Last May, I was about 40 pounds heavier and a bunch of inches thicker. I was four pant sizes and two-three (depending on the store) shirt sizes bigger. I couldn’t dream of shopping in “normal” stores, save for the maternity section or the occasional tunic or dress that I fashioned into a form-fitting shirt (Yes, really. I did both).
Last May I was uncomfortable wearing t-shirts and wouldn’t dream of wearing tank tops. No one wants to see all that flab flapping around. When I did finally start to wear tank tops, it was the biggest deal. I remember calling my mom as I stood at the big box hardware store wearing a sleeveless dress. I was nearly in tears I was so proud…and so terrifyingly self-conscious.
Last May I didn’t leave the house without my hair and make up done, my outfit acceptably perfect. Why give the world another reason to judge me? I may be The Fat Girl but I would never dream of being The Ugly Fat Girl.
Last May I struggled to run for 30 seconds. I stuck mostly to the elliptical at the gym, because I was afraid of how unattractive and out of shape I’d look trying something new. I didn’t make eye contact and I stayed in the back row of my darkened spin class—the only group class I would attempt.
This May, I’m still stuck in a seemingly never-ending weight loss plateau, but I’ve lost over 60 pounds in about a year, I’ve tightened and toned my body to the point where I sometimes like what I see in the mirror. I haven’t given up. I regularly shop at normal stores in mostly normal sizes. Sometimes, I even need to grab a smaller size.
This May, I cry in dressing rooms because I can’t believe I fit in the size 14 shirt not because I have to grab the 3X.
This May, I’ve run a 5K race, with a goal of doing five more this year (three are on the calendar!). I’ve gotten my heavy body up on a paddleboard…while wearing a swimsuit. I’ve taken (and love!) a boot camp and a weights class—where I’m constantly uncomfortable and pushed to my physical and self-esteem limits.
This May, I rarely wear makeup when I’m not at work or going out socially. I’ve stopped caring what I look like in the best possible way: I still want to look cute, obviously, but I no longer spend an hour getting ready to go to Target on a Saturday afternoon.
This May, I’ve mostly made peace with myself. As is, right now. Fat and all. The scale doesn’t define me, your opinion of me, and what fat girls should and should not do, doesn’t define me. I define me. And I like me. I’m proud of me.
This May, I can’t wait to see who I am next May.