'You're Not THAT Big'

by GEM Magazine / Mar 31, 2015 / Comments

Big boned.

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

gem's picture
The Contributor

GEM Magazine


GEM is pushing for Gender Equality, and encouraging people to share their message through free speech. It aims to create more positive ways to utilize the internet.

This publication is an open platform raising awareness and resonating with readers through truth, honesty and vulnerability on subjects affecting our daily lives.

GEM contains articles that educate, inspire and provoke thought around aspects that are of concern in our current society.

"We all have the ability to make a difference. Inside each and everyone of us, we have the power. We are the people."