The old photos I was looking at have been motivating me all day. I've finally accepted the unpalatable truth. It's not genetics or bad luck that made me obese. It was what I ate. It wasn't even what my parents gave me to eat when I was growing up. It was the foods I chose for myself from my early 20s until the middle of last year. I'm blowing my last excuse out of the water, and I'm not going to allow myself to use it. I refuse to accept that my destiny is being an obese person, and I never should have let myself get into that way of thinking.
Well, try this for size:
I can't believe how thin I look here. I was either 19 or just turned 20, and I never remember being that thin. I know at the time I was walking about 4 miles a day to and from university, but I really don't remember those collar bones. I still thought I was horribly fat, of course, and I'm sure I did have something of a belly hidden under there somewhere, but you know, it's not that bad. I was probably bigger than most people I knew, but not horribly so. Having been on a journey up to 260lb I'd certainly be happy looking like that now. Actually, I'm probably pretty much that size now, with my weight distributed in different places. I certainly don't ever remember being a size 14, so I must have been a 16 there, and I'm a 16 now. Dave, the ex, used to tell me that he thought I looked gorgeous, but I could never bring myself to believe him. I sometimes wonder how things would have worked out if I had done.
Then, things started to change.
I spent 5 months in America the next year. And the weight started piling on. I was not only living away from home, but in accommodation where the concept of cooking for yourself didn't seem to be catered for. My university restaurant was an all you can eat type place. And on a student budget I wanted to make the most of offers like that. I know that obesity isn't a strictly American problem, but if I was to pinpoint the moment when the weight started to arrive that would be it (although the majority of it only found its way onto my hips when I got home).
A year or so later, this is the same top. It might just be an unflattering angle, but there definitely seems to be more fat there.
And from that moment on, it just kept on building up. But because I'd always thought I was horribly fat, it didn't surprise me, or seem like something that needed to be stopped. It was just the natural progression, and it was what my insecurity told me I just needed to accept.
My weight only crept up slowly, but it was a constant upward slide. There was never any down, probably because I just didn't think that I could do it. Defeated before I even started thinking about it in any detail. Looking back, had I tried to lose weight back when I was 19 (or even paid attention when it first started slipping on) I'd never have got here, and I may have spent my 20s relatively slim. So any idea that this is my destiny is, quite frankly, bollocks. It's my choices, and my lifestyle that have got me like this.
This was all confirmed earlier when I finally blew the "big boned" theory out of the window with the "always been fat" theory. I used on online calculator that looks at your height and wrist size to calculate your bone structure. It doesn't pay any attention to weight, it didn't ask whether I was 205lb or 120lb, just my height and wrist measurement. And yet it still told me that I have a small frame. So whatever those bones are, they're not big. And I'm not using that excuse any more.
And finally, the fat photo. I don't have many photos of me taken over the past couple of years, but strangely I had one taken about 2 weeks before I joined the gym and recorded my all time high weight. Maybe, in some subconscious way, seeing the photo was one of the triggers? I never thought about it as being that, and it wasn't a motivation that I latched onto. But it was an interesting co-incidence.
I'm on the right, and have never been scuba diving! Actually, this doesn't look as bad as it could have done, although I look like I'm drowning when I wear the same clothes now and there's no problem with actually pulling the shirt down over my belly (there it's rolled up as it physically wouldn't go any lower).
But that's going to be a one off. I am not destined to be obese my whole life, and I'm going to start seeing the first photo (and the ones that are to come in the near future*) as the real me, not the last one.
(*I'm passing two big milestones shortly - when I get down from 205 to 202 my BMI will be 29.9, and then it's only another 3lb til 199, so I'm going to take some photos then to mark the achievement. No questions. I AM going to get there.)