A doctor once told me that for my height, I should weigh between 124 and 138 lbs. I laughed right in his face. That seemed to upset him, so he went on to preach about the dangers of obesity, and how the excess weight I was carrying around was destroying my body. I laughed again, much harder this time. Just so you know, at the time I was 31 years old, carrying 285 lbs. on a 5’4 frame, and sicker than I had ever been in my entire life. I was standing in an examining room of a Bariatric Surgery Center, waiting to be evaluated as a possible candidate for Gastric Bypass surgery. So yeah, Doc, since I’m here asking you to cut me open, section off my stomach and make it physically impossible for me to eat as much as I have been, I think it’s safe to assume that I already got the memo about the dangers of obesity. Tell me something I don’t know.
For weeks after that appointment, those numbers rattled around in my brain. 124 – 138 lbs.? Are you serious? Could that even be possible? Did I even want it to be? I have been overweight since I was a child. I have no memory or image of myself at what would be considered a “normal” weight for my age or height. Always chubby, and it never really bothered me. Trying to imagine my face on a 124 lb. body was impossible, and a little scary. Every time I tried, I kept seeing those bizarre looking BRATZ dolls with the huge heads and buggy eyes, and tiny little bodies. Not exactly the look I was going for.
My parents are thin, but for some reason, my sisters and I are not, and for the majority of my life, it wasn’t really an issue for me. I never struggled with body image issues. I wasn’t a morbidly obese child, just carrying a few extra pounds. By the time I got to high school, I weighed about 170 lbs. about 30 – 40 lbs. overweight, and it didn’t hinder my life at all - I was cute, got good grades, had lots of friends - Life was good. I was happy.
All that changed when I went to college. During my four years at Boston University, I managed to gain around 80 lbs. I came back to New York after graduation weighing 250 lbs., and over the next ten years my weight would continue to fluctuate as I tried, and failed to lose weight.
It’s been a year and a half since that doctor’s visit, and I’m still haunted by that number. I never did have the surgery, but I did manage to lose 60 lbs in a little over 6 months, but that was almost a year ago. Currently, I am sitting at a robust 225 lbs., and holding. Well, stuck at 225 would probably be more accurate. How I lost the weight and why I can’t seem to get passed this roadblock is a story for another day. When I think about the fact that I’m still a full hundred pounds over what I SHOULD weigh, it makes the task seem too daunting. I know, and accept, the fact that I will never get to that number. I don’t think I want to. There will never be a point where I will be considered a “skinny” girl, and that is ok with me…I think. Realistically, the goal I have set for myself would still make me about 50 lbs overweight. Am I wrong to set a goal that would still put me in the category of “obese”? Is it just fear and self-doubt that makes “124″ seem like too low of a number? Questions I have no answers to…yet. I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it. Right now I’m more concerned with getting on the scale and seeing the numbers”224″ on the readout. Then I’ll worry about 223….