I feel like, for the most part, it’s safe to say that a majority of the healthy-living blogs are being written by people who once were over-weight or unhealthy or hated their bodies and are either on the other side of that journey, leading a healthy lifestyle and have started to love their bodies or have a new-found sense of self confidence. The other half (again, for the most part) are still on that journey waiting to finally be amongst the aforementioned; the self-confident, with a healthy body-image, healthy eating and exercise patterns (again, for the most part). I can safely say that I am one of the ones that are still on that journey. I’m sure the journey doesn’t actually end- and really, I really hope it doesn’t- but I’d like to reach a point where I feel like I’m on the other side of it all. Right now, I am smack-dab in the middle of that journey.
I’m not a psychology major, so I’m not all too sure how these things work, but when I was about 4 years old, swimming in the pool in my backyard minding my own damn business, our next door neighbor (who was probably about 60 years old at the time) told me, in front of my parents, that I was fat. I don’t remember what my parents’ response was, but both my mom and dad would bring it up and laugh about how “George called Christina fat.” I don’t think they ever voiced that it bothered me or that I even actually gave it enough thought, but here I am- almost 18 years later- and I remember it like it was yesterday. And for the record, leave me and my four-year-old chubby self the hell alone!
[Insert years and years of self-loathing, insecurity, social physique-anxiety, paranoia, weird diets, more self-loathing and more insecurity here, here, and here.]
Fast forward to a few years ago, I think I was about 18, my grandmother told me I should lose weight. Just like that- in front of the rest of my family. I was absolutely humiliated. Now, that side of my family is Puerto Rican. Literally, more than 75% of that side of my family are obese. Not chubby, not heavy, not fat. Obese. This comment was shot at me seconds after I had just received a compliment on my “figure” from another family member. (My extended family absolutely loves making comments about your body and weight. It is so uncomfortable and I hate every second of it.) That’s my grandma for you, though. I went home, hid under the covers and cried myself to sleep.
I’ve always been an athlete. You name it, I played it. Gymnastics, softball, basketball, volleyball, swimming, dance, soccer, boxing/kickboxing, and probably some other things. I’ve always enjoyed vegetables and fruits and all things healthy. My family, on the other hand, does not. My mom is Mexican and my dad is Puerto Rican. For whatever reason, I feel like almost all ethnic foods are some sort of unhealthy, and just my luck! Mexican and Puerto Rican cooking just so happens to be some of the most unhealthy for you. Puerto Ricans fry everything. Their vegetables, their rice, their pork, their ice cream… it’s all dripping with grease.
So for me, growing up, all of these foods were standard and expected.
Once I became aware of what the hell I was putting into my body, I was more aware of what I ate at the family parties and kept my intake to a minimum (my parents don’t cook that ethnic all of the time in our house. A majority of those foods are eaten around the Holidays. My parents’ idea of food is a different post.) But my eating wasn’t 100% “on track.”
I came into college and hated my roommate freshmen year so I literally would spend 3 hours at a time at the gym working out. I remember being so excited to go home for Thanksgiving Break to weigh myself because I was certain that I had lost weight. To my disappointment, I had somehow gained weight. Looking back on it now, the multiple servings of food at the buffet-style cafeteria are what did me in. Apples, and salads, and broccoli, and whole-wheat pasta all still have calories- so if you eat too much of them, you’re still going to gain weight! I also remember drinking Rock Star on a regular basis. The smell alone now makes my teeth hurt.
Back then, even as a Kinesiology major, I was under the impression that working out was everything. “Oh hey- I worked out today- I can eat this!” When in all reality, it’s a ratio of 80/10/10. What you look like is 80% based on what you eat, 10% is based on your physical activity, and 10% is based on your genetics. But there are some exceptions, like my sister, who is a freak and literally does not work out, eats whatever she wants which is usually McDonalds, cookies, chips, coke, and meat, and she is rail-thin and looks how I should look based on what I eat and how hard I work at the damn gym!! So, I take that ratio into account rather loosely. However, I still keep in mind that a majority, no matter how you spin it, of what you look like is based on what you eat.
Once I started seriously running last year, I started to lose weight. Since the summer of 2010, I’ve managed to lose close to 20 pounds. My own mother doesn’t believe me. Besides the fact that I know what numbers were on the scale, I don’t think I’d believe it either. Apparently, I hide my weight-gaining and losing very well.
However, since I’m 4’9”, I’m still considered over-weight for my height. Supposedly, anywhere between 87-115 pounds is considered healthy for me. 87 pounds? I’d have to lose multiple limbs to weigh that much…and even then, I wouldn’t weigh 87 pounds. So, screw you BMI.
Although I’m down 20 pounds, I’m not happy with where I’m at. I’m happy with where I’m going, but I’m not there yet.
Stay tuned for part II =)