I’m a person.

I’m a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a teacher, a person.

I thought I was fat all my life. When I see pictures of myself from my childhood I realize that I wasn’t fat. Not until high school at least.

In 8th grade I was 5ft 4in tall and 120 pounds. I thought I was fat because everyone around me was 5ft 4in tall and 90 pounds. Now I see that I was the healthy one.

By the time high school ended I was 5ft 4in tall and 180 pounds. I was wearing a size 16 and hated my body. I went to fat camp and started college a more respectable 165 pounds.

I lived life, graduated college, moved, went to graduate school, dated, met my husband and finally, after returning from our honeymoon I broke down and bought a scale.

At age 27 I was 5ft 4in tall and 216 pounds.

I dieted, on and off for years and it didn’t change much because I could never fully escape the call of the food. The obsessive thoughts. The need…

I got pregnant with our first child and the next thing I knew I had a six month old baby and I was 5ft 4 in tall and 246 pounds.

I had weight loss surgery: the adjustable gastric banding, AKA “LapBand”. I lost 90 pounds in one incredibly challenging, difficult, and amazing year. At 5ft 4in tall and 152 pounds and I felt awesome. Size 6! I was flexible, exercising, running in races, feeling good physically and emotionally. I thought the pain of weight and fighting with food part of my life was over.

Three years later I had our second child and suddenly I couldn’t sleep, I was eating terribly and I was up 50 pounds!

Four years after that and I’ve never come closer than 8 pounds back to my pre-2nd-baby weight. Most of the time I’m closer to 10 pounds away. And today? I’m just over 30 pounds away.

Do I want to be a super model thin? No. Do I want to be like the people I see on the cover of magazines? No. Really, I don’t. I want my old clothes to fit. I want to be able to bake a cake for my kids’ birthdays and not be hiding in the kitchen eating it when no one’s looking. I want to be able to feel comfortable going to the beach. I want to not lie in bed at night thinking about and longing for the food in the fridge, or planning what to buy, where to hide it, and how to eat it without having anyone know.

I want to be happy.