Once Upon a Fat Girl

Sunday, June 04, 2006

I did it! Triathlon training: Week One

Oh My God!!!

I just got home from the gym. I have successfully completely my first week of triathlon training. Week one called for three days of training...I got the third day in with hours to spare. But I did it!

Are you ready for this? I rode the stationary bike for FIFTY MINUTES! Then I walked on the treadmill for ten to cool down...and I even did my strength training for the day (biceps and triceps and abs.)

I can't even describe how I feel. It's amazing. I can not...CAN NOT believe that I was able to handle 50 minutes on the bike. I took the workout level down a notch, to accomodate the endurance...but I did it!

My OA sponser asked me to write something about my history with weight/fat/dieting. Thought I might as well post it here as well:

I was in the first grade the first time I remember feeling fat. The cafeteria lady would walk around telling kids to clean their plates. Finally, after several weeks, I managed to eat every bite on my plate. I raised my hand and showed her, and she said, “I didn’t mean you, chunk.” I can remember that as if it were yesterday.

Not long after that, we moved and I started a new school. For some reason, at this new school I was that kid, you know, the one that gets picked on. I’m not sure why. Looking back I was a normal-looking little girl. Pretty even. I was tall for my age, but not fat. I decided the kids didn’t like me because I was too fat. I was six.

I remember deciding in the third grade to stop eating cookies. By this time, my parents were divorcing and couldn’t speak to each other; I was very much in the middle. And miserable. Torn. I remember sneaking food out of the kitchen…always sweets…and eating them in my bed, crying. I remember, even this young, wondering why my mother didn’t just make me lose weight. I remember thinking that she could have.

My mother was always on a diet. I remember her eating the little Ayds caramels. Remember those? My sister and I would sneak them when she wasn't looking. She did Slim Fast. TOPS. Weight Watchers. Some weird program where she had to chew up food and spit it into a jar. (That one didn’t last long.) She followed strict diets where she could only eat green food for days at a time. She had an entire bookshelf filled with 70s and 80s diet books by Atkins and Richard Simmons and Weight Watchers.

I was always been athletic. I took dance classes from age six to ten. I wasn’t very good. I’m tall and not real graceful. Not like my stepsister, who was tiny and delicate and danced like she was born to it. When I was 10, my stepmother told me I just wasn’t ever going to be a good dancer and I should choose another sport.

I was a good swimmer. I won ribbons and trophies and I kept it up until I graduated high school. But I always felt like I was swimming because I wasn’t small enough to dance.

My stepmother made it a habit to sit me down every now and then and tell me “you aren’t fat now, but if you aren’t careful you will end up just like your mother.”

I wish…you have no idea how badly I wish…I could go back and ask her what the fuck was wrong with ending up like my mother? My mother was beautiful and strong…she just wasn’t small.

By the ninth grade I was 5’9” and about 160 pounds of pure muscle. I wore a size medium…an 8 or so. I was so strong! I swam 500 meters everyday as warm-up for a 2 hour work-out. That's 20 laps in a 25-meter pool! As warm-up! I ran everyday with my track team.

Looking back at pictures, I was so fit, so beautiful. I felt like a cow. Because girls aren’t supposed to weigh 160. My sister Jill was 6’ and weighed 125. My stepsister Alison was too young to compare myself to, but she was tiny and perfect. My stepmother used to tell me she weighed 160 when she was nine-months pregnant with twins.

I remember desperately wanting to weigh 135. I wanted to wear a size 6. I bought a diet plan from the back of a magazine in junior high. It low carb and came with a protein powder. I never tried to follow it. I did try Slim Fast and once when I was in high school I bought Dexatrim, but I was busted.

That summer between eighth and ninth grades, I traveled to Costa Rica with my best friend. Her mother lived there, and we went alone to visit her for the summer. I came home fifteen pounds lighter. When my stepmother and dad picked me up at the airport, they couldn’t stop talking about how gorgeous I was.

Except for always having the desire (in varying degrees) to ‘lose weight’, I’ve never been on any radical diets. I was already very athletic…besides swimming, I ran track, played soccer and rode my bike everywhere. I exercised three or four hours a day, besides P.E. class and riding my bike. I wasn’t fat. No doctor would have thought so, so none were involved.

I gained weight after high school, when I stopped track and swimming. I was 20 when I got pregnant with Adrienne, and I weighed 225 pounds. Now I really was fat. Although, for some reason, I’ve always held it well. I wore a size 14 at that weight.

Here’s where it gets weird. I lost 25 pounds during that pregnancy. The day I had Adrienne, on my way home, they weighed me and I weighed 200 pounds. I was so excited, but it didn’t last long. Afterward I gained at least 60 pounds in less than a year.

I managed to get down to about 240 before I got pregnant with Nick. I lost 25 pounds again with him. This time, somehow, I managed to only put that weight back on. I was pretty stable at 240 to 250 for years after Nick was born.

I would join TOPS, or Weight Watchers, make attempts to lose weight. But they never worked. I’d lose ten, gain fifteen. By the time I met Kevin four years ago I was up to 270. By the time I was pregnant with Ruby eighteen months later, I was up to 298.

This time I lost thirty pounds during my pregnancy. I ended up weighing 270. After she was born, I could not stop eating. It was scary. Like a months-long binge. In retrospect, I think it might have been some kind of weird form of post-partum depression. Ruby is 18-months old now and I have gained 58 pounds. On May 1, 2006 I weighed 323.

I have as many, or more, diet/fitness/nutrition books as my mother. I tend toward the natural/whole food type diets. I have a delicate stomach (IBS) and can’t handle a lot of meat, so Atkins-type diets have never appealed to me. Low-carb is probably the only thing I’ve never tried.

I’ve tried food combining, Dr. McDougal, Susan Powter was my guru for a long time, Marilu Henner, Richard Simmons, Dr. Dean Ornish, Dr. Andrew Weil…you name it, I’ve read the book, bought the tape, tried the diet and at least made a half-hearted attempt at following it for a few weeks.


Blogger Barbara said...

Oh Shaunta! What a horrible thing for a little girl to hear. If I heard anyone calling a child "chunk" I swear, I would make sure they were fired. That is so sad.
It sounds as if your stepmom was very jealous of your mom and took it out on you.
Keep up the awesome work at the gym! Way to go!!

9:46 PM  
Blogger kathrynoh said...

Well done on the 50 mins on the bike. And thanks for sharing your story. What a nasty lunch lady - people think they are being smart saying that stuff to kids. They don't realise the damage it's doing.

2:02 AM  
Blogger Amazon Alanna said...

Oh, Shaunta! It seems to me that a lot of the adults in your life did not help you gain the self confidence a growing girl needs. Dang!

Congrats on the tri training. That is awesome!

I know you've tried every diet under the sun, but were you aware that WW has a diet that consists of whole foods like brown rice, eggs and fish? Might be something to consider if you've never tried it and are feeling ready to ad to OA.

7:26 AM  
Blogger Shaunta said...

thanks for all the support everyone!

Alanna...I've made a commitment to give up dieting. It's working for me so far!

8:18 AM  
Blogger drstaceyny said...

Chewing food and spitting it in a jar?!

Congrats on the 50 minutes. Sounds like with your athletic history, you'll be conqering this training program in no time!

8:22 AM  
Blogger drstaceyny said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Amazon Alanna said...

That's right, you have mentioned that before...sorry.

I'm really impressed with your tri training, though. I'm at work and every free moment so far today I'm jealous of the fact that you're training and I'm not. Pooh.

9:18 AM  
Blogger Jen said...

Wow! Look at you go Shaunta! You are such an inspiration girl! I feel so proud of you :)

The fact that there are people out there like that horrible lunch lady makes me sick. They have no idea how damaging their little comments are.

My story is a bit different but the end results sound so similar. We just have to get past that junk right? I wish it was easy.

You are doing it though and I think it's great!

7:52 AM  

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