Friday, July 13, 2012

My weight loss battle

This post is about something I rarely talk about but which has been an ongoing struggle in my life: my weight.

Me as a child.  You can see where I started to get fat at age 10.
Ever since I entered pre-pubescence as a child I have been overweight.  Chunky.  Hefty.  Pudgy.  And all of the other uplifting words that are used to describe a fat kid.

When I was really young I was pretty normal as far as my body went.  In fact I was downright cute.  But something happened when I hit about ten years of age.  My body not only became awkward, with growth spurts, sudden body hair, and growing adult teeth, but I also got fat.

Now I was always a pretty active kid.  I didn't sit at home watching television all day eating Doritos and Twinkies.  There was no internet then, the only gaming system (pretty much) was an Atari, and we couldn't afford that.  There wasn't much of anything on television good to watch, so we were outside.  All the time.  It was the mid-eighties and there was always -lots- to do around the neighborhood.  I rode bikes with my sister and friends.  We made forts out in the woods and walked to the park and pool daily.  We caught animals, swam in the local ponds and creeks, and rode our bikes or walked for miles just to go have fun. 

But our family ate the standard American family diet with a lot of white bread, peanut butter, pastas, canned soup, popsicles and ice cream, lunch meat, cheese, bacon, meat, meat, meat ...all the average American household staples.  My mother cooked (so did my father, but not so well), and she was taught to do so by her mother, and we were taught to cook as well.  Both my parents made sure we had plenty of fruits and vegetables in our diets.  We didn't eat salad much, but there was always peas, carrots, corn, green beans, tomatoes, squash, and other veggies on our plates.  There were always fresh apples, oranges, bananas, grapes, and other fruit to snack on.  My dad loved to eat and still does, and he would show his love by giving us food.  The badder the better.  My mom tried to keep our diets balanced but with her having to be the provider for the family (as a Registered Nurse) it was often left to my Dad to make sure we ate.  And he did.  Usually all the bad stuff.  And I loved him for it.

Me as a teenager...17 probably?  At least 220 lbs.
And so though I was active, and though I felt I didn't eat any more than the average kid (I'm sure I'm wrong about that) the weight packed on.  And as it packed on I changed, and as I changed people's reactions and attitudes toward me changed.  I heard it from everyone around me how suddenly I was unlovable because of the fat.  I got it in subtle hints from my mother and other family members, and not so subtle hints from the other kids who, of course, love to abuse anyone who is different.  Naturally the kids liked to shout slander at me ("Buffalo Chips" was my favorite; I could never understand how that related to me being fat).  But somehow it did, and the other kids thought it was hilarious.  My brother and sister defended me always, yet those cutting remarks made their way inside of my head and heart.  And so I learned to hide.  I hid behind the weight, behind being as unremarkable as possible and keeping my head down.  If I was unforgettable as possible people would stop seeing me, and if they stopped seeing me they couldn't hurt me.  I didn't exist to the world, and in turn the world stopped existing for me.

Me in my early to mid twenties.  Around 230 lbs.
During my teenage years I sort of "dropped out" altogether and withdrew completely into my fantasy world I wrote about constantly.  I slept a lot, because in sleeping I didn't have to deal with the real world.  I could dream and be another person.  When I graduated high school I finally found a group of friends and began having a social life.  Yet it was a roleplaying group I naturally found myself a part of, and it suited me.  I was still living the fantasy but now it was socially in a group, playing various characters that were in some way parts of me. Instead of living in a fantasy world I was now trying to be someone else so I didn't have to be the actual me.

This continued as I found my way online in my mid twenties, and now I had an even larger area to play pretend about who I was.  I adopted a persona and stuck to it, doing everything I could to make people see me as that person, the Golden Wolf.  All the while I was still ignoring my health, acting like I didn't care about my weight, that I wasn't embarrassed by it, that it was "just a part of who I am".

30 years old and probably the fattest I have ever been. 
Close to 300 lbs.
 I have continued to hold onto this outlook about my physical body until very recently.  In these later years I have endeavored to learn self love and self esteem, but yet those childhood issues have always remained.  No matter what fame I may have, no matter what others tell me, I still have issues with self confidence and feeling like a person of worth.  I have used my talents as yet another shield against the world.  "Don't look at me!  Look at my art!" 

Worst of all I have let this weight issue keep me from loving and being loved.  It has caused me to make some bad choices in the relationship arena, and even now I have no confidence that even if I wanted another relationship (which I don't) that any man would have me.  Who wants a fat pig for a girlfriend?  Who would want to be seen with me?  I truly am not interested in a relationship at this time in my life, but if I was...I feel that no one would be interested in turn (but this is a topic for another conversation).  I know this thinking is wrong, but what can I do?

It is clear what I can do. 

I can truly love myself, and to do so in -all- ways.  I can finally start loving my physical body as well.  It is time.  I am getting to the end of my thirties and my health is starting to suffer.  I would like the second half of my life to be a healthy one.  As of my 38th birthday this year I finally found the strength to do something about this.  I am making an effort for the first time in a long time (if really ever) to be healthy.

Time to do something about this!
This is me on my birthday this year, March 28th.  I am 288 lbs here.  I have extreme hypertension and am well on my way to diabetes and fatty liver syndrome, among other things.

I've not been below 230 lbs. in my adult life.

My roommate Sandra SanTara and I started on a mostly Vegan diet after this point which focuses on fresh veggies, beans, legums, nuts, seeds, and fruit.  No dairy, little to no animal products, no gluten, very few grains (and those that we do eat are usually gluten free, sprouted, and/or whole), low fat, and no sugar other than what we get from fruit.   

As of this post I am down 25 lbs. and am still gradually losing weight.  I know my weight loss would be accelerated if I got out and exercised more, something I -really- need to do, but with the Summer busy season in full swing I barely have time to shower and do my laundry.  Excuses, I know :P  It's not that I hate exercise, I hate taking the time to do it.  I will start going to the gym once I have the time to, and when I am down a little bit more.

My long-term goal is to reach 200 lbs, with an eventual final goal of about 160 lbs..  I would also love to be able to go running.  Ever since I was a kid I have loved to run, but exerciser's asthma combined with my weight has stopped me all of my life.  I hope to clear those two issues up and start Couch 2 5K at some point.  These are my goals. 

I know life happens, and nothing is assured in this world.  But I am determined to get healthy.  Not skinny, but healthy.  I have no interest or desire to "look hot", I only want to be healthy.  Whatever is healthy for this body.  Already my blood pressure is coming down, my cholesterol is coming down, and I am fitting into smaller clothes.  There are lots of other subtle changes, and I know those will continue as I lose the weight.  I have no idea how all this will go, especially since eating healthy is really, really hard when you are traveling a lot, but I am determined.  I will do this.  I have to do this.  I cannot afford to get Diabetes (which is rampant in my Dad's family), or Fatty Liver (which my Mom has), or heart disease, not to mention all the bad stuff that is caused by high blood pressure.  There is no question.  I am doing this.  It may be slow and I may have to take things in stages, but I am doing this.  And in doing this I know I will start to overcome some of those self-love/worth issues that have plagued me.  But that is a different battle in and of itself.

I will post about my progress along the way to share my journey.  I know I can do it.  I am worth it!


  1. Best of luck and great work so far! :-D You're one of my favorite artists ever and I'm rooting for you--keep it up!

  2. Also, hope this isn't too bold but whenever I see pictures of you I always thought you were beautiful, especially with your long gold hair. <3

  3. Your story reminds me a lot of my own struggles with weight. I wish you luck with your goals and eating plan! I've found the most success with gluten-free foods, though that diet can be a difficult one to follow.

  4. I applaud your efforts to live long and healthy! Not an easy task on a good day.....The diet you and the roomie are on is a great choice. A treadmill in the living room with your ipod, some AC and a good werewolf flick on the flat screen will make you feel awesome! Look forward to many more years of your astounding artwork and following your success in your endeavor Miss Grandjean

  5. Remember that you do this for yourself and your health, not for what anyone else may say or think about your appearance. You like all of Gaia's creatures are beautiful at ANY size or shape!

    As we progress through life we learn that the only thing constant is change. May you continue your change and acquire peace, prosperity and long life.


  6. Congratulations! I have heard a lot about this type of diet from other people and their results are almost verbatim what you wrote above. My mother just finished reading a book called "Wheat Belly" and it goes into great detail about the hazards of today's gluten and why it does what it does. There seem to be a lot of problems with our staple foods currently (not just gluten). It's worrisome and I'm two steps away from picking up the diet you mentioned myself.

    Keep it up! I can't wait to read more about your successes and achievements.

  7. You are on the way to a better life. I can relate to you with your struggle through childhood. It's taunting but seeing that you were able to pull through is still a good self act. I wish you the best of luck on your second chance at living healthy! Please be sure to update us on your journey, to inspire.

  8. Ever since I stumbled upon your art back in 2002 I have been in awe. To your beautifully stunning works of art, to who you are as a person inside and out, you are an inspiration to many.

    You are a beautiful soul Christy Grandjean. You can do this.

    - Alex

  9. I just want to say I've been quietly following you on the internet for years and years and years and you've motivated me in many ways throughout my life, just by being you, and not just because of your immense talent or intriguing internet persona. There were a few times where your artwork was literally one of the few things keeping me sane. To me that was a priceless gift from you, and you didn't even know it! You've unknowingly brought so much beauty into my world, so imagine how many other strangers you've touched.

    It's so lovely to see you sharing your inner struggles with the outer world and I thank you for that.

    I'm wishing you the best in your journey to find a healthy way of life for yourself. <3 <3 <3

    Deepest respect woman, deepest respect. :)