I’m Fat. I'm Also The Happiest I've Ever Been.

by Rachael Flanery

My New Year’s resolution has always been the same: to not be so fat, even when I wasn’t fat at all. Life would be better if I could just lose 10 pounds.

Being under 5-feet tall, the younger me never thought I would be “hot” until I was under 100 pounds. Not making it to a size 0 was a legitimate stress in my life. Being between a size 4 and 6 was embarrassing. What was wrong with me? Clearly, many many things.

Working out five times a week was a priority. The only thing on my to-do list. I would often eat a can of peas for lunch. When I lived alone, I don’t think I ever had booze or meat in the house. Two things I didn’t understand how to purchase (boy, have I learned). Instant mashed potatoes and Frosted Flakes were staples.

So I ate crappy limited calories and actually made time to be “fit.” I held on so tight, indulging in a Snickers bar once a full moon. It wasn’t fun constantly watching what I ate and having the elliptical as my only hobby. How devastating that I still couldn’t drop a jean size.

Being built like Mary Lou Retton but longing to be Gwyneth Paltrow, I would not rest until I became long and lanky, waify. You know, one of those girls with pin-straight hair that looks perfect in a bun and a thigh gap to die for. I never tipped to having an eating disorder, but I was never happy with how I looked or what I ate.

Now I am almost 50 pounds bigger than that sad, stupid skinny girl. And remember being under 5-feet tall, pounds on short girls are like dog years. So I’m like 300 pounds bigger than that sad, stupid skinny girl. If you would have told me this is how much I would weigh at 38 when I was 28, I would have locked myself away to keep the ghost of future chub at bay. I would have given up all chance of love and happiness, said farewell to my family forever, and booked a one-way passage to a cave in Tasmania in order to hide from my fat fate.

A combination of things have packed on the pounds: getting older, babies, thyroid disease. When I was in grad school, I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. I had it for probably a year before a doctor didn’t tell me I was just “stressed.”

During that time, all my skinny girl dreams were coming true. I could eat whatever I wanted, and every day my pants were looser. And eat I did! Two peanut butter sandwiches for breakfast, dinner for lunch, a healthy dinner, and another dinner for dessert. My hair was falling out and finally looking straight and sleek. Life was on a roll. My heart was about to explode, but who cares?!

Stupid modern medicine made all that come to a crashing halt. My metabolism will never be a Porsche again, but a loaded-down used Hyundai. That was the first significant horrifying jump in my weight.

I accepted size 0 was out. I was turning 30 and a solid size 6. Not bad. It was the perfect size according to my Sweet Valley High books (yes, that’s how they described the twins in one of the opening chapters of that tween series). As long as I never, ever ever gained another pound, I would be fine.

Two kids later, the waify girl of my dreams now lives inside my chin. I keep her happy by feeding her Oreos and non-diet soda. I’m not a size 6 anymore. I’m a medium in sweatpants and leggings. And you know what? I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

I have a career that I like and children I love spending time with and a nice husband. I craft, write, sing, kind of cook. Do laundry, begrudgingly keep the cat alive. I bought myself a banjo ukulele. Life is interesting and wonderful. Working out and watching what I eat is boring.

How I look isn’t at the forefront of each thought anymore. And I look adorable. I no longer shop for the body I’ll never have. I buy clothes that look and feel good. My closet is filled with the best that Ann Taylor LOFT’s clearance section has to offer.

I’m not ready to write Chicken Soup for the Pudgy Girl’s Soul just yet. I was neither rich enough nor thin enough to fly home for my 20th reunion. You won’t see many body shots of me and my sassy peplum tops on Facebook. We find vacation spots actually colder than Minneapolis.

I haven’t entirely accepted my body. But I sure as shit accepted the body I used to have. I pledge to the gods of all seven-minute workouts, if I ever loose even 20 pounds, you will never hear me mutter a resolution about my weight again.

I suppose, in the end, I have no words of wisdom that lead to self-acceptance — no super mom get-fit tricks. Just a reminder for us all to be kinder to our selves. This year, may you resolve to do something that is interesting and wonderful.

This post originally appeared on That Odd Mom.