My name is Shannon, and I am 21 years old.
I never really remember ever being "thin", or "skinny". My whole life all I remember is being big. I was always the largest one in my class or out of my friends. Growing up, I just accepted that being big was simply how I was. There was nothing I could do to change it.
My household when I was little consisted of sitting in front of the T.V when we weren't going to school or working. There was a T.V in every bedroom...there was even a T.V in the kitchen. Every day after school I would get a Happy Meal from McDonalds. Sure, I brought my lunch to school. It usually consisted of a sandwich, chips and some sort of sweet, but at home was a whole other story. Hamburger Helper, tacos, potatoes, soda, cookies...it was neverending. My favorite thing to eat was cheetos. I would sneak a bag into my room in the middle of the night and sit on my bed watching Nickelodeon (Are You Afraid Of The Dark? Oh yeah!).
I remember at one point my mom was driving me to school -- she was also the school nurse there so it was comforting to know that while I was in class, my mom was right around the corner-- and I asked her if I were fat. She said, "No, you're just big boned, like me." My mother as long as I could remember had always been large. She was pushing the 320 mark. Being as I was in 3rd grade, I didn't think much of it. Looking back now, and after seeing the pictures of myself from around that time, I realized she was just being nice, I was NOT big boned...I was just plain fat.
I went the rest of my days just going through the motions. Never really exercising, eating whatever I wanted, drinking up to 5 sodas a day, and practically living in front of my T.V.
Then we moved to Texas around 2001. I met the greatest friends I ever had and was involved in a lot of theater and had a very active social life. More so than anywhere else I had lived before. Fast forward 3 years and my parents get a divorce. My mom decides to move to Colorado because she has a friend there who agreed to take us in until we got settled. I started school and this time it took me a little longer to make friends. I gradually settled into a tight knit group.
My junior year I joined colorguard. Man, did I love it. I was tanned from being out in the sun all day for practice and I was wearing a size 12 jeans. I loved being outside, dancing with my friends, traveling to different schools for competitions, and from the constant movement I was down 20 pounds in 5 months. It was by far the best decision I had ever made. I joined again my senior year and then by the time I graduated, I felt great. I was still big, not as skinny as I wanted to be. I still had a flabby stomach and not the best legs. I still wasn't thinking about losing weight, though. By this time, my mom had joined 24 Hour Fitness and had a personal trainer. While she was out doing that, I found a boyfriend, Brian.
Brian and I started out slow. I never had a serious relationship before so I thought it was only going to last a week. Fast forward to today, 4 years and 50 pounds later (PHEW!). At the beginning of our relationship, it was 4 months after my graduation, a year after his. He had a full time job and I was going to school for visual effects (which I later quit doing when I realized it wasn't my thing) We lived together in an apartment with two of his friends who were also a couple and were expecting. Every day we would go out to eat. Taco Bell, Burger King, McDonalds...the apartment was conveniently located so all three of those places were within an arms reach, so it was very easy for us to pull up and grab something after a hard day.
After the apartment was over and done with, and after we moved back in with our families while we got everything settled, I started eating more and getting more comfortable with my relationship. My thinking was, "Oh, this has lasted a whole year, I feel good with him, he feels good with me, I don't need to worry about my weight." WRONG! Brian's parents decided to move to Wyoming in late 2009, so Brian moved in with me and my mom. Since then, a year later, we are about to move out into our own house (April), I'm about to go back to school, he has a full time night job, and I couldn't feel more self concious. My mom has lost most of her weight and is down to 140! She has super human willpower! So my goal is by August of this year is to be 140 too.
I want to be happy with myself for once. I want to be able to go up and down stairs and run without feeling like my lungs are going to collapse. I want to be able to look at those size 18 jeans and say, "HA! When did I ever fit into those?" I want to look in the mirror and be proud. That's why today, I'm making a vow to work out everyday, even if it is just a little walk around the block. Water is going to be my best friend, and the jean section in Target is going to have a frequent visitor.
This is going to be my life now! I AM going to be happy, and I'm going to be healthy for me, my family, and my friends.