My health story
Being healthy hasn’t always been important to me.
At first, I just wanted to be thin. And I wasn’t very good at it.
(Yes, it starts this young!)
When I was younger, my mom and I were always going on diets together, starting when I was about 12 years old. I wasn’t fat, but I was an awkward chubby middle schooler-one of those dorky ones who didn’t play sports (for the record-I tried!) and spent a lot of time reading and writing instead. For my mom and I, dieting was a form of bonding. She would vocalize her discontent with how she looked/felt, and I would internalize that dialogue and start reflecting it in my own life.
Starting when I was in 4th grade, my parents decided to homeschool my brothers and I. As a pretty social kid, this was really hard on me. Lonely and cut off from my peers, I spent a lot of time in my room, churning out hundreds of pages of stories. My favorite thing to write about was my “future life”-when I was married with kids. I couldn’t wait to grow up.
When I reached high school, I was finally released back into the world of public school. It was a TOTAL culture shock. I felt like everyone else had grown up so much more than I had, and I had lots of catching up to do. For one thing, I noticed that girls were much more concerned about their bodies than they had been in 3rd grade (weird, right?). My friends talked about skipping meals like it was a hobby. A few girls that I remembered being chubby had developed eating disorders.
Throughout high school, I toyed with dieting and starving, always looking to slim down and always in the least healthy (and least effective) ways. I’d skip lunch or just order a cookie. I’d try to get home late so I’d miss dinner. I even tried diet pills, back when they contained ephedra and did crazy things to your body.
In college, my unhealthy habits got even less healthy. My roommates were extremely thin and seemed to be able to eat anything and everything…and I was eating right along with them. I gained weight, they didn’t. Then there was the alcohol consumption that sometimes goes along with college, combined with the fact that junky food was both easier to find on campus and cheaper-two big pluses for a broke college girl. I tried to hit the gym regularly, but when I did, I was intimidated by other super-fit gym-goers and often left feeling inferior and frustrated, rather than energized or accomplished.
The summer before I graduated college, I participated in a study abroad program in Oaxaca, Mexico. For 3 months, I ate nothing but traditional, “real” Mexican food, which included lots of soups, beans, lean meats, and homemade fruit and veggie juices. I lost 20 pounds.
When I got back, I was determined to keep those pounds off. I tried to reproduce the eating habits I’d picked up in Mexico, but it didn’t take me long to realize that A) real Mexican food was kind of hard to come by in Madison, Wisconsin, and eating it required lots of inconvenient trips to little mom and pop Mexican food shops, and B) I didn’t really like real Mexican food that much. I hadn’t had a choice in Mexico, but now that I was back, I could easily pass.
And so began my relationship with American healthy food. I think (and hope) it’s a lifelong one.
I got my first job out of college working as a technical writer at a healthcare software company. This was when I started really getting into running and racing, and possibly even more importantly, I started reading healthy living blogs. The first one I ever read was Peas and Thank You (thanks, Mama Pea!). Now, I have a huuuuge list of blogs that I check daily, and I can’t even tell you how inspired I’ve been by them. They’ve changed my life.
Within 4 years of starting that job, I met my husband, married him, and had a baby. While I was pregnant, I didn’t worry too much about my weight gain and was (probably a little too) cautious about working out for fear of hurting (or God forbid, losing) the baby.
By the time I gave birth in March of 2012, I’d gained 40 pounds. Like many first-time mommas, I was not 100% comfortable in my post-baby bod and was anxious to lose the weight (and nervous that I wouldn’t be able to). But I got pretty lucky-within about 4 months, I was back to my pre-pregnancy weight, though I knew my body might never look exactly the same. And I was ok with that.
Having a bambino was and is the most amazing thing I’ve ever gotten to do, and I’m looking forward to what the future of motherhood holds!
So that’s my story! If you have any questions or just want to talk, I’d love to hear from you. You can email me at kimfittinpretty at gmail dot com. :)