I decided to join the Navy when I was in high school. If you haven't ever tried to join the military, you may not know that you are tested and have to meet certain physical requirements in order to join. That test includes a series of exercises as well as meeting height/weight standards. Now, I'm sure there is more than one recruiter out there that has fudged the numbers just a bit to get a recruit out the door.... Well, that was me. I was not able to finish the run, and I scraped in just under the weight limit. So off I was to boot camp.
At boot camp, I got into better shape. All those 8-counts and mountain climbers paid off, I suppose! I was able to complete the fitness test required to graduate boot camp. Granted, I didn't not do exceedingly well, but I passed, and that was good enough for me. So, in November 2007, I graduated boot camp and headed to A-school.
At A-school, I started into a bit of depression. I was separated from my fiance by half a country. I was there for nearly a year and saw him for about a week total. I ate a lot. I went to PT, but I didn't really put effort into it like I should have. I didn't spend extra time at the gym, like other people in my class. I spent weekends in my room, watching movies and feeling sad. Somehow, I was able to make it through school though, without really getting in trouble for PRT (Physical Readiness Test, which is your height/weight measure, sit-ups, push-ups, and a run, at least it was while I was in). Then, I got stationed at ONI, and I kind of hit a downward spiral...
In the Navy, and the other branches too, I suppose, you have the PRT every six months. So, twice a year, you have the chance to really kind of screw up your career - you are not eligible for deployments, cannot use the tuition assistance program, and in most cases, you aren't eligible for advancement. The PRT is broken into two parts. The weight part, and the exercise part. If you do not meet the weight requirements, a BMI (Body Mass Index) is taken. You can fail all or only part of the PRT. Either way, failing is not good. If you fail three times in two year period, you can be discharged from the military.
At ONI, I had a job packing supplied to be mailed out all over the world. I mostly worked in a closet alone. Which was usually good. One day, it proved to be pretty bad though. I was cleaning out the store room, which included inventorying everything in the room, even the boxes on the top shelf that hadn't been touched in years. So, I started up my ladder, and I felt the thing shift. I climbed down and saw that the ladder had a bent leg. NOT GOOD. The long and short of what followed is that I was advised not to lean toward the bent leg. Back to the closet I go, trying to figure out how not to lean that way.... I'm on top of the ladder, pulling a box that must have weighed 20 or 30 pounds off the top shelf when the leg buckles under and I fall. Being a creature of instinct, I tried to catch myself on the shelves as I was falling. Also, the box that I was pulling landed on top of me. That began my back problems. I have had lower back pain pretty constantly since then. There are some days I don't notice it, or it doesn't really interfere with my plans... but there are other days I can barely make it out of bed. At the point of my fall, the not working out was catching up to me and I was gaining weight. I did not fail a PRT at this point though, because of my back injury. I got a chit to excuse me from this cycle of PRT.
My weight became a very touchy subject for me at this point. I had started gaining weight, and I wasn't sure how to lose it. I did try working out more, but it cut into my time to talk to my fiance, which I did pretty much whenever I was not at work. Just before I had been at ONI a year, I got married and DH moved to Maryland with me. You would think this would help my depression, but it really didn't.
|My dad and me at my wedding|
I was depressed about my weight, and the fact that the Navy was looking at it so constantly and critically was a very tough thing for me. I failed my PRT, but somehow no one noticed. I didn't have to do mandatory PT, no one said anything. I felt like a failure though, because I knew about it. Although I felt like crap, I wasn't ready to admit that I was having problems... I'm not sure what was holding me back.
As I said before, I don't remember the whole chain of events. I failed another PRT and had to attend mandatory PT, which I hated. I was getting more physically fit, but my weight was still going up. I don't know my highest weight while I was in... I don't think I hit 200. At some point here I started actively trying to lose weight. I followed Weight Watchers for a while. I didn't actually participate in the program, but I copied a lot of my friends that were in the program, and it seemed to help. I started losing weight, and I thought I would meet my goal. For a woman my height, 5'4", I needed to be 156 lbs or less. In desperation, I decided I would try using meal replacement shakes to lose more weight. I did a really nasty detox drink for a couple days, then stared 14 days of these shakes. They were terrible, but I was determined to lose the weight!! I ended up gaining pretty much everything I had lost, and I was so disappointed in myself. I was still working out every day, really trying to meet my goal. I lost a little more weight, but not enough. I failed another PRT. If you're counting, that is my 3rd failed PRT. It seemed to me that everyone in the entire command knew I failed. I tried to keep a brave face, but I knew what was coming. My chain of command (COC) did try to help every way they could, but the fact of it was that I was going to lose my job because I weighed too much. I think what bothered me the most was that there was no allowance for the progress I had made. I had lost 25 lbs, but it didn't matter. I was still over regulation.
Once my COC submitted the formal letter that I had failed 3 PRTs and it was acknowledged by our captain, I would have 10 days before I was discharged. This time was such a whirlwind of activity. I had to meet with people. I didn't know if I was supposed to continue doing my job or pack my house... I felt like everyone knew I was being kicked out. My depression deepened...
So, I discharged, and we moved back into DH's family's house. We went from a 3 bedroom house to A bedroom. This didn't help me any. I gained more weight. I ended up about 209 lbs. That's where I started tracking it in February 2012. By January 2013, I was down to 200. I decided I HAD to get out of my funk. Feeling sorry wasn't going to help me out. I was obviously not making any real progress. I felt terrible about myself. I couldn't understand what my husband was attracted to, or if he even was. I knew that I needed to do something to make peace with how I looked and what I weighted. I started making myself think I was beautiful and worth the effort of being healthy. I WANTED to be the best me I could be for me, my husband, my family, and our future children. In February 2013, I changed my eating habits - started a primarily plant based diet. I have stopped eating meat, which I was never crazy about to begin with. I mostly have no eggs or milk... Every now and then, I decide to have cake at work, or I don't want to go to the ONE store in town that has coconut milk ice cream and get a pint of Ben and Jerry's, but that's very rare. In June 2013, I started running. My goal was to eventually run a 5k. Now, June 2014, I am down to 171 lbs at my last measure. I am still running, except not right now, of course.
|My weight chart|
The point of this post is two-fold. One, I want to get the weight of my history off my chest. I am DONE being ashamed. Yes, I was discharged for weighing too much. But I am so much more than that. I am more confident now than I ever have been. I love me. And the second purpose is to tel everyone reading that you can over come depression. I know it's hard to correctly convey what I was going through. There was a lot of mental trauma. DH and I were having some serious issues because I was pretty much just shut down. But you CAN come through it. Find someone you trust and TALK ABOUT IT. I know talking doesn't fix everything, but it can help a lot. Don't be afraid to admit you need help.
And third - I know I said two-fold, but it's really three-fold - LOVE YOURSELF! If you hate yourself at 200 lbs, you'll still hate you at 120. You have to love you for you, no matter the package!