Last Wednesday, I woke up refreshed and in a strange, overly chipper mood. It wasn’t the restful 10-hour slumber from the night before or the PayPal notifications chirping on my phone, signaling that my clients had paid their invoices. On this morning, I was happy just to be happy. I’m in a different space both mentally and geographically, truly excited about another day to unlock life’s greatest treasures.
I go into the bathroom to do something that I haven’t done in about five months. I stripped down and stepped on the scale. If you’ve been following me for the last seven years, then you know I’ve been transparent about my struggles with obesity. I mistreated my body, primarily binge drinking cheap liquor from the ABC store adjacent to campus in undergrad. Subsequently, I spent my adulthood undoing the damage to my poor digestive system and overworked organs. In this very moment, as the zero flashed across the screen, computing my weight, I was forced to be honest with myself.
I knew I had gained a few pounds since my last weigh-in. It was like watching the wheel spin on The Price is Right. I didn’t know where it would stop, but just like everyone else trying to get lucky, I prayed the number wouldn’t exceed my expectation.
The number appeared on the screen and my heart sank to the pit of my stomach like Rose, Jack and the rest of the homies on the Titanic.
Just like the icicles hanging from Jack’s nose in the water, my body froze.
I didn’t quite know how to feel. I stepped off and stepped on the scale again praying for a lower result, hoping the scale was just old. Nope, exact same figure.
Then, I looked in the mirror at myself and this is what my body said to me.
When I was in high school I remember reading an article in O Magazine where Oprah opened up about her struggles with dieting and her sudden weight gain. The title was something to the effect of, “How Did I Get Here Again?”. And I remember saying aloud, “Yeah, how did you get here?”. I chuckled to myself truly trying to figure out how Oprah let all those years of hard work go down the drain. She’s an icon of mine, but still, my 16-year-old mind was perplexed.
Fast forward a decade later I was standing in my bathroom mirror, naked and pondering, “How did you get here again?”.
It knocked me back a bit. I tried to tell myself, “Tyler, it’s just 18 pounds. You can drop that by summer.”
Nah, I couldn’t get off that easy. I stood there for a second and my weight loss journey resurfaced in my memories I had not only gained 18 pounds, I gained 53 of the 70 pounds that I had lost. Actually seeing it here printed just made my chest tighten a bit.
After I put on my clothes again, I went back to my bedroom and began to weep. My feelings were hurt and my original zest for life just 15 minutes prior fizzled out. So many thoughts were racing through my head.
It took me three years to lose 70 pounds. To spare you the history, I methodically chose to lose weight at a slow pace. I did not have a goal, other than to no longer become winded when I went up stairs or sweat when I got dressed in the morning. In 2011, my intentions were to be healthy and feel comfortable in my clothes. I literally took breaks. Some months I ate salads every day, others I had Chick-Fil-A once a week.
The blog “Black Women Losing Weight” profiled my journey. In my submission, I wrote:
In my submission, I wrote:
“On New Year’s Eve of 2010, I weighed myself and became disgusted at the fact that I tipped the scales at 250 pounds. My goal was to lose 50 in the following year. I cut out carbs, sweets and late night binge eating. Fast food drive-ins were also a thing of the past. Eating healthier along with Zumba, Pole Fitness and Boot Camp classes led to the weight falling off. The key message here, was that I did it gradually over time while gaining a smarter outlook on food.”
As much as I wish to have the body of the girl on the right again, I don’t want to be her. At the time, she was in a toxic relationship, working a job that her doctor said “will kill you if you don’t quit” and just an overall unhappy person wearing the brightest smile.
I loved my new body in 2014, but I was not honoring it. Then the universe began to suck me back into reality. A few days after the New Year, the guy and I called it quits. (That is the most fucking hilarious story in life. He gets a separate post later. Homie played me good.) Then three weeks into the New Yeroommateroomate and I were out to lunch and I fell, injuring my knee. Only I can manage to slip in chicken grease. Boom, I am out of the gym for months. The hips began to broaden and my rear-end, for the first time in life, soon filled out.
Boom, I am out of the gym for months. The hips began to broaden and my rear-end, for the first time in life, soon filled out.
Hello 10lbs. I deliberately turned my back in this picture because I didn’t want Facebook to see my gut.
Summer came, I still looked great in my swimsuit. Hello 15 lbs. The weight was returning, but I was okay with it. Then came sweet September and I had put on a whopping 25 lbs. I went to New Orleans and the beach that year, so you know I was stuffing my face however, I was getting uncomfortable in my clothes again.
Then I hired a trainer. Within two months, I was toned.
Remember how the universe liked to play with me?
Well, in late November I began dating this amazing guy. One night he and I were scheduled to meet up at an event. I was late as usual, getting there and got lost in Uptown Charlotte. Realizing I was 45, minutes late I parked my car in the nearest garage that I could find. As I walked outside in my fave heels ready to go down the steps, my right leg (the one that I had fallen on just 11 months prior) made it to the third step. Apparently, my legs were stepping in the name of two different loves because my left knee caved causing me to skip the final three steps crashing to the ground.
Exclusive image of me falling down the steps.
I looked up, and saw that traffic was backed up on the street across from me and a line of at least 12 cars sat there as I tried to process what happened.
Me counting the cars while simultaneously pretending as though I had not just busted my ass.
Once I noticed there were people staring, I quickly jumped up and hobbled around the side of the building.
Exclusive image of the Holy Spirit helping me back to my car as I cried and stumbled with blood streaming down my leg.
Here is my knee.
I couldn’t work out with my trainer again, well because both of my knees hurt. In 2015, I kinda just maintained. I maintained to gain 15lbs again….
By the summer, I had quit my job and began working from home. I went from not getting a lunch break to consuming a least 3,000 calories a day. By December 2015, I had picked up 30 lbs. I was bound and determined not to put on more.
My face was full and I began taking photos from the waist up on social media.
In spring 2016, I began taking four-mile walks and eating healthier. My money was low, so eating out was no longer an option. God truly showed up in my life last year, as I got work on TV shows and found stability as a freelance writer. I went to California, met new faces, ditched a few folks, got a new car and visited my first movie set. No matter how much I weighed, I was feeling a different kind of confidence. Unlike my obsession years before, I didn’t see a need to weigh myself every morning putting my self-esteem through horror. I was too busy living to obsess over my weight. My knees were still aching and I had a little extra baggage around my waist but I was back to throwing that ass in a circle like I never missed a beat! My body no longer ruled me.
2016 was LIT!
But you know my girl, the Universe. She likes to show up and wreck shit. Suddenly, the calls for work got silent. I found myself laying on my couch drowning my sorrows in Chick-fil-A and fruit snacks. I felt empty. I don’t like to use the “d” word, but living in Charlotte sucked away my energy. I never quit fit in there. I only used the city for job opportunities. I outgrew it. To me, it was the most pretentious city. That’s another post in itself. In September 2016, I realized I was paying rent to live in a place that I utterly hated. By the time I snapped out of my funk, I packed on another 10lbs.
I got fed up and began packing my things. I literally called my dad and told him to come get my stuff. My last few weeks in Charlotte were ignorant. I am shaking my head thinking back to my last few wild nights there, but it’s all in good fun for the grandkids.
Exclusive image of me last year.
I went out night after night wearing bigger shirts and scarves, trying to disguise my plump figure. The only person I was fooling was me.
Now we’re back to last week. As I lay in my bed beginning to feel sorry for myself, I scrolled through my Instagram pictures trying to find my missteps then I stopped here. I took a close look at this photo.
For the first time, I wasn’t hiding behind a smile. My heart was sincerely overjoyed. In this picture, I didn’t care about my size. I loved the air I was breathing and enjoyed the company of a good friend who snapped the pic.
So what’s the problem? Looking at my full figure, I realized that I had broken a promise. When I lost the 70lbs in 2013, one of the hardest yet most fulfilling accomplishments in my life, I made a promise that I would never mistreat my body again. No more emotional eating. No more senseless snacking. In the last 3 years, I committed a sin against my personal vow. This is how I got to my weight gain. My unhealthy relationship with food returned.
And my clothes barely fit.
Say hello to my multipurpose pants.
I wear them every other day just like I did seven years ago with my other fat pants.
It’s pretty pathetic how often I wear them because I refuse to buy more.
So. What now? I start over. Just like my career, I have to do a complete makeover with my body. For now, I’m back to a low-calorie diet and exercising every day. I am not discouraged because I have friends to help me through. Both of my best friends have lost a combined 100 lbs.
This time around, I don’t have to do it alone.