Why am I obese?

I have been chubby for most of my life. I have one picture of me as a skinny child when I was about three or four years old. From that point forward, I have always had reasons for why my weight skyrocketed to the point of me being ‘obese’ in my 20s.

My Various Reasons (in semi chronological order):

  • Poor diet growing up. My family is southern in every sense of the word. Most meals include various forms of meat, starches, butter, and cornbread. Plus sweet tea…and usually dessert.
    Being an only child. In my head, I was convinced that if I had a constant playmate, I would spend countless hours doing physical activities outside and would therefor be skinny.
  • I wear my weight well. Through most of my teens I convinced myself that I didn’t not look close to what I actually weighed. This gave me false confidence and facilitated my denial about my weight gain. This mindset also set me up for failure on any diet program that I tried to stick to. Hell, if I didn’t look 200 lbs, then why not eat whatever temptation item that I wanted to?
  • I was meant to be a BBW. I wholeheartedly approve of the fat acceptance movement, but for me it became another form of denial about the pit that I was sinking into. I know that you can be big and healthy, but you have to still work at keeping yourself healthy. I carry weight around my waist in a spare tire. That is not healthy weight at all. In fact, it is one of the worse kinds of fat you can carry. This mindset of being a BBW and not having to work at my health allowed my to be lax in my dieting restrictions. This was shattered for my when my blood pressure went from being normal to high and my cholesterol was at 227 (normal is below 200). At 25, I should not have to worry about high blood pressure and cholesterol!

Life influences on my weight:

When I was a kid, I just didn’t think about it. It didn’t occur to me that I was heavier than friends. The problems started in my teenage years. I remember being hungry all of the time. That is common with teenagers, but I wasn’t offsetting my binge eating with physical activity like I should have done. The pounds came on quickly and I become more and more depressed about my weight, so I would eat less at school and fill up with snacks when I came home.

My sudden weight gain did not go unnoticed by my family members. My mom tried to push portion control and will power, but all I was concern about was making sure that I got a big serving at dinner. It makes me laugh now, but I used to be seriously concerned about splitting up portions because I thought that I might not get enough to fill me up.

My grandma, who has been obese for my entire life, signed me up for everything fad diet that she saw. I spent my summers at her house, so I could expect a new diet every summer. I recall doing the ‘High Energy’ diet, Nutrisystem, the Heart Healthy lose 10 lbs in 7 days diet, a no salt in any form diet, and countless other. No matter what the diet, it would always end the same way. We would embark on our journey full of hopes about being thin, lose 10-15 lbs, and then succumb to our various vices and forget about it for the rest of the summer.

I knew that I was gaining weight, but I convinced myself that if I could stay in my size 9 jeans, then I would morph into a beautiful, thin woman. I was about 13 at this point. Seriously, how many people wear the same size pants they wore at 13? I know that I don’t. My eating habits and lack of exercise did not allow my to keep a size 9 waist through middle school. I think that I was in a size 12 or 14 by 8th grade.

This is about the time that I started the denial stages of my weight gain. When I was weighed at the doctor’s office, the nurses would comment that I didn’t look like I weighed over 150…then 175…then 200 lbs…etc. And well, if you don’t look overweight, then why worry about losing weight?

So I fell into a cycle of yo yo dieting. I would lose 10-15lbs, feel good about myself and promptly gain it all back x2. This has ended with me being 25 years old, 5′2” and about 240lbs.

So why is this time different?

A recent trip to the doctor for chest pain was my wake up call. They found nothing wrong with my heart, but my cholesterol and my blood pressure was high. Plus my thyroid was completely out of whack. That made me realize that I need to lose weight for my health and quality of life. My thyroid could be part of the problem with my weight, but I know that I wasn’t always eating as well as I do now. I am terrified of ending up on blood pressure meds and a highly restrictive diet by the time I am 30, so I am making the changes now to hopefully improve my quality of life in the future.

One Response to “Why am I obese?”

  1. There’s nothing like a look at some specific health stats when it comes to getting motivated and making a committed decision to change things.

    I had my wake-up call in February with every health stat except blood pressure and blood sugar being way away from healthy levels.

    Good job on making the decision to start improving your quality of life today.

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