In the military there is a percentage of folks who struggle with their weight. However, in the military those folks are bullied, badgered, hazed, and belittled. Starvation, laxatives, running in garbage bags or sweat suits, hours in a sauna are all common place for those folks “on the bubble”. This is not in the past, even today I know of active duty military folks who struggle. Rather than put them in contact with someone who knows that they are doing (an actual RD) at best the military members wind up at a doctors office who gives them weight loss pills, and at worst they wind up on the command “land cow” program being bullied and belittled by the command fitness buff. “Your fat.” “You belong here.” If you don’t get within standards you are punted from the military. Doesn’t matter how long you have served. You are done.
I get it. You have to have standards. You have to set a bar. When, however, you have a fat Chief rolling around with a 30″ neck who can barely lift his beer “in standards” and someone else who has no neck but can lift/press a Mack Truck there is a problem.
I say this because during this journey one of my biggest mental goals has been to get “in standards”. Not via starvation. Not via laxatives. Not via any one of the thousands of ways that I tried during my active duty time to hit that number. Instead I always wound up getting taped. Which, while, yes, you may hit standards, you are a 2nd class citizen because well, you didn’t hit the number.
As I have been getting closer and closer to that number I have struggled with all the flood of emotions and thoughts that have come back to me; all of the belittling and bullying. I remember the humiliation. There are people who I vividly remember even though it was over 20 years ago. I know I should (to quote Frozen) let it go, but those types of scars remain with you.
Even though my weigh in day is officially Monday, this morning curious (because, well when you are this close you want to know), I stood on the scale. There that number was staring back at me. I got off and got back on just to make sure. This is what 20 years ago I was striving for. This number. Today, nearing 40, on a random Thursday I hit it. No starvation. No crazy tactics. Actually I think I’m eating more now than I have ever eaten in my entire life.
Now this journey becomes about me. Funny. You would have thought this journey was all about me from the beginning. I had to hit this number before anything else could begin because I needed to know that I could hit this number and eat. I needed to know that I could hit this number healthy. I needed to know that this number was even possible. Now the journey becomes about me getting to where I want to get to. Not where some random chart tells me to get to. Not where some number cooked up by a bunch of men sitting in a 5 sided sided building decide. ME! It’s quite empowering actually.
Before you get all freaked out that I am going to go to extremes, trust me, I’m not. Sainted Mary and I have already discussed where she is going to cut me off. First, I don’t have the body type to be a 110 pound woman (thanks to these Eastern European “birthing” hips). Second, I like being strong. I like having muscle. I like knowing that I can run half marathons and do doubles at Biker Barre. If I loose too much I will start loosing muscle and honestly, I like being strong. Sainted Mary and I have another 8 pounds that we have adjusted my goal to. Then at that point we will discuss maybe another 5 pounds. However, I absolutely positively do not want to be skinny and weak. She knows that. I know that. So we are going to take it a little bit at a time.
In the meantime, I pulled together a side by side comparison of me in December and me last weekend. Eight months separate these pictures. In eight months I’ve lost 48 pounds, 15 inches, four dress sizes. All while eating more food than I have in decades. Isn’t science grand?