Little Mama On The Prairie

A life and weight-loss journey.

To my 12-year-old self…

on April 24, 2013

I observe the people around me. Do you do that? Observing is not the same as judging though it can quickly change to that. I observe whether the women and girls around me are slim or not-so-slim. I wonder how the slim ones stayed that way their whole lives, if they did, or if they were once overweight like me. I wonder what got the not-so-slim ones on the path to not-so-slimness and if they’re happy or if they wish they were different. I never, never, ever think of another woman in the “Oh look, she’s going back for seconds…maybe she should just stick to celery” kind of way. I have felt judged about what I eat my entire life and I will never pass that judgement on to someone else. No way.

BUT…when I see people around me heading down the same road I’ve gone my whole life, especially loved ones, I do want to stop them and shake them and yell for them to turn around! Swim away! Don’t do to yourself what I did to myself! But I know I can’t do that. Because I would never have taken that warning from anyone when I was at the many crossroads that got me here. It has always felt “too late” for me and it took me until I was 30 years old to realize that it is never too late and I never had to doom myself to being overweight for life.

If I could go back and tell my 12-year-old self things I know now, that I wish I knew then, this is some of what I would say:

1. It is NEVER too late to adopt a healthy lifestyle. Someone told you a lie that if you didn’t lose weight by the time you were in your 20s, then you would probably be fat for life because metabolism slows down as you get older. Maybe it does, but that was no reason to give up, metabolism doesn’t stop altogether until you’re dead…and you’ll probably get dead faster fat than not-fat.

2. As hard as they are to give up, those cookies, chocolate bars and cheeseburgers? NOT worth the temporary pleasure they give for the long term self-loathing they leave behind.

3. Diabetes, high blood pressure and a number of other health issues are real and if nothing else scares you, lose weight for these reasons alone.

4. Someone WILL still love you, even if you are fat. Stop worrying about whether you’ll ever find that someone and just live your life.

5. How you look on the inside matters way more than the outside. But its no excuse for not looking after your outside too.

6. Getting yourself in shape by yourself is possible, but extremely hard. Its way more fun and doable if you have a friend who can do it with you.

7. Its ok to challenge your Mom, Dad and siblings about healthy/unhealthy eating habits, but you can’t make the change for them, only yourself. Of course it would be wonderful if the whole family got on board and everyone helped everyone along but no one can be forced to do it. It just doesn’t work that way. Don’t let their choices decide your choice. And I bet, if you had shared some of your fears and hopes with a sister or two, at least one of them might have helped you get on the path to a healthier you.

8. When you get older, married, and are pregnant, you won’t have the same cute baby bump as your slim friends. Some people won’t even be able to tell you’re pregnant when you’re a week overdue. And some doctors are going to treat you like you have a horrible life-threatening disease because of all the extra risks associated with being overweight and pregnant. Your body will ache even more than the normal aches and pains of pregnancy and over all, what should be a very joyous time in your life will become a rather depressing one. Recovering from a c-section when you have a big belly isn’t very fun either.

9. You will be a beautiful bride. Slim or not.

10. Even though it seems like so much of your life is out of your control, you do have the ability to choose today which direction your body is going to go…and your 30-year-old self is wishing you would have made a better choice. But she’s making that choice now and its all going to be ok.

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Do you have things you wish you could go back and share with your younger self?

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