I remember the day and the humiliation like it was yesterday. Standing in line with my 6th grade classmates in a warm , muggy gym in Arkansas USA. It was a day I dreaded every year once the powers-that-be declared it was important to know the height and weight and general fitness level of all little kids in elementary school. I dreaded it for many reasons. My fitness level was down around zero. I never liked exercising or playing any sort of sport. I guess that came from a lack of coordination, which I’m certain came from my very fast growth spurts. This particular school year it was all extra bad though. The summer I turned 11 was a painful one for me…literally! I had grown to the height of a giant, leaving all my friends looking like I could be their teenage babysitter. I can still feel those growing pains!!
So after going through a drill of excruciating tests that once again proved my total lack of fitness, I was made to stand on a scale, a line of class mates behind me waiting their turns. The girl who went before me was a perfect 4 ft something or other and weighed in at about 70 lbs. She was the norm in my class of kids who still looked like kids. The anxiety I felt as I waited for the teacher to say my height and weight out loud was ridiculous. I wish I could’ve stopped her. I wish I could’ve knocked her to the ground before she said my facts out loud. But I couldn’t. So my whole class heard the truth that I was 5ft 10 and weighed an enormous 125 lbs. Heavens to Betsy!!!! I was a freak!!
All I could think about was the 70 lb girl who went before me. She was normal. I was fat! Nobody else in my class weighed even close to 125 lbs. Of course, nobody else was even close to 5ft 10 either. But that didn’t relate in my barely 11 year old mind. It didn’t click that my weight was actually pretty darn low for my height. All that seared into my young mind was how much more I weighed than everyone else.
Having breakfast before school with my sisters during my “I’m a fat giant” days. It was clearly all in my head.
As I think about this moment of sincere humiliation, I just want to go back in time and give little me a huge hug and tell her it’s all going to be OK. I’d just want to reassure her that she’s perfectly proportioned and beautiful and that , yes, the boys WILL bypass her gigantic height one day soon. I’d want to let her know that weight is just a number and not an indication of her worth as a person. I’d want to let her know how amazing it would one day be to be so tall…how it would be so nice to be able to help people reach things on high shelves. How it would be easier to see over other people’s heads in crowds and that would be especially important at the Shaun Cassidy concert!! How one day she would applaud her height because she could weigh more than her shorter friends and look amazing while doing so!
I thought about all these things last night as I divulged my current weight to my husband. I had been fighting a stomach bug for about 24 hours and was trying hard to down some egg drop soup and rice. We talked a minute about the blessing of a stomach bug…quick weight loss. I had managed to lose 2 lbs in 24 hours! I wasn’t sad about that! But as my husband cheered for my still over 200 lb weight, it just struck me as funny. I’ve now lost just shy of 45 lbs and I look and feel so much better than I did 5 short months ago. But I’m still over 200 lbs. I’m still just a smidge heavier than my biggest cheerleader. And the truth is, I AM SO GOOD WITH THIS!!!! SO. GOOD!
So if I’m good with how I look and feel right now, why not stop the insanity of trying to keep losing? Hmm….couple things. I know how much more amazing I feel at my goal weight. I’ve been there within the last 15 years and it’s even better than the good of where I’m at now. And then there was that ONE doctor in my life. ONE doctor who had the good sense to actually comment on my weight as she saw me heading over 200 lbs while pregnant with my first child. She looked me in the eye and said , “Becky, you may be tall. But you do not need to weigh over 200 lbs. It’s not healthy.” Harsh? Maybe. Truth? Absolutely. But I look back on that now and I appreciate that truth being spoken to me. Because for a good portion of my adult years, I’ve hovered at 200 lbs or been well over. And that doctor from long ago was just right. I don’t feel my best when I’m over that number or even hovering right below it.
I still have about 30 lbs to my ultimate goal but I no longer look in the mirror and make grimacing faces at myself. That little girl who once thought her world ended because her whole class knew she weighed 125 lbs can rejoice in 218 and mean it….and even admit that on a public blog with only a mild amount of embarrassment! According to “all the charts”, I’m still obese. Shoot, when I reach MY goal weight, that all mighty BMI chart will still tell me I’m overweight. But to heck with those charts. I think I’ll throw them away!! How did they come up with those numbers anyway? I’m in my mid 50’s!! I DO NOT need to weigh 4 pounds more than I did as a scrawny 11 year old to be at a healthy weight!!!
I left out one thing I’d say to my 6th grade self. And it’s probably the most important thing I wish I had known then. Which may be why I left it for last.
Dear 6th Grade Me…
And I’ll offer this same advice to you if you’re struggling with your weight right now and find yourself comparing yourself with anyone else. Even if that “anyone” is a younger you who lost weight easier and faster!! There are going to be people who lose weight faster than you. That’s OK. There are also people who will lose slower than you. Also OK. There will be people who can lose weight and eat dessert every night or pizza every Friday while you feel like you have to eat salad every day to even lose a pound. There will be people who can lose and never do a lick of exercise! While others work out every day and love it!
It’s ALL good . What YOU are doing is good as long as you believe in yourself and don’t give up. Just keep doing YOUR thing and you will amaze YOURSELF !!
Until next time…
Keep Joyfully Clamoring!!