Friday, December 9, 2011

Weighty Issues

I've got a load on me I need to get off, again. 

Since well, forever, my weight has fluctuated terribly. 

Dance Recital. 

I was pushing 200lbs going into 6th grade. That is quite chubby for a 5'4 gal. My doctor was concerned, my folks were confused, and I was depressed.  I was very down in the dumps, unable to cope, and somewhat lost. I had no friends, no hobbies, and no life outside of my bedroom. Even in school, I didn't consider anyone a friend. Mainly though, because I was a defensive little bitch. I didn't know what else to be. In response to the constant teasing and belittlement about my weight (and terrible skin issues), I got nasty. No, I never hit anyone, but I did get verbal. A couple detentions here and there gave me a bit of a reputation. Kids generally left me alone. During the summer months, I was a complete recluse. My Mother still had a babysitter watch my younger sister because we did not get along. I was more concerned about my books and Internet forums where my sister was running around with all the neighborhood kids having the time of her life. What else was I suppose to do? Bullying wasn't addressed in my grade schools days as it is today. Teachers turned the other way. In PE, it was nearly encouraged. I never finished a mile with the rest of the pact. No, I was dead last. Then I spent the rest of the period in the bathroom, throwing up. Grade school was a terrible period of my life.  

The summer after 6th grade, my Dad and I drove by a riding stable. Seeing the LESSONS sign, he stopped. I was perplexed. After years of begging for horse time, my Dad succumbed. My Mother told him no for years. I think that reasoning stems back to her own denial of riding by her own mom. It was one of my father's shinning moments in life. Right then and there I was signed up for lessons. We were given a list of required items; a helmet, jeans, and an approved heeled pair of boots. The following week I took my first riding lesson. All summer, fall, and winter I rode. Usually, a couple times a week. I was out at the barn all weekend long as well. It was amazing how well I bonded with horses. I was a sponge, soaking up everything about horses from my fellow boarders, trainers, online, and in books. It wasn't long until I had a friend or two as well. Then again, there were a couple girls who weren't very nice to the chubby, enthusiastic, pimply girl who wanted nothing more but to learn from them. 

After the summer of my 7th grade year, I was by then quite the little horsewoman. 

Can't recall the year. On the losing streak though. 

I could ride anything underneath me. I was training young horses. I was giving lessons to students. I was also running the barn with another girl. The owner/trainer wasn't the most responsible of adults. We were left with a list of instructions and always followed it to a T. If we veered, we got screamed at. There was a large dose of fear instilled in us from the owner/trainer. Even though this woman should have never left the place in the hands of two young girls, we learned enormous responsibility. We also were worked to death. There was no working bathroom or drinking water. If we had to go, we went into a stall. If we ran out of drinking water, we went thirsty. Same for food. From sunup to sundown, we were at the barn. It was virtually slave labor.

It's how I lost nearly 50lbs.

I wasn't eating right or drinking enough. 

Instead I was cleaning 30 stalls a day (straw, not shavings), pushing the wheel barrows down a 1/4 mile dirt path to dump, turning out those 30 horses, feeding all together 45 horses, cleaning tanks/buckets, bathing/grooming multiple horses a day, riding/driving at least 5 horses a day, lessoning with at least 5 students a day, among other things. I also put up 1500 bales of hay throughout the summer and stacked 100lb bags of grain. 

It eventually got the point where I no longer enjoyed the barn. Riding meant I had to appease the owner/trainer. By then, I had my own horse. Even to ride and enjoy my mare, I was coerced into working for the lazy lady. The few times my folks actually stayed around, she never bothered me. I had wonderful rides on my mare. But those were few and far between. Shortly after starting my sophomore year in High School my mare colicked and died. 

About a month before she passed. 

I always wondered if the trainer had anything to do with it. I told her shortly before that I couldn't continue working for her like that. In fact I was looking for a real job. She completely flipped out and stopped speaking to me for a while. This woman had serious issues and I was just starting to realize it.

The weight loss was extreme enough kids were actually paying attention to me. People wanted to know me. It was pretty cool, I'll admit it. But what previously ignored girl doesn't want attention? I was smart enough to see through the fake people. The older students were far kinder to me then my own age group. High school was turning out to be a fabulous time. 

Following my freshmen year, my time at the barn was still intense. I was there nearly every day. Unfortunately, I didn't get to spend the quality time with my mare I wish I had. She was really a fabulous horse. So good to me and I was such a shit sometimes. I spent more time with the trainers Draft horses then with my own good girl. Over that summer I did a lot of showing. Won a lot too. At the yearly State Fair is when everything came to head. The trainer brought a bunch of other girls, who never worked like I did. They were showing the nice horses before I was. I was basically brought along as a barn bitch. Clean the stalls, bathe the horses, and stay out the way. While everyone was having fun, I was being bossed around. My last class was a riding class, after the other girls had already showed the horse I was using. He was tired and I was overly upset about it. We had a terrible class.

After a bad class. 

Then the trainer screamed at me in the back of the barn. Luckily, my mom picked me up the same day. It was then on the ride home I bawled my eyes out over the things this psychopath was having me do and I couldn't take it anymore. That fall is when my mare died. It was the last straw. I packed up my shit after she tried to swindle us into one of her nasty horses. I was done with her. 

She didn't hesitate to tell me I would get fat again. And I did. My senior year I slowly ballooned back up to the 190's. 

Fall 2006.

With my mom and sister. Spring 2007.

After HS, I started using a gym and a personal trainer. There was a new horse in my life, with a great, but very strict trainer who taught me how to be a better rider and person. I started taking slightly better care of myself. 

Summer 2008.

But it wasn't enough. I still had a very unhealthy relationship with food. My weight continued to fluctuate badly. The summer before my senior year I was in the 160's and my new show clothes fitted perfectly. I rode well and confidently! The following summer, after graduation, not so much. It was my last year showing and I was terribly uncomfortable. My clothes didn’t fit well. I was lumpy and bumpy. When riding in an arena full of size 0’s, you get uncomfortable fast. There were no overweight youth riders. It was very frowned upon. I still rode my best. My best wasn’t good enough, but I did enjoy the last few shows with my horse.

I miss that guy so much. He was a saint. 

My favorite picture of me and him. 

I knew nothing about riding like that before starting with my last trainer. My edges were rough and sharp. They still kind of are. I guess I’ll always be a rough and tumble rider. Bad habits are hard to break, but they were habits that kept me alive in a very unsafe situation.

The few years following my short show career, I tried the college thing. Community college didn’t agree with me. Still doesn’t. Explains why I dropped out four years ago and just now started back up. While in the middle of that gap, I worked a lot of odd jobs, including running a boarding stable. I absolutely loved that job. It kept me active and fit, but at the same time exhausted. Shortly after that job, I got a desk job. Sitting for 8 hours a day was the worst possible thing I could have ever done. I was pushing 190 after the first couple months.

Luckily, a gym opened up next door. In the excitement of a new gym with new machines, I joined. It was great… at first. Even if I just went for 30 minutes, I felt like I was accomplishing something. Then it became crowded. VERY crowded. I would get there at 4:30 and nothing would be available! No treadmill, no elliptical, no bike. Nothing! I’m not a weight girl, especially with sweaty, smelly men grunting obnoxiously. It was seriously a jock fest joke back there. While I understand the importance of weights, I just couldn’t bring myself to rub elbows with those slobs.

I did start walking at home though. If I could steal a treadmill for at least a mile or two, I would go home and walk my dogs 2.5 miles (I had a safe route). It paid off! At the same time, I was watching what I ate like a hawk. Severely limiting myself so I could go out and drink on the weekends and not feel guilty.

I did too much of that. June 2010. 

Spinach smoothies and kale were an almost every day occurrence in my life. I give those two vegetables a lot of credit. At the same time though, I was burning myself out. My skin was clear and I was dropping weight fast.

My lowest was 143. 

Niagara Falls May 2010.

Sweating my butt off at the barn. July 2010.

I had never been happier with my weight. At the same time though, it was VERY hard for me to maintain. Constant exercise of 5-8 miles a day, no unhealthy foods, no cheating period! That isn’t something I can deal with very well.  I don’t think anyone can stick to that for too long! We are only human after all. I started to slack late summer of 2010, after dropping over 40 lbs. Only by slacking I mean walking 3 or so miles a day, eating a little more indulgently (gasp, sushi with white rice!), and generally enjoying life. I wasn’t being naughty by any means (aka drinking like a lush), but my body reacts differently. Slowly, the weight crept back up. I can deal with the 150’s and 160’s. 

Early August 2010. 

I’m very comfortable there! Maintaining it wasn’t something I got a chance to do. Why?

Disaster stuck.

Middle August 2010.

Well, sort of. A cat bit me. She was a regular cat, who wasn’t diseased or wild. My Pitbull, Trixie, tried to make a snack out of my sister’s cat. I tried to intervene and I failed. The cat bit me instead of the dog. Within a couple hours, my hand ballooned up. I cleaned it out very well, iced it, and took some Amoxicillin. The following morning, my hand was the size of an oven mitt. A visit to the hospital and they immediately hooked me up with an IV and started intravenous meds for a good portion of the day. The hospital sent me home with more meds and instructions to rest and let my body fight the bacteria off. Bad idea! By that midnight evening, I was squeezing pus out of my hand.

My bosses threatened to fire me if I missed work the following day. So there I went, into work with my hand leaking pus. Around noon, I was starting to get woozy and sick. After they screamed at me to suck it up, I got up and left. They received an angry phone call from my folks when I was ushered into emergency surgery. I could have lost my damn hand or died of blood poisoning! Luckily, I went in soon enough. Had I waited till 5 pm, it would have been a very different story.

After all that was said and done, the wound on my hand had to be kept open. It freaking hurt. Swinging my hand in a walking motion killed. Squeezing anything was not an option. I walked a little here and there, but without my dogs it was 100% not enjoyable. They are a two hand walking herd.  Then came the holiday’s. I ate and drank my way into a new jean size. By then though, I was back in the gym, but at that point, it was too late. I was on the steady gaining trend.

I’d lost all motivation to get skinnier by March. Rough winter, even worse time at my job, and I started school again. After work, I raced to my night class. Since my gym was 30 minutes away from my school and school was an hour away from home, I couldn’t deal with arriving home at 11pm. Nor was it fair to my dogs. The gym was limited to 2 days a week and I didn’t go on the weekends.

During the summer I walked as much as I could outside. I was taking summer courses though; 3 hour long classes. By the time I got home it was dark, I was hungry, and had homework. My days off of school consisted of homework and housework. Sure, I could have budgeted my time better, but I didn’t.

I wasn’t physically exhausted, but mentally. Things at work were getting progressively worse. My former bosses were unpredictable and at times abusive for no other reason then they could be. I also was struggling with school. They are freshmen classes and should be a breeze. Either I’m stupider then my fellow classmates or was lied too. These community college classes are ridiculous. I went back to school mainly because I hated my job and I knew my time there was limited.

Fast forward through a summer of getting a new house (rehabbing the hell outta it), wedding planning (aka spending $$$) and lots of events (weddings, showers, 30th birthday parties). I was no happier and now physically tired. Literally every weekend from June till our own wedding was an event. Then come August we spent every weeknight down at the new house till midnight, renovating. I spent most of my time working on the landscape while Ron was inside. Weeding 3 acres in 90 degree heat wasn’t my best idea, but it needed to be done. I should of lost 50 lbs with how much I was sweating.

Our wedding was a complete relief. We spent a week in the PNW for our honeymoon, though it didn’t feel like one (another story in itself). The week I went back to work was the week I was laid off. They figured with all that wedding money we just received, that we would be fine. What they failed to realize is that it had been spent on bills from our renovations. I was laid off so their damn niece could keep her job, or for that matter, MY job. I’ll never work for another close-knit family owned business again. Family shouldn’t come first, experience should.

Now here I am. Jobless, miserably jobless. I’m completely unemployable as well. My only stipulation is I need $9.00 or more an hour. Reason being because anything less and my unemployment pays more. It’s so shitty that in this country you can’t work even the most basic of jobs without a degree. Experience and character counts for nothing. My options are limited to retail or manual labor, all minimum wage. So for now, I will continue to babysit (until a job comes along or unemployment runs out) a little here and there and plug my way through school.

I have plenty of time to get into the gym, but I don’t. I’ll go sit in the parking lot and look at it. I’m having the worst time rationalizing torturing myself (because that is what the gym is for me) to lose weight, only to gain it all back again. I hate this game. I always lose. My metabolism never reset itself, and I followed all the guidelines and rules. The only way I stay in a healthy weight range is with tons of exercise. Hardcore cardio is VERY uncomfortable for me. Mainly, my hips can’t take it. Walking is it. So is pilates, when my teacher isn’t going through a life crisis. Strict diet as well. Absolutely no cheating or basically enjoying of the finer things life has to offer.

The motivation isn’t coming back this time. Maybe I’m being lazy. Or maybe I’m finally admitting to myself I have deeper issues that need to be resolved before distracting myself with my weight. I don’t know. I’m so close to canceling my gym membership. I don’t see the point anymore.

It would be nice to have something to look forward. Setting goals only depresses me. Goals are empty promises. I feel absolutely no gratification in losing weight. That could possibly be my issue. What happens if or when the weight comes off, again, and I’m back to feeling this way?

I hate being directionless. I know longer know where I want to be or how I want to get there. Or anywhere for that matter.

I hate that as a person I’ve become so obsessed with numbers I can’t enjoy anything without feeling guilty. I don’t blame anyone but myself, but I do believe fitness/health Bloggers made it worse. I’ve considered cutting the cord and deleting everyone out of my reader and in the Blog tab in my bookmarks. The more time I read about everyone else’s life, the less I like mine.

I hate that I can’t afford the help I need most of all. New gym, new trainer, new therapist.  My last therapist was a joke. She was a Jabba the Hut in female form and downright nasty. How can I take advice from someone who can’t take care of their self? I’m in deep money shit and so is Ron. We are being very frugal about Christmas this year; to the point I don’t believe we are exchanging gifts. I’m pretty downtrodden about it as well. I LOVE giving gifts! Nice doesn’t always equal expensive, but cheap is as cheap does.

Outside of the money issues, weight problems, and general crap, I still feel grateful for having a roof over our heads, my husband’s job, and the two furbabies keeping me warm on those cold, lonely nights. I know I’m being greedy, wanting more, but who doesn’t? Shouldn’t I want the most out of this life? Not everyone gets half as lucky as I do and I don’t get half as lucky as other. I’m not satisfied at all. 

1 comment:

  1. I don't know you, but I do recognise the see-saw of weight, life, emotions, food the comforter, food the enemy, health issues, etc. My life was like that for quite a while.

    I wish I knew what the answer was to help you find the middle way where you don't beat yourself up over everything because then I'd sprinkle it over you. I don't think any one thing worked for me - and I tried a whole lot. Perhaps ultimately I picked out the bits that worked for me and learned that it's okay to be me. I just don't know.

    All I can say is don't give up, but do be good to yourself. I made it through - and I was a mess in so many ways - so you can too.

    Thinking of you.