'You're Not THAT Big'

by GEM Magazine / Mar 31, 2015 / Comments

Big boned.
Overweight.
Heavy.
Large.
Fat.

Let’s call it what it is … I’ve heard it. In my experience, people I know, typically start with the words at the top of that list. People I don’t, generally go with the bottom. I actually haven’t decided which is worse to me, the list or when someone tells you 'you're not THAT big.' Please don’t try to spare my feelings.

I mean, please don’t pretend you’re telling me something I don’t already know… When we have to shop in stores for 'plus sizes' or can’t shop online for fear the clothing won’t fit, or when we spend more time looking for a cover up versus a bathing suit or – well, you get the point. Believe me when I tell you, I get it.

At 15 years old, I wasn’t a fat person. I swam competitively, ate relatively well and although never petite, I was healthy. But my life changed when I was laying in a Toronto hospital bed and a doctor told me; 'I have bad news and worse news which would you like first?'

My whole world changed.

I was pregnant at 15 and had a kidney infection.

Let’s fast forward.

My son was born full term on February 1st, 1998, and after 5 long days of labour I was discharged with 24 hours of giving birth. If you haven't experienced being a 16 year old girl with a newborn, you cannot begin to imagine it. Trust me.

I gained TONS of weight during my pregnancy – unhealthy amounts of weight.

My son spent the better part of his first 18 months in and out of hospital and I spent most of that time sleeping on a cot in the hospital.

I was fat, scared and lonely. I got comfortable being big and was used to buying over sized clothes, hoping to “hide” the rolls. I lived in track pants and hoodies. I vaguely have this memory of being invited to go for dinner to Frankie Tomato’s (Italian buffet) and I broke down crying because I had nothing to wear besides my fat clothes.

Moving forward…

The past 17 years have been a battle with the scales. I was that person who wouldn’t take pictures, because frankly, I didn’t like what I saw. In group pictures I always felt “saved” by being a tall woman so I could hide in the back and just show my face.

I did everything I could to “hide” this battle – I mean clearly it was a battle, but one I felt if I never spoke about, no one would notice, or worse, everyone would. I hid from everyone, including myself.

In December, 2014 I decided I was on a mission to regain my health. My biggest challenge yet came recently when I stood in front of 200+ people and shared my testimony on my weight loss journey. I openly shared to this room of strangers my current loss of 45 pounds. I was nervous, sure. But I wasn’t nervous because I was sharing my story, I was nervous because I was standing in front of the room!

I’ve spent 17 years hiding – literally, and overcoming that challenge has changed my world.

A breakthrough maybe.

And so my journey continues.

By Catherine Nikkel

Catherine is a mother, youth worker, blogger and entrepreneur from Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Follow her inspiring story at www.90daysinmyshoes.com

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