The older I get the more comfortable I am saying this: I am a big person. I am not curvy. Well, I am in a few places. Not my butt. Sadly my ass is just flat and wide. But mostly I'm just round. Soft and squishy. Arms. Thighs. Belly. Face. Round. Squishy. There's no point being wishy washy about it. It's plainly evident to anyone who's ever seen me. And I'm mostly okay with it. I'm not burdened with a huge amount of insecurity about how I look, because I'm a firm believer that you can be perfectly lovely at any size and shape.
I've been the chubby kid since I was, ehh, I don't know...eight? Nine? I don't think I was really aware of it till middle school. I sort of smoothed out in high school, without realizing it. Don't you hate looking back on old pictures, and you want to just smack your old self and say, “You were so freaking cute!” Oy. But ever since college, and recovering from my first serious battle with depression, the plumpness seemed to be there to stay. I've fluctuated over the years, like anyone else. Successfully lost significant weight a handful of times. Ballooned up, from being too poor to eat much beyond eggs and pasta. Slimmed back down. Same old story, you've heard it a thousand times.
We didn't know it until I was about 20, but my childhood weight gain was caused by the incurable underlying source of this struggle of mine, PCOS. Without carrying on too much here, the basic gist of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is that you don't ovulate regularly, your eggs instead become tiny cysts. It's a genetic condition with no known cause or cure, just a whole lot of symptoms and subsequent symptom management. It throws your hormones all out of whack, which in turn messes with your insulin. It causes weight gain and makes it particularly hard to lose weight, and keep it off. Don't get me wrong, some of the squish is also the direct result of family behavior patterns, not so great decision making, and too much enthusiasm about donuts, egg rolls, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I won't pretend it's entirely out of my hands, a medical inevitability I am helpless to change.
Which brings me to my real point, which is that I have just signed up for a three month Weight Watchers plan. I've done Weight Watchers twice before. Once I went to meetings. I was about 19, and it was just all wrong for where I was in life at the time. The second time I was in my mid twenties. I did the online program and lost thirty pounds, fairly quickly, and kept it off for quite a while. I know the system and that it works for me. This time...I don't know how to explain it, but this is the time. Maybe you know – I hope you do, because it's an empowering thing – that feeling when doubt vanishes, everything seems to click into place, and you know that your time has come. It's how I felt when I started using watercolors. There's no one clear thing saying, “it's time. You have arrived.” You just feel it. That sense of, to quote Bob's Burgers, “This is me now!”
Well, this is me now. I'm the girl doing Weight Watchers. I'm the girl who has set a goal to lose a minimum of fifty pounds before I turn thirty. Fifty is a big number. Fifty of anything is a lot. But I've lost thirty pounds before. I know I can do thirty. And once I hit that thirty, well, I know I can lose twenty, too. Not so hard, right? HA. This is going to suck. I have no doubt about that. But I'm ready to deal with the suckfest. I'm happy with my family, my home, my neighborhood, my art. I want to be happy about my body, too. It'll certainly be nice to shop for smaller clothes. Don't even get me started on the plus size clothing industry. I will rage. But I'm not really looking for skinny. I have never, ever cared about being thin. Again, I'm usually pretty okay with how I look. But my kid is fast, and I need to be able to keep up with her, and I definitely want to eliminate a bunch of health risks before they get a chance to do their evil deeds. And a decrease in my PCOS symptoms would be, in a word, sublime.
I'm a little nervous about this. Not that I'll fail. I'm nervous about succeeding. Something that people who haven't spent most of their lives as a plus size person in a thin-worshipping society cannot possibly understand is how much it molds your personality. I am terrified of how different my life will be if I'm not the chubbiest person in the room. I am terrified that maybe without my weight, I'm not really that funny, or friendly, or creative. All these traits that I've subconsciously cultivated as compensation for not being the typically attractive one in the group. Maybe, hopefully - I'd like to think probably - that's all nonsense, and I'll be the same as I always have been. But if you've ever wondered why big people don't seem in a rush to lose the weight, that may be a huge part of it. I do not know who I am as a non-plump person. That version of me has never existed. I'm excited, but I am also full of fear.
I'm making this journey public, because a) I'm not ashamed of my weight or the fact that I need to lose some, b) people knowing what I'm doing will help to hold me accountable, and most importantly c) ain't no way I'm gonna be able to stick with this unless I can celebrate and bitch about it here and through my art.
All my posts about my adventure with Weight Watchers will be tagged here and on Instagram as #kndoesww. I'd absolutely love for you to follow along. I'm also definitely open to tips, tricks, healthy snacks, stories of your own weight struggles, you name it. I want to talk about this. It's time. Fifty pounds. I got this. I can do this. I'll probably always be squishy, and lord, have mercy, I love food. But it's time. I'm ready. This is me now.