My Turning Point

*Note: This story has been told to only a few people because it’s embarrassing. Not that I think people would laugh at or make fun of me after hearing the story, because it’s not funny – it’s sad. It’s just that the last thing I wanted was pity. That’s all behind me now, though, and I think it’s important to share this story because it’s a huge part of my journey. It’s how it all started! Here goes:

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been doing Kung Fu for about 4 years now. There is a small group of us who are on what is called the “Demo Team.” (Quick aside: Don’t you think that should have a more clever name? Not that I have any suggestions…) The Demo Team gets together about once a month to learn special routines and practice for demonstrations that we do at various locations and events. We often do a Chinese New Year demonstration at our school for students and their families and friends.

One of the special things we’ve learned on the Demo Team is a double fan routine. Fans are traditionally a women’s weapon, so only the women on the team learned and perform this routine. At the time this story takes place, there were only three of us, but we’ve since added a fourth (yay!). Below is a photo of the us being silly with our fans. I’m the fat one.

Fans

While I love the beautiful flowing movements of the fan routine, I always felt very uncomfortable doing it. It just seems more befitting of petite people – like the other girls – and I was far from petite. I always felt more at ease with bigger weapons that require more strength and power behind them – like long staff and sabre. I know I looked weird doing it too – I’m no fool – but I committed to the team and it would have been really lame to back out because I thought I looked funny doing it.

Shortly before this story takes place, the Demo Team was informed that we had to get a special uniform. Made of satin. These uniforms (which we refer to as “shiny suits”) are awful. Even the most proportioned and athletic of us look bad in them. And come on: Chubby girls don’t wear shiny clothes – light bounces off in all the wrong places. Am I right?

Besides being unattractive, these shiny suits were sized badly. In order for it to fit me around (top and bottom not sold separately) I had to get an XXL – the same size my 6’2″ husband got. The sleeves and legs were both super long – ridiculously long. Apparently, not many fat people do Kung Fu – at least, not in satin uniforms…

Ok, enough back story. Here it is:

At the Chinese New Year demonstration on February 17, 2007, the three of us were doing our fan routine in front of a room full of people – there were maybe 50 or 75 people there, but it felt like 1000. Toward the beginning of the routine, I heard and felt something awful. I split my pants.

It’s that terrible nightmare moment that you only see in Made For TV movies where the fat girl gets bullied. What do you do at a time like this? Well, the show must go on, right? I finished the routine and hoped like crazy that no one noticed the hole in the shiny pants. I don’t think anyone did notice – at least, no one said anything to me. The suits are black and I was wearing black underwear, and the hole was more in the crotch area than the butt (my apologies if that’s too much information…). Plus, we do the routine to music which probably drown out the noise – though I’ve always suspected that the other 2 girls, being so close to me, heard something and figured out what happened, but I’ve never had the guts to ask and if you were them, would YOU bring it up?

Anyway, as you might imagine, I was mortified. And ashamed. And angry. So angry. Angry at myself for letting my weight get so out of control that I split a pair of pants that were XXL – the largest available, might I add. I had been overweight my entire life, and I had certainly been embarrassed, left out, made fun of etc, etc. I’d broken down and cried in front of friends (blubbering mess, actually). I would say that I was done with being overweight and that I was going to change – “this time, for sure” – and then I’d start a diet, lose a few pounds, then lose the determination, quit the diet and gain back what I lost and then some. Vicious cycle.

So what was different this time? Particularly since there was no pointing and laughing, and – seemingly – no one even knew there was an incident but myself?

The day after this nightmare demonstration – on Chinese New Year – I had a long talk over the phone with my mother. I told her about splitting my pants and my frustration with my body. In that conversation, she made me realize that my body was really holding me back. That there are things in Kung Fu, for instance, that I couldn’t physically do because of my weight (and physics). I simply couldn’t get into certain positions because my legs were too fat. I just couldn’t perform certain jump kicks because I couldn’t lift my 262-pound frame high enough.

That conversation got me thinking about all the other things – big and small – that I haven’t tried or couldn’t do because of my weight. Things I always pretended (to both others and myself) that I didn’t really care about or want to do. Once I was really honest with myself, I had a nice long list.

And that was it.

I realized that being fat was preventing me from living a full life. From doing things I wanted to do. No longer was it a vanity thing (I had a husband who loved me and found me attractive as I was). Doing it to look good for an event like my wedding never worked because I’d go back to my old ways as soon as the event was over. Health problems were never compelling enough to actually make a change – I’m young, right?! There was never enough motivation for me until I made that list.

A few hours later I found My Food Diary and immediately joined. I had made a decision to change my life – to start eating better foods (and less of them) and exercising. For the first time in my life, I never second-guessed this decision or gave up on my goals, or on myself. (Maybe the key to having New Year’s Resolutions that stick is to make it a CHINESE New Year Resolution!)

Of course, I haven’t reached my goal weight yet, but I really have changed my life. I’ve done a number of the things on my list and am looking forward to doing the rest!

If you’re overweight and searching for some motivation, I highly recommend making a list of your own. Be totally and completely honest with yourself. I think you’ll be surprised how many things end up on that list. When you’re done, maybe you want to post it on your refrigerator as a visual reminder, or hide it in your desk drawer so only you can see it. It can be just for you, or you can share it – whatever works best for you. But do it.

My list has made all the difference in the world for me.

8 Responses to “My Turning Point”

  1. Stephen Says:

    Very compelling story Kimberly. I love the list idea. It should really get people motivated. Let me know if there are any things on the list that I could possibly help with, although I think skydiving was already one of them. What about cliff diving? Bungee jumping? Scuba diving, paintball, golf, disc golf, kayaking, snowboarding/skiing (short blades are awesome and easy!!), water tubing/skiing, surfing, wakeboarding, rock climbing, mountain climbing, para sailing, kiteboarding, etc., etc., etc…

  2. Kimberly Says:

    Wow, Stephen! Many of the things you mentioned here were on my list already (a few of them I’ve accomplished), and the rest are on the list now! I’d love for you to help me out with them – since when do you surf?! And what’s wakeboarding? And kiteboarding?

  3. Mary :: A Merry Life Says:

    Ah yes, the turning point. I think everyone reaches their own at some point. Some of us make lists (I did), some don’t, but we all reach that point where we must change.

    I’m enjoying your story and your site. It is SOOOO cute!

  4. Alicia Says:

    I want to be included in some of those activities!  Make sure I get an invite when the time comes. 

  5. Jessica Says:

    You are such an excellent blogger and inspiration not only to those who want to lose weight, but people who want to live healthier!

  6. South Beach Steve Says:

    I think it is important for us to all think back upon our turning points on occasion. These are important parts of our journey, and the motivations we had at those points need to keep fresh in our mind. Thanks for sharing.

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