Ok, let me just say it. I have body image issues.
You know how kids have lanky bodies where their legs and arms have almost the same circumference? Well that wasn’t me. My mother says I started that way, but the child I remember was too tall, too brown and too fat. Yes, fat. And it wasn’t fun. It was clothes from the husky section at Sears and elastic waistbands. It was “what are you?” because I was neither black or white. It was not the best. Then around 6th grade I grew into my weight and although I still wasn’t thin, I wasn’t an obvious oval anymore. By the time I reached high school the need not to feed was strong. I lost the weight, and entered the fashion world where smokes and soup were all one needed to sustain themselves.
I was not anorexic, I was not bulimic, but I was aware of every forkful that entered my body. Painfully aware. Keep a running tab aware. Apps for entrees aware. My family called me Olive Oil and some wondered if I was ill (we’re Latinos remember? being thin is a sin). I looked fabulous.
Fast forward to now. I’m 42, overweight, with no time, or willpower to workout. A penchant for chocolate and a deep… disgust towards my body. People often tell me, “you look great for someone who has two kids” and I sincerely appreciate the compliment, but this is what I call a compliment with an asterisk., like… “you breathe really well for someone with a nose” . So my goal this year? To get rid of the asterisk.
Where to start? What to do? For first time on my life, I started to count calories and oh my God, there are calories in the air! Ok, not really, but practically. Two things became painfully clear:
1. No wonder I’m overweight!
2. It’s a miracle I’m not heavier!
It’s really been an eye opener. A wake up call. A really hard look at what I’m eating and what I should be eating instead. Every bite I take while cooking, every bocadito from my kids’ plates…it has all added up over the years, and now, it’s time for it to go. Instead of cafe con leche, I’m drinking cafe cubano. This saves me approximately 145 calories, which on its own isn’t a lot, but if you drink several of these everyday… imagine… 3 cafe con leches in a week’s time is… 3,045 calories!! Viste? Did you see how easily that adds up?! So the counting (not fun) begins.
Will I ever get back into that size 6? Quien sabe. The important thing is that I remain healthy, which means that I lose some weight, through conscious food choices and that I start exercising. So as I sometimes tweet it’s time to get #FitOrBustCarajo !!
That’s me and my Dad. Don’t let his uniform fool you! He stopped doing business at a bank once because he was judged by his uniform. That’s my father.