic, it took a lot of time away from home to maintain that. Six days a week at the gym for an hour and a half; two 90-minute outdoor soccer games; and three 44-minute indoor soccer games, plus travel time to and from Denver for four of the teams. All in addition to working three to four jobs - the clinic (FT), the college (PT), the gun shop (PT) and, in the summer, the livery (PT). That adds up to a lot of time away from home. I understand that when I was doing that, I was hiding from home. I took the kids with me to all of my soccer games, but home was too stressful, I didn't want to be there. The real world - where there wasn't enough money to pay the bills and the crushing loneliness of being a single mom and not wanting to face the break-up of what I thought was the most amazing relationship I'd ever been in - waited for me at home and I didn't want to be there.
Now, I want to be home. I have an amazing husband, great kids, and a job I love. There's no reason for me to hide out any more, which makes it a little harder to throw myself back into the frenzy I'd maintained before.
In honestly appraising my photographic past, I'll always want to be that skinny little girl of 2004 - 2007, but skinny's not happy. I want happy, which just happens to be a little chunkier than skinny.
Size eight, here I come!