Hi. My name is Laria, I’m 26 years old, and I have been experiencing growing pains. I’ve been claiming to be thick since I came out of the womb. 🍑 It’s funny because I’ve always been “stick” skinny. One of my many childhood nicknames was Pancake Booty. If I were to share pictures from high school, most of them consist of my sticking out my hip or posing with my butt as the center of attention. Clearly, I knew I wasn’t ‘thick”, but it was always fun to say so! What is not so fun, is experiencing the growing pains that can come later.
The other day was so surreal; I pulled all of my size 0 & 2 pants out of my closet to make room for newer and better fitting 6s & 8s. I have arrived, right? I’m finally thick! That’s what I always said I wanted at least. If I’m being completely honest with myself, I’m not happy with my weight as it is. I have tormented over whether or not I should share. My body image problems are minuscule if I compare them to those of others; but what I have had to realize is that this is real for ME. For the first time in my life, I’m not happy with my body.
Let’s go back to the beginning
In January 2019, I was 105lbs and I was happy with that. I had already come to terms with the extra 10lbs I kept post-baby and I liked it. My new tiger stripes (stretch marks) from bringing a life into this world were mine and I loved them!
Spring into Attention
By March 2019, I started to notice my pants getting a little “snug”. I remember taking a day trip to Nashville with my best friend to go to his daughter’s birthday party and being SUPER uncomfortable in the pants I had put on. By the time we left the birthday party and were heading back home, I had the pants unbuttoned because I literally could not breathe in them. In hindsight, I probably just should’ve taken them off right after I put them on, but the denial was real.
In May, I started my clinical year of veterinary school. I was unhappy about that because while you learn so much during your clinical year, it is horrible hours and ridiculous expectations. The one thing I was excited about was not sitting on my butt in the classroom anymore because surely, I’d lose the weight I had gained while running around in clinics! I was the Matron of Honor in one of my best friend’s wedding in May and I wore my size 2 dress just fine, but I remember feeling like it TOO was “snug”. I also remember commenting on the size of my arms. Normal female insecurity things, right? Sure..maybe. At that time, I was around 115lbs: growing pains.
Summer time fine?
During the summer I went to my OBGYN to ask questions about the suspicious weigh gains; it had to be my birth control. Full disclosure, I have the Kyleena IUD: it isn’t known for causing weight gain, but this wouldn’t be the first time I had defied the odds. My OBGYN literally laughed when I brought it up. “That’s just life girl friend; this birth control doesn’t cause weight gain like some of the others.” Obviously, that wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but it didn’t deter me from continuing my search for a cause.
WHY was I gaining weight? I was more active in general because I was running around the clinic floor. Well, I hadn’t changed my eating habits; let’ be honest, they were equally bad. AND I did wean Lariah from breastfeeding after doing so for 3.5 years; but I weaned her in May, and I had already started gaining weight before that.
We took family pictures in October and it was at that point that I knew I would need to get ahead of this weight thing. 0 real efforts had been made to manage my weight gains, but you could definitely tell I had gained weight in these pictures. Don’t get me wrong, I look good and I loved the pictures, but that doesn’t change the fact that my face is fluffier, and I finally have some semblance of black girl thighs. I did my best to get ahead of the “girl you done got thick” comments by making the comments myself whenever the opportunity presented itself. I also liked to joke and say, “it’s about time that I’m coming into my Black Girl Magic!” 121lbs is what I was at here: growing pains.
By November I was just tired of being uncomfortable and I needed khaki pants for many of my rotations in the large animal side of the hospital. So, I finally went to Old Navy to get some cheap, but durable pants. It was then that I realized how much my butt, hips, and thighs had grown. I skipped straight past a 4 and needed 6s & 8s to be comfortable and allow some room for fluctuation. I was DEVASTATED. Never in my 26 years of life had I bought anything bigger than a 2; not even when I was pregnant.
The first half of December was a world wind! At this point, I had been on clinics since May, but my last vacation was spring break. My boards to get my veterinary license were December 12th. Leading up to that, I was on call for 3 consecutive days because my rotation mate was also taking her boards and I didn’t want her to have to worry about coming in for emergencies while she was taking her boards. I was also orchestrating a huge collaboration with a hotel that required me to fly out to Florida, but I only had a week or so to get it planned; and I did. And it was great, but I didn’t really enjoy taking pictures with me in them while I was there because I was fluffier still. 125lbs: growing pains.
A year later…
Finally, it is the middle of February 2020 and as of this morning I am 131.2lbs. I am a few pounds shy of what I was when I 10,000 months pregnant with Lariah. I can’t say I’m happy about it, but this is my truth. I’d like to blame Lariah and my journey through motherhood, but I lost pretty much all of my baby weight before she was 2 years old. I want to blame vet school; the stress from constantly studying for exams, all the fast food because I don’t have time to cook dinner, the horrible sleep schedule (or really the lack thereof) in attempts to spend time with my family AND learn all of my material, the constant feeling of being unworthy of becoming a member of the veterinary community and feeling less than my cohorts, so on and so forth..
Regardless of what I’m going through, this is on me. I’ve already decided that dealing with vet school is more than enough and other than some small changes in diet sometimes, now just isn’t the time for me to make the changes that I need to make to be where I want to be. This is a physical representation of me failing to thrive.
I graduate in May, finally, but I’d be lying if I said I enjoyed the journey. I hate being in vet school and I cannot WAIT to get out and practice and fall in love with myself and the profession all over again. I’ve met some wonderful people and made some amazing friendships, all the cliché things, but my #1 priority, other than tending to the needs of my family, is graduating so that I can have 1 less excuse for not being where I want to be physically, which subsequently keeps me from being where I want to be mentally.
Let’s focus on the present.
So today I’m going to box up and get rid of my size 0 & 2 pants. I do plan on getting healthier post-graduation, but I also welcome the idea that a healthier version of me may not consist of me getting back into that size. I recognize that so many of my self-image issues stem from the fact that originally, I never had a reason to over think these things because I was where I felt like I needed to be and now I’m not.
This post is for all you who are like me; going through some growing pains and figuring out how to love all of yourself in all of your seasons.
You are beautiful. We are worthy. You are capable, but you are also human. I’m not going to tell you not to beat yourself up because that’s unrealistic, we all do it. But keep it short! And when you get done, start plotting what you’re going to do about it and do it! Appreciate the process, physical and mental, and document your successes. Never. Stop. Smiling. Growing pains suck, but you are deserving of love in all your seasons. I love you all!