When I was younger, I was a tall, lanky kid. Taller than all of the kids in my elementary class, sometimes by a foot. I always thought I would grow up to be super tall since my dad is 6’9 and my mom is 5’11. Guess where I stopped? 5’7. I’m the shortest one in my family. As I grew up, of course, I gained weight but it wasn’t anything out of the norm. I wasn’t a pudgy, butterball kid like my baby photos. I have more hips and butt than I ever cared for, but that’s genetics and nothing I can really help. In high school, I was really body conscious but not to the point where it consumed my life or I thought I needed to starve myself or throw up. I just noticed that I was bigger than all of my friends. Where they were fitting into size 0-4 pants, I was wearing 8-10. But it never got to the point where I thought to the extreme to “fix” my weight. I was fairly active in high school (and junior high); I was on the volleyball team. And let me tell you, sometimes I thought I was going to die during practice. But as senior year rolled around, I stopped playing volleyball (I didn’t want to be on the junior varsity team and thought I was better than some of the girls who made it to the varsity team). Being active in P.E. wasn’t an issue. All my teacher cared about was that we changed into our P.E. Uniform and was there every day. Most of the time, I spent it on the bleachers talking to my friend who also decided that volleyball wasn’t what she wanted to do anymore. I don’t regret stopping volleyball. I missed my team, yes, but it wasn’t like I stopped talking to them or hanging out with them. In fact, it was better on my body anyway. I didn’t have aches in my joints or a multitude of bruises all over from hitting the floor (sometimes without knee pads, ouch!). My ankles and knees still hurt from playing but it could also be from “getting old”.
During the summer of my junior/senior year, I did lose some weight. Enough to where people noticed at the beginning of senior year and would comment on how good I looked. I usually quipped back with “oh so you thought I was fat before?” I was never serious about it. I laughed with them and made sure they knew I was joking. For as big as I got/felt I was I never saw it as a reason to get depressed or down on myself for it. I control my weight, no one else. Besides, whenever I do (or did) compare myself to others, I see it as “I could be a lot worse” or “they’re big and proud of it”. After high school, the weight seemed to drop off of me. I was insanely active with something to always do with my friends for 2-3 years. At one point, I got down to a size 4. I didn’t look good at a size 4. I looked sickly, but I was happy because I could fit into a size 4. I think at that point, I weight 125-128. That lasted for maybe a month or two then I was back to a comfortable 132-138. The breaking point for everything was when I stopped doing as much with friends (work obligations and we all started to go separate ways, but not to the point where we stopped hanging out, just not as much as before) and starting working a cookie bouquet store. The free cookies (with icing if I wanted it) and as much as you wanted while you worked did me in.
I didn’t balloon up overnight, it was a slow process but I went from 132-138 to 148-152. Still not bad. I was happy at a size 8-10 (12 on a bad day). Then I really stopped being active. I got a full-time job where i was an assistant manager and became a homebody. Going out was fun, but it wasn’t as appealing as it was when I was younger. I think that 2-3 years where it was something every night, except on Sunday’s because we all needed a rest day, was enough for me. Not to mention, not having money to constantly go out and drink, if I wanted to, was a big factor and I didn’t feel comfortable asking friends to spot me. I would return the favor when I could, but I didn’t feel right in asking. Being a homebody shouldn’t mean you couldn’t work out or never leave home. I left, I did things, and I would occasionally use my work out DVDs. I would always dance around my room and/or apartment. I was active-ish. But in this day and age of technology, watching TV and being on the computer is a little more appealing than sweating it out in a gym or communing with nature.
An even bigger catalyst was school. I finally went back to school. My first program was a breeze. I worked at the mall at the time, so I maintained my 168-173 weight. Not ideal, but, again, I was okay with it. I couldn’t complain about my weight when I wasn’t actively doing anything to do anything about it. When I got into my second program and got a new job in an office, I jumped up in weight. Who knew working at the mall was an okay source of exercise? I started stress eating. Especially around times when I knew there was going to be quizzes or during mid-terms and finals time. But really, I can’t use that as an excuse because instead of eating comfort/junk food, I could have easily snacked on healthier foods. Now I’m at 194 and honestly, the last 20 pounds… I’m not happy with them but I know where they came from. I started to find ways to justify eating dessert after dinner (sometimes even lunch). I ate a donut every day for breakfast at school. It smells so good in the morning when you’re walking from the parking lot to the class room so you tend to take a detour. Today, I didn’t have a donut… But I did have a Chonga bagel with cream cheese… I know, not the best, but it’s better than fried bread dipped in sugar.
So where did this come from? Knowing almost a month ago that I needed to change something. Then taking a side road trip to Ojai, CA during my vacation in Los Angeles, CA and going to Bart’s books. I was in the “kitchen” looking at cookbooks to find something for my mom as a souvenir to take back and I found a book called “raw foods for busy people” for $5. Not a bad deal, especially as something to look at to see if I would want to try anything in it. Then a week ago, I was at the college bookstore and I saw a raw foods cookbook by Ani Phyo. I believe in signs and the universe trying to tell you things. I’m still debating on doing a semester overseas because in that same week (back-to-back days) I saw something on the bulletin board for Semester-At-Sea then got an email for an internship overseas. That’s a sign. If not to study overseas than to take a trip overseas. I took that along with looking up natural/health food stores one night and getting a Groupon in an email the very next day for a local health food store as a sign to actually do it. To be the change I want to see in myself… Or something like that.
I don’t expect this to be an overnight change. This is going to be something gradual because if I jump head first into it, I’m going to get flustered, feel like I can’t do it and quit. I woke up this morning, my shirt was up from over my stomach (I guess I had a rough night’s sleep) and all I can think was, “I bet my stomach looks like I’m pregnant.” I’m not pregnant, I’m fat. It doesn’t hurt my feelings to say that. It might a little when other people say it depending on how I’m feeling that day but that’s only because sometimes the truth hurts. I know I’m overweight; I’ve been overweight for a majority of my life. But something has to change. I need to change and I’m going to start with my eating habits. Exercise and I don’t really get along. Although, I am going to do Zumba classes because I have a Groupon for 20 Zumba classes that I plan on using once I have more time after summer quarter.
I spent an entire class (it’s only an hour and all my teacher did was give a handout to read and one to do the exercise then left, I can do that in 10 minutes later) and lab time looking at different kitchen appliances. Food processors, juicers and blenders. I usually start with 1 star for reviews and read a couple of 5 star reviews. I found one of each that I think I would be happy with and stuff that I can take back (Wal-Mart) without a reprocessing fee (ordering from amazon). All decent prices too. From what I gather, don’t buy big and expensive thinking that because the price is high, it’s great quality. That’s not always the case. Also, expect that sometimes machinery isn’t going to always work the way you want it to. There’s going to be adjustments that you have to make to be satisfied with the product. As is with most things in life, right?
I’m going into this with low expectations so I don’t get my hopes up. This is going to be a process, I know. I expect it to be tough work and use up a lot of will-power not to go the easy route. I’m going to pick a few recipes from the few raw foods books that I bought and see what I like. Another reason why I’m not jumping into it head first without research is that I don’t want to end up not liking the food. But it’s also time to change that. I can’t keep eating the same stuff over-and-over because that’s what I like. It’s time to branch out and see what else is out there. How do I know if I like it or not without trying it? From now until the second week of august is when I’m going to do my own prep to get myself into the raw food lifestyle. I don’t expect to shed pounds instantly. If by the end of 6 weeks (a little after second-year starts up), I only lose 10 pounds, I’m going to be happy with that because at least I did something and I tried. From there, I don’t know what I’m going to do but maybe I will have found foods that I can incorporate into my eating habits that are good for me.