September has arrived and I have already made the statement, “I’m in trouble now.” Why you may ask? Simple. It’s Pumpkin Season.
I’ve struggled with my weight as long as I’ve been an adult. Well…nearly as long. My “struggle” and subconscious obsession began when I joined the Army and was deemed “overweight.” Even before I left for basic training I had to be taped (measured to calculate my body fat percent).
I was 20 when I shipped out to basic training, and while I had never had “fat” image issues before, it developed quickly from having to go with the handful of others that fell over the authorized weight. I had felt ugly in the past on a routine basis thanks to cruel kids, lack of confidence, and acne that still comes to plague me at times. This new insecurity wreaked havoc on my self-esteem.
I gained eleven pounds while in basic training, and that number mattered more than the fact that I had slimmed and my tape measurements were less. When I got to my permanent duty station I started the beginning of my unhealthy and futile wish that diet supplements would actually work.
Knee surgery brought my exercise to a sudden and complete stop, and I gained thirty pounds. I was utterly depressed. I had to actually buy what I started calling “fat jeans.” My knee healed, physical therapy built up my atrophied muscles, and I did eventually fit back into my “normal” jeans, although it wasn’t the same feel and fit as before.
I was still overweight according to my Army file, and my struggle to lose weight continued. I switched units, my stress levels were high, and a medication from a doctor at the clinic had my weight skyrocket to a level before unreached and far quicker than was healthy. The medication had killed my metabolism and I had gained 40lbs in approximately three months. The most depressing thing about it? My “fat jeans” didn’t even fit. I had to buy “extra fat jeans” and bigger uniforms.
My self-image issues became horrible during this time. I felt incredibly unattractive and my weightloss obsession was more than a subconscious nag. An NCO of mine had even made rude comments to me about my weight that made me want to scream and cry all at once. I worked out every day after work, killing myself on the elliptical for forty-five minutes or more with a fifteen or twenty minute sweat session in the dry sauna after. I talked to a friend about what to do and he gave me advice that I tried to follow. Even with all that I saw no results.
I got out of the military and had a few months before the police academy, so I spent the time letting my knee recuperate and trying other scams. And I found one that actually began to show results. It outlined a very structured eating plan with five or six meals in the day of very specific foods. I was sick of cooking but I lost ten pounds in six weeks. Unfortunately then the academy started and I wasn’t able to stop to eat every three hours, not to mention I didn’t have the time to cook that much anymore.
I know they always say that the first ten pounds gained or lost are all water weight, but I have the urge to disagree as I never gained that weight back. At this point I was hovering around 180, and the next six years was a roller coaster—a shallow one at that—on the scale, my lowest point being in the mid-160’s one January.
I got bored one day and on a whim found a phone app so I could calculate the number of calories in something I made regularly. The app was capable of so much more than that. It asked me to make a profile, so I did.
What’s your height?
A few more questions like that and it spit out a number. “Here’s your daily caloric intake goal: 1200.” I started following this immediately, and saw results just as quickly. I wasn’t always the best about following it, but I was dedicated at the same time, and in six months I was down to 142, a 36 pound loss. That was until last Pumpkin Season.
I fell off the calorie-counting horse. And over Pumpkin Season I gained over ten pounds. I kept trying to get myself back in the OCD mind set for my calories, which would last a day or two but would just as quickly end. My weight continued to creep back up, and today I sit at 160 with this year’s Pumpkin Season with all its delicious calorific goodies beginning to show up. Soon they’ll been running rampant, visible in all stores in some incarnation or another, tempting with their deliciousness.
All the while people would tell me I look fine. They didn’t—and don’t—understand the self loathing I have, the disgust I feel because I was so close to my goal weight but wasn’t able to reach it. Because I have no self control. The total feeling of failure this gives me.
So with all this being said, I refuse to gain another ten pounds because of my beloved pumpkins this Season. Accountability will help me with the temptations and cravings. I will lose this season, in a good way, and so at the same time will gain.