When Will I Not be the Chubby One?

If someone asked me today, I would consider myself  "chubby" right now. I've had past lovers call me "meaty", "voluptuous" etc., whatever suits their preference is fine with me. I get it, I've got some girth, and it's not all bad. I've learned to work with it and I've fought against it. When did I first realize that I had a little more to me than most of the girls I was friends with? Let's take a trip back to the early 80s shall we? A time of mom jeans, school lunches provided by McDonald's and The California Raisins.

I can remember the day clearly - it was the President's "Physical Fitness Day" we used to have in elementary school. I was in the third grade,  making me about 8 years old. I believe now the day or "tests" are called the President's Challenge or something similar. Just another day to make your slightly larger/slower/shorter/etc than average kids feel hundreds of levels below average in this competitive world.You know, the day you can wear casual clothes (if you're in a uniformed school, like I was at the time), and you spend half the morning doing various foot races and silly things like pull ups (yeah, right) or the "sit and reach"? What 8 year old can do a real pull up?! I'll tell you which one could not, and still can't!

This day of the year always gave me agita. I hated running. I knew I was not a dancer, a gymnast or naturally lithe and thin girl like some of  the chosen few in my grade. I come from Russian/Italian/Irish stock. I've got broad shoulders, thick legs and a penchant for eating potatoes. These things have not changed from ages 8 to 36. I've just learned to cook them better - the taters that is.

While most of my friends were getting ready in the morning and getting excited for a day of jeans, t-shirts, physical greatness or exertion, I was getting a stomach ache. I would get that sinking feeling in the pit of my gut just when we had to line up for events. My mental dialogue would be something like, "What do you mean we have to stand in front of a group of  our peers and just...hang from a bar? After doing that, you want me to lift myself up? Are you nuts? Sprints? Are there people chasing me?" No matter how hard I tried, I always felt like I had rocks in my calves weighing me down or the Stay Puft marshmallow man in an ill-fitting polyester gym shirt. I still do.

The only thing I was really good at was flexibility. Oh, I mastered that stupid "sit and reach" or "V" sit up as they may call it nowadays and was I was the best in my grade. Stick a ruler between me and the wall and I'll show that ruler who's boss and how bendy I can be.

This accomplishment of the day was no match for the height/weight percentiles though. When it came to me, if I remember correctly, we all had to get on a scale in front of classmates (not just your school nurse or teacher). Talk about hidden terror! Torture! Cruelty! My eyes scanned any open doors, prayed for a possible fire drill right at that very moment. (It was a Catholic school, so I had high hopes God took pity on me and my love for bread and grape juice.) My heart raced, my palms were sweaty, my nervous bowels were knocking on heaven's door and when I was finally called, it was all just a blur. 88 pounds was all I heard. There were a few snickers, a few sneers, a few chuckles. I was nowhere near the biggest in my class, but I had some meat to my bones. Even at 8 years old, I knew from that point on, I wasn't thin enough, light enough, fast enough or pretty enough. I felt frumpy.

I got home from school and the fun didn't stop there. Upon hearing my weight, my father started to proclaim "88 pounds! Big ole 88! We better start watching what you eat so you don't eat us out of house and home!" He would often send my friends who came to visit or pick me up for a sleep over with the same warning "Don't let her near your fridge!" , he'd shout with a chuckle. My bounce down the steps turned into a numb, slow moving drag of degradation. Apparently I was a beast with an appetite who shouldn't be let out. God forbid I end up without a snack on the streets of my small town and the arm of small toddler was nearby. I may bite it. Between that my mother's affinity for calling me out to have "truck driver arms", I was at a loss. I was living in a home that had a mother and grandmother that liked to cook and feed me, I was not athletic nor did I play an instrument. I was a thinker, a reader, a writer, and apparently an eater.

This all came flooding back to me this morning. I stepped on the scale and it read a whopping 188 pounds, almost 189. "Oh my god. Impressive," I audibly said to my dog while on the scale. This is THE most I have ever weighed in my entire life. The chubby kid in me came up to the surface again and I began to shut down. I didn't talk to the BF during breakfast. I'm distracted at work. I've accepted the fact that I guess 3-5 days a week of 50 minute workouts for over 6 weeks isn't doing anything yet. Weights and cardio should be sculpting me into something marvelous is my mentality.

I worked out Thurs/Fri/Sat and felt great. I felt strong. I'm doing all the right things, but the tape measure and scale are going in the wrong direction. I don't want my mind to follow. It's thoughts like these that can derail any exercise program in a heart beat. I'm trying really hard to fight those inner demons and just keep plugging away. I know these things take time. I know 6 weeks is not enough, but I just need to believe in the process for that little 8 year old girl back in the day.


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