I Opened My Mouth and the Secret Was Out

I confess to not being a huge sports fan. I wasn’t on the soccer or basketball team in high school, although I did march in the football games because I was the drum major for my school band. (I often tell the kids that’s why I’m so good at telling everyone what to do because I got to wave my arms around and 300 people moved in formation when I was in high school!)

During my years at the university, I developed more of an interest in football because it was fun to go to the Florida State University games and be part of a huge crowd of people cheering our team on. After John and I got married we occasionally went to the games but once the kids started coming along, we settled for watching our team play on television. I confess that those game times were more about eating nachos and brownies than watching the game though!

I don’t know how you are, but I kept my weight a total and complete secret from everyone except my doctor and myself. John didn’t know, none of my friends knew, and my in-laws certainly didn’t know. If John accompanied me to the doctor’s office, I made him stand back while the nurse weighed me. Logically I knew that he could tell I had gained weight from the 165 pounds that I weighed when we got married, but I still didn’t want him to know that I was in the 300 pound range.

One day, while we were watching a FSU game on television, the sports announcer said, “The defensive end, who weighs an impressive 285 pounds, is . . . .” I couldn’t help myself. The words blurted out of my mouth. “I weigh more than that guy does.”

John swiveled around to look at me and said, “Oh, there is no way. You don’t.” I told him I really, really did, and we both sat there not knowing what else to say. I’ve never asked him, but I know he had to be a bit shocked. I know I was. I couldn’t believe that I had just said my weight out loud.

Not only was I upset when I realized that I had shared my secret with John, but I was shocked that I weighed more than that humongous college defensive end. I mean really. That guy was enormous. His legs were massive and strong looking, his shoulders were super-wide, and his neck was huge.

Surely I wasn’t really as large as that guy was. Oh, but I was. The truth was that I was all squish and fat, while he was all muscle. But I really was as big as he was when it came to weight.

Instead of vowing to lose some weight and be as slim as the smallish kicker FSU had at the time, I got off the couch and made more nachos. Later, I had diet coke with ice cream, cookies, and chocolate syrup. I was trying to cover up my fat and weight with more food.

However, the truth was, I couldn’t cover up my fat with food, with large clothes, or even by trying to bury my head in the sand. I could try, but it never would work because my weight, and size and unhealthy lifestyle were always there with me.

Years later, I’d still joke about that day when I inadvertently confessed to John that I was as big as a football player. But every time I joked, I almost choked on my words because I absolutely hated being that big and knew it wasn’t good for me physically and did nothing for my self-esteem. It would be several more years before I finally got to the point where I did something about my weight.

These kinds of revelations about ourselves can be hard to handle, but it was good for me in the long-run to admit my weight to myself and to John. After that day, I found it harder to convince myself that it was okay to cover my fatness in food, and eventually, I was able to use that experience as a motivator to keep going when it was hard to make the good choices that allowed me to lose 158 pounds.

Was there ever a time when you had to accept your size? Was it motivating or not? Diane

25 thoughts on “I Opened My Mouth and the Secret Was Out

  1. Miz says:

    for me it was the realization ABSOLUTELY nothing in my closet fit.
    I had an interview the next day.
    no suit would sliiiide on my bod.
    it was motivating—fleetingly—-then depressing and then back to motivating again 🙂

  2. Johanna Gustafson says:

    Oh yes, there definitely was. I saw a picture of myself at a friend’s birthday party and I had to look twice to realize that that was me.

    Like you – it was a good, long time before I got motivated but seeing that picture was like a total dose of reality. It was bad.

  3. Sarah Kewer says:

    Oh boy I know this feeling. You make me remember how when I was in a classroom at college and noticed that me and this girl I thought was huge were the only two whose behinds didn’t even come close to fitting in those small chairs.

    I’ve lost about 50 pounds and every time I see chairs like those I remember that feeling of realizing how big I really was.

  4. Bill S. says:

    As a guy, it was okay to be heavier when I did play football, but as I got older and didn’t play anymore I did think about how I wasn’t playing high school ball anymore but I weighed even more. I’m just starting to lose weight and I’m going to drag out an old pic of me from those days to keep me strong.

  5. Sherie says:

    Yes, yes, yes. For me it was the day I couldn’t fit into plus clothes anymore. Trying on the biggest, hugest pants in the store and realizing they didn’t fit was eye-opening. I haven’t lose much yet, but I love, love, love your blog and have your book. Thank you for all you do!

  6. vickie says:

    Darlin’ I SO identify with this post.

    Refrigerators and Football players.

    I felt like both of them at my highest.

    I think of this as Refrigerator Perry who used to play for the Bears.

    And if you look up his very sad story, you will know that being that size did not end well.

  7. Kimberly says:

    We have an upstairs meeting room at work that I rarely ever need to use. A couple of weeks ago I was teaching a class up there. I went up the stairs at a normal pace (not running or anything) and when I got to the top and entered the meeting room I had a hard time catching my breath and I had to wait before I could start teaching. I was completely freaked out that I only went up one flight of stairs and it was like I ran for hours.

  8. blackhuff says:

    There were times like these for me as well but I never said it out loud nor did hubby. Instead, just like you did, we made more food to eat and “hide” the fat with food.

  9. Eyerisgrl says:

    How cool that you were a drum major! My hubby and I are both band directors (but neither of us were ever DM).

    For me it was realizing that I had a possible gall bladder problem. I had always thought that only fat old women had to have their gall bladders out (which I of course now know is not true) and then realizing at 29 years old that I was having those problems now too. My weight had gotten so out of control that I had real health problems because of it. Scary moment of clarity.

  10. Meg (@LadyMegSoprano) says:

    I can’t remember the exact moment, but I do remember explaining the song “Six Little Ducks” to a kindergarten music class and having one of the little boys point at me and say, “You’re the fat duck!” I remember feeling like I looked “slim” and then seeing a picture and realizing I looked huge. I remember getting on the scale at my first training appointment at the gym and thinking, “Oh, God, I have a long way to go.”

    I’ve held all of these moments near me through my journey.

  11. jeanette says:

    I hated looking down every day seeing rolls upon rolls of fat. That was what finally made me commit to loosing weight. I really really wanted to weigh less than my husband who is 6’3″…and I am so proud that I do now!

  12. Dr. J says:

    I’ve always liked FSU even though I am at UF. They are all Florida schools to me 🙂

    I’ve written about how my Karate instructor told me quite blantently that I was getting fat, and how I realized he was right and I needed to do something about it. I have always been very grateful to him for his rudeness, lol!

  13. Taryl says:

    Oof, that would be painful. I know my own moment of realization came with a fair bit of despair, though I never hid my weight from my husband I did deceive myself a fair bit!

  14. Joe says:

    I realized while on vacation in August of this year. Spending all day at the beach with my shirt on was about as uncomfortable as it gets. A week after getting back is when I started to to make my changes.

  15. Quix says:

    It was absolutely the day that I had to buy jeans for a vacation north (I just wore stretchy skirts and sandals), and they were size 24. Holy crap, not only was I not the size 18 I thought I was, if I got any bigger, I would be beyond plus size at target. I started when I got home from vacation that year and lost 100 lbs over the next 2 years.

  16. Sarah says:

    I was walking up the stairs at my parents house followed by my younger brother who had a tendency to speak before he thought. Jokingly he said, “your bum is as big as Mum’s now!”

    That was one key moment that made me realise I was somewhat bigger than I would like to be…

  17. Rhonda and Sandrine says:

    We think acceptance is the starting point for action. When you are able to state the truth, you are able to deal with the weight. Defining what is allows us to move forward. It is the first thing we have to do in order to change.

  18. Megan says:

    Mine was when I realised not only had I gained all the weight I had lost (20kgs!) and more and was now about the same weight as some of the girls on Biggest Loser. Here I was judging them when all of a sudden I realised I was them.

    I also hid my weight from everyone, however since starting this journey I sent an email to my close friends telling them how much I weighed, where I wanted to be and what I wanted to do to get there and asking for them to support me. By coming clean and having such supportive comments from my friends I no longer felt that my weight was a big dirty secret. I haven’t lost a lot of weight since then but I am the fittest I have ever been (even at my smallest!) and that makes me proud of my body no matter what the number on the scale says.

  19. KarenJ says:

    I was at a flea market (as a vendor), and the man who goes around to the tables to collect the money made reference to the “baby” and I wasn’t pregnant. That happened 27 years ago and I still remember it as if it were yesterday. You bet it was motivating!

  20. Kara says:

    I can’t help but to think about my weight when I hear someone else’s number. I also think of my current weight in comparison to other times in my life; as a competitive athlete, when I graduated from high school, when I got married, when I had my boys.

    A few key people know my weight: my husband, my doctors and my therapist. I’ve probably told a friend or two, but it is not something I’m comfortable sharing. Having said that I do accept my weight and I was happy when my hubby once again weighed more than me:)

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