Thirty pounds.

That's how much weight I've gained in the last year. I don't recognize myself when I look in the mirror, or when I look back at photos from a year ago. None of my clothes fit anymore. I can barely stand to open my closet door and look at the thousands of dollars worth of beautiful clothes that I can't wear.

I mean it when I say I don't know what happened. It felt like I woke up one morning and the jeans I wore the day before no longer slid up past my thighs. There was one day I broke down crying in the bathroom at my grandmother's house because I had to go to my cousin's volleyball game and I didn't have any clothes that fit me. She cried with me.

I mean it when I say I don't know what happened, but I do know that depression is a cold-hearted bitch. It takes and takes and takes from you until you think it can't anymore, and then somehow it takes some more.

So really, I do know what happened.

When life as I knew it fell to pieces last year, I stopped taking care of myself. I got drunk every day. There was one night in January a friend dropped me off at home after a night at so many bars I couldn't keep track when I drunkenly realized I had lost my keys. I had locked myself out of my apartment. I became hysterical. I called my dad and woke him up because he had my spare. Before he got there, I continued to wander around my apartment complex, wondering where I'd lost my keys. I found them in the parking lot — I must have dropped them either when my friend had picked me up or when he had dropped me off. I ran back to my apartment and I fell going up the stairs. I fell so hard I still have nerve damage in my knee a year later. My dad and his girlfriend still drove all the way to Austin at 3 a.m. and comforted me as I cried off the after-effects of a panic attack. They slept on my couches and stayed with me the next day to make sure I was OK. I wasn't. I stayed home from work for the next few days, ashamed of myself. I had hit rock bottom. 

Thirty pounds. That's what drinking every night did to me. That's what happened when I stopped working out daily, stopped paying attention to what I ate, started sleeping too much.

IMG_0692.jpg

I made a bad joke to a friend the other day about how I wished I was one of those people whose depression made them stop eating instead of start overeating, because joking is one way to cope when things feel bleak. But it only works for so long until you realize you have to wake the fuck up and do something.

My boyfriend, Jared, and I have gotten into several fights about my fitness and healthy eating routine (or lack thereof) since we started dating in July. He's a really healthy eater, he stays very active and he really takes care of himself and his body. His discipline is unreal, and I'm jealous of it. He doesn't want me to lose weight — I would "boy, bye" him in like .05 seconds flat if he tried to come at me with that mess — but he knows I haven't been taking care of myself, and he hates it. He wants me to be happy and healthy as I can be — that's love, y'all. But I'm not always good at taking criticism, even when it's constructive criticism. I've never been great at handling a situation when I feel like somebody's telling me what to do. So he's been patient as he waited for me to realize that he was right all along (he was, of course). 

Losing weight is everyone's number one new year's resolution, right? I felt really cliche when I kept telling people I was trying to work out and eat better in the new year. But these thirty pounds and I have some work to do.

I'm not saying I want to lose all thirty pounds. I've never been naturally "thin" and over the years I've come to love my curves. Also, as my doctor reminded me when I went in for some routine blood testing a few months ago, I don't exactly have a teenager's metabolism anymore. I may not ever fit back into those size twos again, and that's fine with me. 

Since January 1, I've been working out (I joined a fitness challenge at a local barre studio, and I'm obsessed) and eating well (I'm beginning to realize I actually like to cook!) and I've been feeling better physically and mentally this month than I have in more than a year. It's amazing what taking care of your body can do for your brain!

I was really hesitant about sharing the exact details of my weight gain with the world, as weight has always been one of those things women "aren't supposed" to talk about. But despite my fitness goals (for example, I made a promise to myself that I wouldn't buy new clothes this year until I drop a size), my number one resolution for 2017 is honesty. I'd like to be more honest with myself and with the people around me, so I'm posting that embarrassingly large number on the scale for everyone to see. And you know what? It's going to feel even sweeter when we can watch that number drop together.