My weight is something that has really bothered me right from the age of 9, when I started to gain it. I know what you’re thinking, 9 is way too young to be worrying about weight and I completely agree. After struggling with it for so long, I think it bothered me so much from such a young age because of the lack of control I had over it.
I was diagnosed with Hashimotos at the age of 9 so I don’t really remember much other than feeling ill all the time, a lot of appointments and the dreaded blood tests. In case you didn’t know, Hashimotos is an auto immune disease that attacks the thyroid, thinking its a foreign object in the body it must rid. The thyroid controls countless bodily functions and when the thyroid goes bye bye, everything stops.
Metabolism is just one of countless things my thyroid has affected. I used to be really active till the shit storm I call chronic illness happened; you couldn’t stop me. I used to do gymnastics, ballet, swimming, horse-riding and kick boxing, just to name a few. The activities I did daily kept my muscles strong and my weight at a healthy number. When my Hashimotos made itself known, the wait gain slowly started even with the amount of exercise I did. I had no control.
Fast forward to 11, everything went bad very quickly. My parents looked out for the signs of my thyroid packing up, and as soon as it was apparent it was happening again, I was taken to the doctors and diagnosed. I was told I needed medicine called Levothyroxine to keep my body working, and it if I didn’t take it I’d die. Yep, that’s good doctors for you. Again, if you weren’t already aware, the condition itself causes weight gain but so does the medication. As soon as I started taking it, the weight piled on with one swish blink of an eye. Keep in mind, at this point I had dropped gymnastics and ballet, but taken up a place on the Netball team and started Tae Kwon Doe. I remember overhearing a nasty girl say if you were over 7 stone you were fat, and I was. It hurt but that was just the start.
I’m not making any excuses for my weight but exercise kept it steady. Steady enough I could still be fit with a little chub on the hips. I used to do cross country at lunch times too, had Netball practices 3 times a week and a match every week, went swimming twice a week, horse riding on the weekends and Tae Kwon Doe twice a week too. I also walked to school which was a couple miles from my friends house. I wasn’t a lazy kid.
Again fast forward to age 13, I was at a ‘chubby’ weight but not a size you would consider obese. I fell ill, stopped EVERYTHING within days, and remained bedbound for however many drawn out months it was. Then boom, house bound for nearly 2 years, even better. As you’ve probably already guessed from the sudden loss of exercise, my weight went crazy. I felt horrible about it for so long, struggling with the concept of being ill on the inside but also loosing control on the outside. If you haven’t already guessed, I like control in my life; control and structure. I have lost two stone since my heaviest but only when I gained some more energy, which isn’t something I have spare.
My point of this post I guess, is to end the stigma with food and weight. I hate the way I look at my self in the mirror one day, and I’m pleased I’m curvy as all hell and I have these massive hips to give me shape but the other days, I can just see these tree trunk legs and belly and nothing else. It’s quiet sad. I love my hips and I love my figure. I have a very similar figure to my mum at my age. I’m just more padded out than she was, but some days I’m okay with that and other days I hate it. I hate not having control and I hate the guilt I feel for looking this way. I hate walking into a fast food restaurant and watching for people looking and laughing at the fat girl at Maccys. Just because I’m fat doesn’t mean I stuff my face with food like a couch potato. I’m sure that’s the case for many.
I think gaining weight is one thing, with the right attitude you can easily lose it again. Gaining weight and having no real option of losing weight because exercise makes you pass out, or you lost all your muscle being bedbound, is another. I tried riding last summer again and boy can I tell you, my back and legs were in agony for weeks. I have no core muscles to keep me up right and give me the power in my legs I need to keep myself stable and my pony motivated. I figured that out very quickly. Chronic pain and my POTS are my biggest obstacles, none of which are my fault yet I cant help but feel bad about my size when everyone else is motivated and on the track to a healthy lifestyle.
The comments I see on social media don’t help either. They’re on these big time posts by someone like UNILAD, and other people’s over all attitude to bigger women and men is sometimes really disgusting. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the comments are lovely and considerate, but the ‘stop eating fatty and get fit’ mentality is still very much real.
For me personally, the lack of overweight chronic illness warriors gets to me too. For most, they lose weight due to the muscle wasting away. That’s what it feels like anyway. The chronic illness community is great for support with your illnesses, but watching others battle their illnesses without worrying about the weight frustrates me. I can certainly feel gross on the inside and out.
Don’t get me wrong however, I love my hips, my waist and my height. I love my face, even if it is sickly looking and as pale as winters breathe at times. My problem is the lack of control which has always been my biggest battle. Since starting college however, I have to admit, seeing over big girls who are just as beautiful and as confident as the smaller girls has helped my confidence massively. So, I’m not ashamed of who am I and the way I look, I thrive with passion and dedication and bad dad jokes and I love myself no matter what because I deserve that; as does everyone. I just think the world needs to become a more considerate and supportive place is all. Maybe them, some of us bigger ladies and gents too, wouldn’t be so disappointed.