To the GrΣΔΤest biddies,
Since the beginning of June, I’ve lost 100 pounds (120 is the total if you count the summer before you all knew me). The purpose of this email is to 1. Provide a little bit of context about what this actually means, and 2. Express my endless gratitude to you all. I know it’s long and you don’t have to read any of it, but like come on I know you will so I’m not really apologizing.
First, flashback to our pledging retreat. You were all a bunch of familiar faces (even that’s a stretch) and we were sitting around sharing the deepest darkest things about ourselves while hoping the string being wrapped around our wrists would one day come to mean something. I sat and listened and laughed and cried and simultaneously shit myself every minute I thought I might actually open up to a room of strangers about my weight issue. I followed the lead of people saying things like “this isn’t really a story or a secret, it’s just something about myself you should all know” and began to explain the only constant that has ever been true since the first day I can remember: I’ve been overweight. This is something that I had previously ignored quite successfully. I refused to have any type of talk with my parents or sister about it. Doctors and nutritionists meant nothing to me. This was the only topic that always made me feel uncomfortable, but I figured that’s the shit we were supposed to bring up. So I started to explain:
I was a chubby kid in elementary school and my mom said I needed to lose weight before middle school. When I was heavy in middle school, my mom told me to lose weight before high school. Then, shocker, I was told to lose weight before college. But (as always) I was like WHATEVER mom I will make friends and meet boys and do everything and my life will work out the way it ALWAYS has so shut up and let me eat what I want. Then I got cut from more than half my houses during the first round of rush and when I got my list back no one could really understand why I was so upset. I knew I had good houses left, but that was every single nightmare coming true. I sat on the phone crying hysterically to one of my camp friends who knew my biggest fear: They don’t want me because of what I look like and my mom was right and this is finally where my luck runs out. And then, like I maintain to this day, this house saved me. Not only did I think I belonged here from the moment I walked in the door, but after telling you all this story (while trembling and I’m sure not making a lot of sense) you collectively decided to respond with a round of applause and chants like “YOU WIN SCHLOS.” So first, I thank you for THAT moment. You don’t even get what that did for me.
People always ask me what changed and what made me decide to start losing weight and I honestly can’t give you an answer. I don’t know what hit me, I don’t know why NOW, I just know that it was time for change and I had to do something about it. I sometimes have a theory that for the first time I was so incredibly happy with my situation in life that I had nothing else to fix except myself.
When I started Jenny Craig in June, I was in a constant state of anticipation about what would happen when the summer was over. I reached out to my big and our house mom and asked if they thought being on Jenny would even be possible in the house. Them, my parents, anyone I asked, came up with the same answer. “It’s definitely possible, it’s just going to be reeeeeaaaaalllyyy difficult.” So throughout the summer I’m thinking to myself “Okay I’ll just lose as much as I can over the summer and then I’ll just figure it out because in reality there’s no way I can do this over the year.” As more and more time went by, I became really invested in this project and then August rolled around and I was like well fuck this, I’m gonna do it. I don’t care if it’s really hard or everyone is always staring at my little microwave dinners, I’m just going do it.
In theory and on paper, living in this house is the worst environment for this type of situation. Endless amounts of food at all times, stocked fridge(s), snack every night, dessert after dinner, etc. etc. etc. the list goes on. Our meals are prepared by a motherfucking pastry chef. The kitchen is the center of our house, literally and figuratively speaking. There are a million reasons this wouldn’t work. And here’s what I really want to say: There were endless potential problems coming into this year and countless reasons that even attempting this would lead to failure, but the only reason that I’ve reached any type of success is because of you guys. When you’re losing weight, people ask a lot about your support system. I can’t even really put into words how lucky I feel because “support system” is a vicious understatement for what you are.
I can say with complete confidence and without exaggeration that since I walked into this house for move-in, I haven’t gone a day without a compliment. I also can’t think of a single one of you that hasn’t given me one. You ask me how I can be so disciplined in the kitchen but if you walked in to an entire room of people telling you how unbelievable you looked, you’d be surprised how easy it is. I’m so motivated to work out because you applaud me when I do. I can see in all of you that when you get a text from someone about how good I look, you’re genuinely eager to share it with me. You brag about me to your friends and family. It literally feels like this house is bursting to support me and I know you’d do whatever I asked in order to help me. There are SO MANY examples I can’t even go into it and I wish I could give you individual shout-outs but the list would be all 54 of your names. You’ve turned this from my mission into our mission when you could just as easily have ignored it as passive bystanders. You ask me questions and you tell me I inspire you and you listen to my struggles and I’m sitting here tearing up because no matter what I write I can’t express what you guys have given me.
Before this year, calories did not exist. I “ran” a mile in 18 minutes. I wore size 24 pants. I didn’t know green beans were actually edible and I DEFINITELY wasn’t going to eat a salad voluntarily. This hasn’t been about diet and exercise; this has been a complete and profound lifestyle transformation. So many aspects of who I am are different now that I really don’t recognize my own life anymore. (I can run 3 miles? I like yogurt? I have collarbones? I can BORROW OTHER PEOPLES’ CLOTHING?!). But I didn’t, and could not, have done this alone. I wish I could somehow reward you all and I’m hoping that being active sources of encouragement for me and to know someone who will be literally half of what they used to be is interesting enough.
I really feel bad for the houses where such an environment would never exist. I pity anyone that thinks the sisterhood you get from being in a house like ours is superficial or temporary. For the first time in my ENTIRE life, I look like a normal person, I’m treated like a normal person, and I feel like a normal person. But before any of this, you all somehow saw the normal person, last year, apprehensively tying string around her wrist, terrified to let you be a part of this monumental aspect of life. This process isn’t finished yet, but I just wanted to take this milestone to share with you guys that when people ask for my story, you are all a part of it. I know that you haven’t realized it. You never really will. But I cannot, and I could not, have done this without you.
Peace, love, 120 and counting…