Tuesday, I read a post by Kaella called When You Don’t Recognize Yourself In The Mirror. She talked about how she doesn’t even recognize myself anymore, gained twenty pounds this year, and is not comfortable in her own skin. When I read that, it really struck a chord with me. Over the last two years, I’ve put on over 20 solid pounds. It was something that I was ashamed of and didn’t want to address or acknowledge but seeing Kaella’s post (on top of Ange’s post a while back about going from a size 4 to a 8), it really inspired me to write my own post because I’m sure we are not alone.
Growing up, I always had “thunder thighs.” I swam for around 10 years and my thighs were always huge no matter what I did. Then I transitioned to competitive badminton and long distance running. So I was always active and constantly burning calories (on top of having a teenager’s metabolism). However, I always struggled with my food intake. Being of an Asian background, I was always told that thin was beautiful and that my thighs were on the larger side. It was always an uphill battle and on top of constantly working out, at most, I was only eating what I burnt. It got to the point where I would be crying over the fact that I had only burnt 1000 calories but ate 1100. I literally cried at a restaurant because I was offered french fries and I just “couldn’t have any.” It was ugly and it was a lonely struggle. On the outside, I seemed fine but on the inside, I was falling apart.
However, over the years, I’ve started recovering from my problems. I started eating more and letting go of the idea of only eating what I burned. While dating H, I went from only being able to eat maybe half a plate of food to the whole plate (and then some currently…). I went from 90lbs to 100lbs.
Then in university, my body seemed to have settled on being between 110-120lbs. Understandably, I could not weigh the same as I did at 15 when I was 19. I let it go after a long talk with myself after trying to practically kill every calorie I consumed on the elliptical (this was when I took my break from running). I still had the idea of keeping my weight low but I tried to be “reasonable” with myself.
That was 3 years ago. When I started running again, I finally gave myself the freedom to consume whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted. I literally spun out of control. But that was “okay” because I was practically running over 10K on weekdays and 21K on the weekends (um, side note, how I survive this, I do not know). Then I started running with a club and my mileage decreased as my junk miles were cut out. I put on maybe 5lbs or so but I wasn’t too concerned. I was still around 118-120lbs at this point and I was happy eating everything I wanted to.
So how did I go from 120lbs to 140lbs? Well, I got injured. I got injured in both training seasons after my half marathon and the calories consumed no longer evened out with what I was burning. Like Kaella, when I see photos of myself currently, I don’t recognize myself. My cheeks are rounded, my chin looks like I got a double going, my stomach is softer and squishy, and my clothes don’t fit. Thank goodness work has no dress code so wearing sweatpants is a-okay.
I honestly feel uncomfortable. I dislike photos. I worry that if I try to restrain my eating, I’m not strong enough to avoid reverting myself back to my previous ways.
Similar to Kaella, I don’t really know where this post is going. I shot my first vlog yesterday and while editing – I tried to focus on not the parts of my body that I am not a fan of, but instead of focusing on parts of my body that I’m proud of. For example, my “thunder thighs” actually work in my favour when I have to run, swim, or bike – I should not be worrying about one of the strongest part of my body looking big but instead how effective it is. I just wanted to share my story alongside Ange and Kaella and to let people know that you’re not alone. There is no shame in gaining weight. While it is difficult to accept my body, I’m working on accepting me for me. That’s all.
[Tweet “When You Don’t Recognize Yourself. 20lbs in 2 years.”]
QOTD: What have you been struggling with lately?
Major props to these strong ladies for sharing their thoughts of this issue – links to connect with them is below!
Linking up this post with Amanda from Running with Spoons for Thinking Out Loud Thursday.