The Not-So-Skinny Chick
My quarter-life crisis has changed almost every aspect of my life. Primarily, my finances, but also my health and fitness.
Five days before I turned 26, I had surgery to remove my adenoids and reduce my nasal turbinates (don’t ask, I’m still not quite sure what a turbinate is). The morning of my surgery, I reported to the hospital and proceeded to have a very quick, very informal physical. This required me to weigh myself. Oh joy! As if I wasn’t nervous enough about having surgery, I now had to step on the scale and weigh myself for the first time in months. I glanced down at the numbers on the scale and instantly felt my throat close up with tears. I was the heaviest I have ever been in my life. I’ll clue you in – I was 150 pounds. At the whopping height of 4′ 8″, that firmly tipped me over into the “obese” category on the BMI scale. I was disgusted with myself. And although I don’t fully trust BMI as a gauge for health and fitness levels, I knew that something needed to change.
Growing up, I had it made. I was a three sport athlete, never considered my practices to be “working out”, I ate whatever I wanted. When I graduated from high school I wore a 00 and weighed 103 pounds soaking wet. I couldn’t even donate blood if I wanted to, my weight was so low. Although my description may sound like it, I have never actually been “the skinny” chick.
I am not skinny or thin. Petite is just a given description when you aren’t even 5 feet tall, but it makes me sound delicate and I am not. I have big hips, a stomach that used to lay flat – but doesn’t anymore – and my thighs touch all the time and have saved my phone from dropping in the toilet multiple times. I loved my body. Until I didn’t. Coming back from my freshman year of college at the University of Louisville, I hadn’t gained any of the Freshman 15. By sophomore year, I had decided to transfer and go to school closer to home. By the time Christmas break came around, I had gained some of my Freshman 15. Call it the Sophomore 5. My boyfriend at the time noticed. And he made sure I knew. I will never forget the moment when he pinched my stomach and said “Babe, I think you’re gaining a little weight. A little bit is okay, but if you gain anymore it’s not gonna be cute.” And that was the first day that I allowed someone else to decide that I couldn’t love my body anymore.
Flash forward 7 years, and I still haven’t fully moved past my body image struggles. As I mentioned in a previous blog, This Isn’t a Disney Movie, I wasted 2 years on a guy who didn’t help my perception of my body image at all. Dude was ripped, and as I wrote, he constantly made me feel as though I wasn’t good enough, just a stand in until something better came along. I’ll be honest, the pity party is an easy party to attend when you feel uncomfortable in your own skin.
But my quarter-life crisis changed my circumstances. I no longer view myself as a victim or not good enough.I am not a stand in until someone else comes along. I am strong, I am a fighter. This body is the one that God gave me, and I intend to use it in the way that allows me to be happy, but also healthy.
For me, that means three changes have occurred all at the same time.
1. I’ve gone back to meal prepping. After starting Financial Peace University (FPU), I knew my budget needed some tweaks. I could no longer spend $75+ a month on fast food. I actually enjoy eating healthy, but sometimes I just can’t stop myself from the convenience and deliciousness of eating Chick-Fil-A nuggets and fries with a sweet tea. Sue me. But meal prepping is one of the best changes I can make to my health AND my budget. Aldi is a budget-saver! I’ve been able to get a majority of my groceries for a fraction of the cost. In the last 6 weeks, I have spent less than $35 per week on breakfasts, lunches, and some dinners for myself. So not only am I fueling my body with good food, I’m seeing major savings in my food and grocery budget categories.
2. Gym membership for free? Nah, better not touch it. I’ve also gone back to working out after work. My job has a fitness center in the building. Do you think I used it in the last year before FPU? Nope. I literally walked by a fitness center approximately 10 times a day and never used it. And it’s free. Say hello to the elliptical and the weights, Cayla, they’re your new best friend. AND THEY’RE FREE. I even used a pair of dumbbells I found hiding in my closet to do a workout at home over the weekend.
3. StepBet It Up. What’s a StepBet, you ask? Only one of the most motivating challenges I’ve ever been invited to join. Thank you, Kara! A StepBet is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a group of people that have made a bet to reach a certain amount of steps on a certain amount of days during the week. If I don’t complete the goals each week, I don’t earn my $20 bet back. If I do complete the goals, I can earn my $20 back or more, if other players don’t meet their goals. And while $20 doesn’t seem like much, it is when you’ve cut your budget to the bare bones minimum to pay off your Mountain of Debt.
So how am I doing? I’m feeling better than I have in the last year. I have more energy, I’m sleeping better, my pee is as clear as all of the water I’m drinking.
And I’m down 6.5 pounds.
I’m 1 pound away from losing 5% of my body weight. Although the weight loss is exciting, that’s not the best part. Not even close.
My skin doesn’t feel so uncomfortable, I feel confident. I’m beginning to love myself again. I am not allowing the scale or some jackass in a button-up to dictate how I determine my self-worth. I am strong – from weight-lifing, from being willing to change, from persevering.
I am not a number on the scale.