• Stephannie Bramlett

Hello, my name is Chubby

My kids have a favorite game. They squeeze each others cheeks up to make them look extra plump and then have the squeezed one talk. They always start off with, “Hello my name is Chubby” and then progress to telling funny stories with their lips pursed. Serious laughter always follows. I suppose, I introduced them to this nonsense once when I did the same thing, except, my story was talking about how I went for a motorcycle ride and at the end I lean over as if I’m hitting the wind and then I squeeze my cheeks back into a sleeked back form, suddenly appearing very lean! I’m telling you, it is guaranteed laughter every time!

Growing up, I watched my mother struggle with her weight and body image. My family was gifted the genes where we easily can pack on weight, especially in the hips and thighs area. I saw her go through every fad diet, diet pill, or drink she could get her hands on. Now, mind you, she was never “fat”. More like, she rotated between a size 4-14 and everywhere in between. I remember always just thinking how beautiful she was. I didn’t notice cellulite. I didn’t notice extra fluff around her midsection. I had no clue what size her pants were. I remember once noticing the few stretch marks she had on her belly from carrying my brother and I, and remarking how neat they were. Isn’t that funny? Childlike innocence. I thought it was neat how her body changed the way God designed it to, and she was probably mortified that I noticed them at all.

Fast forward to my adulthood, and I find myself in a similar cycle. Up and down in my weight. Struggling to put my health on the priority list. Starve myself for a few months to see a size in my pants that I am more comfortable with, only to fall off the wagon and gain back more than I starved myself to lose in the first place. This has happened over and over again and it has to stop!

I remember going to my OBGYN with my first pregnancy. I had an early morning appointment. I stepped on the scale and remember begging not to see the scale tip over 200lbs. I was just under at 199! Whew! Somehow in my mind, that was SO much better! Ha! Little did I know, that would be the day I delivered. My doctor sent me straight across the street to check into Labor and Delivery. The day went on, labor ensued, and I remember being exhausted and just begging my doctor to “Get her OUT!”. He looked at me calmly and said, “God designed your body to do exactly what it is doing. You have hips that were meant to push out a baby. You CAN do it.” Oh my gosh, ya’ll! I remember immediately focusing on the comment about my hips being big than what he really meant, which is that there is beauty in the design of a woman’s body meant for that very occasion!

Where did it change for me? I can’t exactly pin-point the age I was when I worried about my weight. I remember visiting family when I was in middle school, and my crazy uncle yelling across the room “Oh, girl. Look at those hips!” I was in 7th grade...maybe even 6th. I don’t remember being overly concerned with my weight in high school. I stayed lean, but curvy… oh to have that metabolism again! I think it was college when I really noticed my body changing and showing signs when I wasn’t making the best health decisions. None the less, it kind of disturbs me to think how much I “hate” on my body. A few weeks ago, an image popped up on my Facebook memories timeline. It was from 5 years ago. I was in a bikini on the beach with my children. I remember that day well. I remember thinking how much I need to fix my body and work toward being skinnier in that moment.

The metabolism of my 20s is now far out of reach and I have found myself realizing that I care less about a number. Less about how I look. But, more about my health and how I feel. I let myself spiral a bit with an emotional year behind me, and about 3 months ago, I decided to take back control! Each day I start my day with the decision to pursue better! I really have made a lifestyle change through daily habits. I’m not starving myself. I’m not concerned about what size my clothes are. More, I want my girls to see me engaged and loving life with them. I don’t want to feel self-conscious because I stand several inches taller and wider than my best friend! I want them to feel stunning in their skin, their bones, their frames….just the way God designed them! I have made it my mission to make sure they know this.

So, I’ve set a few goals for myself:

1. Follow the 80/20 principle. 80% of the time I will eat good, clean food for my body. Healthy fats, proteins, and fresh fruits and veggies are my friends! I, also, use exogenous ketones to help me burn fat! 20% of the time I will allow myself to indulge a little. There is a perfectly appropriate time to eat a piece of bread, cake or a doughnut. It just cannot be every day!

2. Move. Exercise. Find something that I enjoy and do it! Use my healthy body for what it was designed to do. Lately for me, that has been going for walks at my nearby park. It can look like anything you want it to, just DO IT!

3. Make myself feel pretty. I do not have to be a size 2 to wear cute clothes or shoes. I am choosing cute outfits and doing my makeup and nails because, heck, it makes me feel pretty!

I encourage you to set some goals for yourself. Find an accountability partner and go for it! This time will pass us by and who wants to remember it hating on ourselves while we struggled to go through the motions of raising our families? I want to enjoy this phase of life! It is a choice we all should make. At least, that’s the way I see it.


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