Sunday, January 10, 2010

When I Was Younger...

It was the mid-nineties and I was in my last year or two of high school. I remember asking one of my friends at lunch if she wanted to hang out after classes were finished. “I can’t, she said, “I’m going to the gym.”

“Why?!” I exclaimed, casting a critical eye over her body. She looked fine to me and, at that time, I couldn’t fathom wanting to workout simply for the sake of being active. But she filled me in on the fact that she wanted to lose weight and when I pressed – again, not understanding what flaws she saw in her body – she finally gave in and told me that she weighed somewhere around 190 pounds.

I didn’t believe it! Not for a second did I think she could be that heavy. She looked like me, for goodness sake! She invited me to come along so that she could prove it on the scale at the gym and I accepted. I was sure she was exaggerating.

We met up after school and headed straight to our destination. We arrived, she kicked off her shoes, and proceeded to step onto the scale. She was right, and I was suddenly in a state of complete disbelief. That’s when it dawned on me… I took off my shoes and climbed on.


I will never forget that number.


That was the very first time that I realized I was overweight. Ever.

Somehow, I was one of the fortunate few for whom body image had not been an issue during their adolescent years. Let me rephrase that. Somehow, I was one of the ones for whom the mixed blessing that is ignorance of body image was a reality.

The only other weight that I can specifically recall from when I was a teenager was 109, and that was when I still had an inch left to grow and had just been diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. From 109 to 181: more than seventy pounds had found their way onto my body and I hadn’t noticed.

I am thankful, in a way, that I had all those years of blissful naiveté. I know I probably had a bout here or there with not liking the way I looked, and I do remember purchasing the occasional health magazine to help me learn how to tone up, but somehow I missed being really hateful of my body during my formative teenage years. It is fortunate, I know, but there was also a very serious downside.

My ignorance led to utter complacency. I had no idea that I was putting on weight because I never, ever climbed on a scale nor even took stock of what size clothes I was wearing. I was completely unconcerned with what shape my body was in and, accordingly, I became an overweight girl without even knowing it. I carried on for years inadvertently developing bad habits that would eventually prove to take over a decade and a half to break.

I know I started working out then and I am sure I lost some of the weight, but I don’t remember the specifics at all. Whatever pounds I may have dropped were assuredly gained back shortly after that first stint of attempted weight loss. I am positive that I weighed more when I graduated.

One thing that I do know for sure is that I weigh less today than when I first discovered that I had a weight problem. This is the second lowest amount that I can recall ever being, and I have no intention of regaining my anemic, underweight 109 pound status. This is all new. This is all unknown.


I will still never, ever forget that number.


  1. So proud of you!! I have no idea about your height, but I'm pretty sure that you are getting SO close to being a "healthy" weight. Have you kept up with differences in blood pressure and blood sugar and heart rate? I bet those show a dramatic change!!

  2. What a wonderful post. I to can remember some of the numbers I weighed and then the gap from when it "just" showed up. Congrats on being under 181!

  3. In high school I ranged from 102-137, and I had trouble keeping food down for some reason. I was diagnosed as anorexic, too, although my problem started more as not being able to keep stuff down, and then turned into, "well, since I'm so close, I wonder what 98 lbs would look like." I never got there, though, because my doctor told my grandma to make me gain some weight.

    I guess I've always had trouble with the happy medium as far as weight is concerned.

  4. Great post!

    Nice work on getting under 181!

  5. Always learning posts! Insightful again! You are obviously on the right track!

    I remember when I first lost my weight. I had a pic I can't find & I was actually way too thin but I thought I looked great because I was no longer fat. It does not always work that way. We have to be fit & healthy, not just thin for sure! Plenty of too thin people with higher body fat out there too.

    You are on your way to healthier!

  6. Oh wow, I am about ten years older than you (born in '66) and an Arizona girl. I was ACUTELY conscious of every pound, and 145 (my highest weight) seemed terribly fat even though I was just shy of 5'8". I got as low as 105. Correct high school girl weight seemed to be around 125 which I could never quite maintain.

    You look lovely, by the way!

  7. Isn't it funny how on the way up the same number makes us cringe...and on the way down the number makes u s smile.
    probably because we know we won't be there long.

  8. Yay! I'm so happy for you. Keep up the good work. You're doing wonderfully.

  9. Great story! Thanks for sharing. What an amazing journey you have shared with us :-)