The picture in the brown swim suit is me freshman year of college, spring 2009. I think I was 205 pounds. However, I’m tall so I carry my weight differently. Most of my weight resides in my thighs and breast (damn, you genetics) so I really cannot escape that. But I looked great freshman year. I was one of those people who did not gain the freshman 15. I gained the junior 45. My junior year of college, I lived off-campus and was eating any and EVERYTHING I could. However, I didn’t notice that I gained weight. It wasn’t until 2013, while I was in grad school, that I noticed how much weight I put on. One of my best friends, Dominique came to visit me and took a picture of me sitting on my boyfriend at the time’s lap and you could barely see him behind me. I cried. It was at that moment I decided to make some changes. I got on the scale and I was almost 250 pounds. It was tough, facing that reality. I got on weight watchers and started monitoring what I was eating. I didn’t give up sweets though, it’s an addiction, but I found ways to treat myself without going overboard. I started working out twice a day 4 days a week and once on Fridays. Results were slow. Many times I felt like giving up because it wasn’t happening fast enough for me. I wanted to be back to my freshman year body.
I’ve never been “skinny” or small like most of my friends. In somebody’s eyes, I’ve always been overweight. I mean, I didn’t hear the end of it in high school. I’ve been called every name in the book regarding being fat and honestly, words hurt more than punches sometimes. Black women’s bodies, in my opinion, are the most scrutinized in this country. We have to be curvy -but not too fat- shorter than 5’7, and the list can go on depending what images you see on social media. It’s pretty taxing on your mental health.
I used the hateful words as fuel to keep working out. It took me 3 ½ years to lose weight. Most people can lose 45 pounds in a span of some months to a year…but not me. I did give up over the years. I stopped caring sometimes but constantly had a voice in the back of my head urging me to at least go to the gym if I’m not going to keep focusing on how I’m eating. Before I realized it, I’m the person who I am today. I’ve only shared with a few people my weight and how much I weighed at the beginning before now. I was ashamed of being in the 200s and felt that there was something wrong with me. I felt that there was something unattractive about admitting that I wasn’t a woman who weighed 185 or less. 185 is my actual goal but my friends tell me I would look sick lol
I still workout when I have the desire to and I try to eat vegetables and fruits everyday if I can but in all honesty, I’m tired. I’m greatly dislike working out but I do it because I know if I don’t, I’ll wake up one day and be back to the 250 woman I was in my early 20s. (Pause! Did I just type early 20s? I really am in my late 20s right now!! ahhhhhh! lol) But where does my fear of being bigger stem from? Because I value plus-sized women and men. I think all people are beautiful in their own way. But for me, I have a fear of it. All of the years of ridicule and self-doubt really has me shook. This fear still hasn’t stopped me from skipping the gym because I don’t feel like it or it hasn’t stopped me from salivating over Oreos and candy. That’s why I feel that I’m lazy. I want results but no longer have the follow through to keep going because there’s so much other stuff I want to do sometimes besides going to the gym. Lately, I’ve been at the gym about three times a week and that’s because I literally have to find the time. But you know, excuses. You make time for things you really want so I guess I need to get it together.
Today, I’m back down to 206 pounds. I’m still very self-conscious, though. I secretly try to find ways to not draw attention to myself when I’m specifically around men because I often wonder if they are judging me because of my size. I also (like many women on the planet) compare myself to other Black women who have nice bodies. But that mentality needs to change as well. I’m a work in progress.
There’s still so much more I need to do. I need to learn to tone better and get my brain wired with motivation to keep striving. Lastly, I need to continue to love myself. My advice for anyone out there in my situation or similar, please love yourself and don’t allow anyone to make you feel unattractive because of your body size. You are wonderfully made and if you decide you want to make changes, do it for YOU and no one else.
❤ Queen T.