I’m overweight. I don’t like talking about it. It has been a fact since the fourth grade, it’s something I struggle with pretty much every day, and if I talk about it, it makes it more real or a bigger deal or something. I don’t know. I just know it makes me sad and mad.
I’ve been on a diet, or wanting to be on a diet, since I was in the sixth grade. For those of you who keep calculations at home, that is approximately two-thirds of my life.
Gosh. That’s staggering to realize. What a waste.
In 2003, I was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Among some other really lovely side effects, PCOS makes it difficult to lose weight, process insulin correctly, and have a regular period. In fact, according to the website WomensHealth.gov, as many as one in ten women could have PCOS, so you may be sitting next to someone in class or church or passing someone in the grocery store aisle who is struggling just like me.
If you’re in the grocery store, she’s the one wishing her cart was full of muffins instead of veggies. Look into her eyes. You will know.
I spent most of my adolescent years thinking that because I was treating my body badly, it didn’t work right in many areas. But it ended up I had a disease working against me as well.
Don’t get me wrong; I also didn’t eat well. It was a fairly regular Friday night in tenth grade when I would go to Arby’s with some football player friends and managers (I was a manager . . .), and I would order—get ready for it—
- large roast beef sandwich with liquid cheddar
- large curly fries with more of that liquid cheddar
- large Coke
- medium Jamocha shake
And no kidding, I thought nothing of it. The more shocking truth? It is only the tiny shreds of self-control I possess that keep me from still thinking that meal would be a good idea. Would it taste good? Totally. Would it ruin my soul? Possibly.
(Just kidding. Sorta.)
Speaking of my soul, I thought food fed it. The places that felt empty in me, I filled with food. Lonely? Eat. Sad? Eat. Celebrate? Eat.
Yes, yes, yes. Never say no. Never deny yourself. Eat, eat, eat.
Why not just say no? Why not just eat less and move more? Why not just up my discipline and lower my intake?
I was never good at it. That’s the most honest answer I can come up with. I tried and failed and tried and failed, and because I wasn’t diagnosed with PCOS as a teenager, I would try and fail, and the cycle of doing all I knew to do and it not working at all made for lots of frustration.