I was always the fat kid. It sounds harsh, but it was true. Husky. Curvy. Plus size. Big Boned. No matter how you say it, I was fat. And for the most part, I was actually pretty happy.
I was never teased for being bigger than the other kids. It helped that I was usually taller than everyone else – boys included. My mom was big. My grandma was big. My aunts were big. So being big was normal.
Food was my best friend and worst enemy. I have a “go big or go home” kind of personality. I like things to be done all the way with 110% intensity. Most of the time, that’s a great thing! Except when it came to food. We didn’t really have much junk food growing up. But when we did, I would go all in. Instead of just 1 cookie, I’d have 4. And then go back for seconds later. I tried all sorts of fad diets throughout high school, but it never really stuck.
I never remember being “normal” or “skinny.” I remember going from a size 16 in little girls to a size 16 in women’s. When I graduated high school, I was wearing a size 18. Here’s my senior pictures from 2007-2008
Then it was off to college. Of course they warn you about the freshmen 15. I was well aware – and a little scared. My weight went up and down throughout my 4 years at Wartburg, but by the time I graduated in 2012, I was a size 20 and tipping the scale at 250 pounds. Ouch. It kills me to write that number. I was miserable. I hated my graduation pictures because all I saw was my double chin. My fat arms. My fat legs. My fat EVERYTHING.
When these pictures appeared on my Facebook, I was appalled. How did I let myself do this? I knew it was nobody’s fault but my own.
After graduation, I moved out to New York to complete my music therapy internship. I vowed to change. I credit my mother for pushing me. She paid for my membership to the YMCA and she promised that if I lost weight she would buy me a whole new wardrobe.
And that was the beginning of the end of fat Claire. When I moved to NY, I was 250 pounds.
I worked out 6 days a week doing Zumba, yoga, and running using the C25k (couch to 5k) app on my iPod. I cut out almost all carbs and tried to eat “clean” as much as possible. Once a week for 1 meal during my growth group for church, I allowed myself to eat what I wanted – I had to satisfy my sweet tooth! Slowly but surely, the weight started to disappear.
By Easter of 2013, I was down to about 220
I think I was wearing a size 16 in that picture. And I was starting to feel better! I ran my first 5k in May of 2013. NEVER did I think I’d be a runner. I couldn’t run a quarter mile without having to stop. And then I was running 3 miles? For fun?! I now consider myself a runner. A slow runner, but I run. My biggest accomplishment so far was running the Crazy Legs 8k in Madison – 5 miles without stopping!
Once I saw the number on the scale start to fall, it was enough motivation to keep me going. When the number dropped below 200, I almost cried. I think the last time I had weighed less than 200 pounds was middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL! So here I am today:
I’ve hovered around the 180 mark for the last year. Would I like to lose a little more? Of course! Who wouldn’t?! While there are plenty of parts of my body I don’t like (my gut, my non-existent butt…) I can finally say that I am HEALTHY. And that’s the most important thing.
And my mom stayed true to her word – I have a new wardrobe thanks to her. Thanks ma!