Size 2 to 22: My 125 pound Weight Gain
I can’t remember the first time I thought I was fat. There was no light switch were I suddenly felt this way, probably because I was so young. I do vividly remember this picture of myself standing next to my best friend in what had to be first grade thinking why don’t I look like her.
Looking back I’m convinced my early struggles with weight were less about being fat and more about hitting puberty at 10 years young. I was developing far faster than my classmates and you could tell by what felt like the longest awkward phase of my life that I didn’t know how to handle it.
In the last 15 years of my life I’ve been every size between a 2 and 22. So I’m sure I wasn’t always fat, in fact I think at certain points I was thin and I was fit. Here’s some proof if ya needed it (also why are early teens so dang awkward).
Gaining 80 Pounds In One Year
The real weight, the weight that changed my adult life didn’t start coming on until Sophomore and Junior year of highschool. Between not knowing how to handle my very female adult body at 16 and trauma after trauma in my life (story for another day) I put on 80 pounds in less than a year. That reality alone is a hard one to admit.
I went from an size 8 (the two pictures above) to stuffing myself in a 14 in under a year.
My first efforts to get this whole thing under control were well before I gained weight so swiftly though. I remember going to Weight Watchers as quite a young child. Looking back I thought I was on the program. As my mom tells the story, I was a very imaginative kid who was attached to mom’s hip and that’s where she was on Saturday mornings.
Nonetheless, somewhere between 8 and 16 years old I convinced myself I had a problem. Between 16 and 17 years old I developed an actual problem. And well the next decade (plus some) is a blur of gaining and losing weight over and over again.
I’m not even willing *at least yet* to admit the highest the scales hit. But what I can tell you is how I got here.
How I Gained the Weight
I was an extremely active kid who happened to be pretty bad at most sports - but that didn’t keep me from participating in Softball, Volleyball, Basketball, Track & Field, Swim Team, Cross Country *what was I thinking*, and try-outs that never panned out for cheerleading and flag team. I said I was fit, I never said I was athletic.
When I wasn’t at sports practice, I was riding my bicycle or playing outside with the neighbor boys.
Going from having practice multiple, if not every day of the week, to NONE at all my Sophomore year of highschool is a cruel and unusual joke for someone who loves food.
When you are that active - you eat like you are that active. When you stop being active and continue to eat like you have your entire post-puberty life - well friends, you gain weight. But it really wasn’t all that simple.
I like many of you have deeper issues with food. I would just eat when I was stressed, bored, or basically any other random reason I could come up with. I hid food. I would sometimes even eat multiple dinners. Oh girl I had a problem, and I didn’t address it head on so it just kept getting worse.
My Breaking Point
Fast-forward to November 3, 2016. It was the day I was in a 5-car pile up and it was the day that changed everything. What should have been a rather ordinary day tail spun into the sickest I’ve ever been in my life. I had a traumatic brain injury. Life as I once knew it was over.
Hundreds of doctors appointments. Countless hours of physical and vestibular therapy. Wondering if simple things would ever be simple again. The pain is constant. It lurks in the darkest corners of my mind and haunts my sleep.
That day - well, it deserves much more explanation - but for the context of my battle with weight it meant so much.
Within days I went from working out 3x a week to barely being able to lift ten pounds (no exageration). Walking up stairs after bashing both my knees into a dashboard was unbearable. I had lost all my strength. Limitations make adjusting to a new normal necessary.
I spent a lot of time in bed. I spent a lot of time questioning why this happened to me.
In the course of 2 years I gained the final 24 pounds. That was it - I couldn’t do it anymore.
A Fresh Start
A few days before the start of 2019 my husband and I decided it was time. He was ready to take this journey with me, we needed to do this together. We both had tried it plenty of times on our own to various degrees of success. But this time was going to be different and I could feel it.
Two and a half months into it and I can already tell you we are off to smashing success - I’ll reveal our results for the month soon - but trust me we are crushing it. You can check out the January and February progress reports here.
A New Perspective
Yes even with some of the dramatic changes in my life - i.e. gaining 80lbs in a year - the weight for the most part didn’t happen overnight. It took me nearly 15 years to gain 125 pounds. And I’d love for it to all melt away in an instant.
I could sit her and tell you I regret it all and I should have learned my lesson years ago, but that honestly isn’t true. My weight, my choices, the food I ate - it was all part of my life. It was apart of my life when I met my husband. It was there when I said I do. It was there when I bought my first home. It was there when I laughed so hard I peed my pants. It was there when I smiled and when I cried. It was there when I lost some of the people most dear to me. It was there for it all.
In some ways, in maybe more ways than I want to acknowledge that weight was a safety net, a comfort zone, a way to protect myself.
It was and is also there because I’ve never enjoyed being objectified (nor does anyone I’m pretty sure) - but the whistling and the side comments and perhaps even some of the actions of men and boys were and are not appropriate.
I ate when I was in physical pain, emotional pain and stress far beyond what I thought I could handle. To over simplify it and say I wish it wasn’t there or I wish it didn’t happen is to say I wish my life wasn’t at all what it was. And that’s not true even a little bit. I’ve gone through a lot, but I am so proud of how far I’ve come. I never let my weight hold me back from pursuing my dreams. It never even felt like a factor to me. I can be exactly who I am in any given moment and still be powerful.
I am more than just fat. I am so much more. I am more than just a number on a scale. And you are too.
Do This With Me
To make this thing really happen we (yes, my husband and I are doing this together) are publically holding ourselves accountable. Every step of the way I’m sharing recipes, and meal plans in our free Facebook group - so not only are we doing it, but you can do it right along with us.
To follow along with our weekly grocery runs, and my workout routines follow me on Instagram - @abagailsays.
We are here to help! You can do this.