Invasion of the Body Snatchers…. or “How I Got Fat”

I know it is hard to believe if you saw me now, but I used to be a size six on a good day and a size eight on a bad day.  I held on to this proudly pretty much all the way through college.  I mean, sure, I put on the dreaded Freshmen Fifteen, and by the time I graduated, I was much closer to an eight on a good day and a ten on a bad day, but still, hotness.

Then there was medical school.  I spent endless hours during my first two years pouring over books.  I made neat little packets of note cards, and would walk around my apartment complex for hours and hours while studying so that I could stay trim.  I was feeling pretty good about myself until third and fourth year of medical school when I worked thirty-six hour shifts at hospital after hospital every third or fourth night.  Guess what?  There was no built in time to exercise, unless you were running to a code, or leveraging all your muscle to pop someone’s arm back into socket.

Also, hospital food is not all it is made out to be.  You would think at a place where you go to make people healthy, that they would have healthy food, but you would be very, very wrong.  For instance, at The Med in Memphis, they actually had Hog Jaw Thursday.  I. am. dead. Serious.  Also, at Ehrlanger in Chattanooga they have perhaps the best apple dumplings you have ever put in your mouth.   I challenge you to resist them when you have been up for thirty-six hours straight.  I challenge you to make healthy food decisions when your body is so tired that you can barely stand up.  Fighting against fate, I was up to a size twelve.

So then came residency.  It is like the extended dance remix of the last two years of medical school.  On-call at the hospital once or twice a week, at least twenty-four hour shifts.  Pizza is an easier choice at this time than a salad.  Time for exercise is pretty much non-existent.

I guess I should insert a diatribe here about how little the medical machine promotes physical and emotional health in the very people that are responsible for public health policies, but I digress.

So then, I started my practice rocking the size fourteen scrubs.  I was doing really well with all this new-found time as a big, grown-up doctor.  I had time to exercise.  I even hired a personal trainer, and started eating healthy and was on the right track, down to size twelve again!  Hurray!

This was until I was helping a friend move, and I got stung multiple times by a wasp.  The wasp got trapped between my face and my glasses and it stung me multiple times.  I became intensely sick at my stomach and swollen all over.  I had never had a reaction like this to a wasp sting before.  It was awful.  Two weeks into it, I was like, “This is ridiculous!” and then I did some basic math, and took a pregnancy test and realized my problem was not a wasp sting.

The first thing that happened in pregnancy was a welcome change.  I realized that my usual B-cup bras were getting a little snug, so I stomped right into the nearest Vic Secret to get some new measurements.

When the girl looked at me and said, “well, that’s a double D,” I was like, “Score!  Most people have to pay for these babies.”

Then, the rest of pregnancy kicked in and I started gaining weight other places, less pleasant places, such as my face, and ankles.  My once graceful, svelte calves melted into an amalgamation of cankle glory.  But, it was okay, because one of the rules is, that when you are pregnant, no matter how big you get, everyone says you look “cute”.

(I must list one noticeable exception to this policy.  My father, during my thirty-fifth week of pregnancy with my second daughter suggested that I get ahead of the baby weight by starting Jenny Craig.  He’s a sweetheart folks.  I get my tact from my father, it is a gift.)

Then there is the great lie of breastfeeding that says you will lose weight by making milk for baby, but what they don’t tell you is that you are going to be as hungry as a line-backer.  I was nearly back down to a trim size fourteen after nursing my first daughter when SHABAAM… pregnant again.

Now, I have weaned Baby Bird, and find myself face to face with the reality that these kids have really screwed with my body.  I don’t even recognize my body anymore.  The double D’s have shrunk back down to baby B’s and my stomach sticks out, and I am a horrifying size sixteen after all this trauma.

I was in discussion with my friend, The Jillionare about when your body goes back to “normal”.  Her comforting advice was, “It never goes back to normal.  It is going to be weird dressing yourself for the rest of your life.”

Okay…. Great.

So something has to be done about this.  I gotta get serious folks.  If you see me around town with a Twinkie in my hand, be a friend and walk up to me and smack that sucker out of there.  I am going to try and get healthier, and I can say it is for an example for my daughters and patients and for good health, but that would be lying.  Really it is so I don’t have to buy new clothes.

No one told me that having babies would change my body forever.  This wasn’t part of the deal.  No one also told me that they would change my heart forever.  No one told me they would change my soul forever.  No one told me that they would change the way I interact with God and with the world around me forever.  I may never see my early twenties body again, but if that is the price I have to pay for this much joy, then so be it and a million times over.  But for now, I guess I am going shopping.  See you at Lane Bryant.


  1. Enjoyed this sooooo much. Related to every pound plus after 6 little ones! I am trying and have lost 15 pounds in the last year, with baby girl 27 years old now!!! Ha!

  2. The first thing I did when I started working on my weight was go shopping. I got clothes that made me feel great about the body I was in right then. Self esteem boosted, the rest came much more easily. 🙂

  3. How funny this writing is. Love it. And yes, babies are going to take alot away from your body (you’re lucky they only messed with your weight!) but they give so much back it’s worth it! Still, will be on the lookout for Twinkie-nibbling mama out on the street!

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