It’s time we get real honest about something many women struggle with: the identity they find in their weight.
As those of you who have been reading my blog since the beginning know, I want to be 100% honest and transparent with you. So here’s my honest post about my weight:
The first time I felt fat, I was about 9 or 10 years old. A friend of mine at the time noticed “weird marks” on the inside of my thighs and asked her mom what they were… right in front of me.
“Those are stretch marks, honey. You get them when you grow too fast or too much.”
That was all it took to make me question my size. I was bigger than my friend for sure. But looking back, I was healthy. I played sports, and I certainly wasn’t “too big” by any means. I just had a little more meat on me than most girls my age. I’m pretty sure puberty hit me a little earlier, and I had curves! But all I could think about was that I was different.
My mom struggled with her weight, and she was pretty vocal about it. She’d make comments all the time about how she needed to lose weight. I remember her dieting a lot. She hated being in home videos or having her picture taken because of the way she looked.
Her size never mattered to me.
In Middle School, my insecurities only grew and grew. I began the 7th grade without my mom, with glasses, pimples all over my face, and with a new “friend” that visited once a month. Life freaking sucked.
In the 8th grade, my friend group changed pretty dramatically. I really began to feel low about myself. I felt really ugly and really fat. I can remember going to a pool party and wearing a towel around myself, and a boy telling me I was nowhere near fat. That made me feel good, but I didn’t really believe him. I thought he was trying to be nice. Oh, how wrong I was.
Sure, I had good days. I would feel confident for a bit, but then that comparison game would come back into my head.
“She has thinner thighs than me. She doesn’t have this huge, embarrassing butt. She doesn’t have pimples.”
All I could do was compare myself to other girls and think of how much uglier I was.
By my senior year of high school, I might have gained a little more confidence, but I still saw myself as “bigger than the other girls.”
In college, a whole new world of insecurities was upon me. There were new girls to compare myself to. And there was a world of “going out” where I judged my attractiveness by whether or not guys asked to buy me a drink or wanted to talk to me at a party. (It’s so sad, isn’t it?)
I actually lost weight at the beginning of my freshmen year. I was feeling really good about myself. I was partying—a lot. I found my identity in how others treated me, what they invited me to. It soon imploded on me.
Between my freshmen and sophomore years, I went back home, and found the “old me.” I ditched the party scene when I got back to school and fell into the theatre scene, a place where I felt right at home. I started dating a guy from my group, which lasted until the end of college.
I gained a lot of weight during this time. Our habits were either rehearsing or watching movies/tv, playing board games, or going to do karaoke. We did everything together, and I quickly forgot about everything else in my life, including fitness.
When I graduated and we broke up, I moved back home and began going to the Y with my dad. I have no idea how much weight I lost, but within 3 months, I was looking really good (at least I thought so).
My freshman year of college, when I had lost weight, I was about 140 lbs. I got to about 158 after working out when I moved back home, and as good as I felt, I wished I had lost more and gotten back to that 140 range. I was never good enough for myself.
I stayed around that weight until Wes and I started dating. In July of 2014 alone, I gained 15 lbs. From there, I just kept going up.
We got married, and 8 months later, I was unexpectedly pregnant. At that time, I was 188 lbs and talking with a nutritionist about how I could lose weight. And then I got pregnant.
I was so unhappy about getting pregnant because it meant I had to gain weight. I was already so depressed about the way I looked then, that I couldn’t imagine putting on more pounds.
Nine months and 40 lbs later, I had Jack Milton Hogan, and I didn’t care about how I looked!
Nope, that’s an absolute lie.
As happy as I was to have my son, I was so unhappy with how I looked. I couldn’t wait to get to working out as soon as the doctors let me. But I had no idea what having a newborn was going to do to me.
Oh my goodness, I can’t remember being so tired as I was for the first 4 months of Jack’s life. There was no working out. There was no eating healthy. Any weight that I lost was put back on.
It’s been 10 months since Jack was born. I was 231 lbs the day before I had him, and I’m about 210 today. I had gotten to 201 a couple months ago, but I obviously gained some back.
Why am I telling you all of this? Women aren’t supposed to talk about how much they weigh!
Because maybe if I own up to what embarrasses me so, it will no longer have power over me. Maybe if I just publicly admit to you what I try so hard to cover up in photos or with the outfits I wear—what I really weigh and how I really feel about it—I can stop stressing about making myself look thinner. Because it’s exhausting.
I am who I am. I weigh what I weigh. My identity should not be found in my appearance. It should wholeheartedly be found in who I am as a daughter of God. Sometimes I focus so hard on my appearance that I lose sight of how I am doing as a wife, as a mother, as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister. When we’re young, we’re told “it’s what’s on the inside that counts!” And as cliche as that is, I’m certain it’s 100% true.
Today I’m beginning a new diet and a new workout plan. I’m doing this for my health—both physical and emotional. Because as much as I wish I could say to you, “I love who I am!” I don’t. And as much as I wish I could say to you, “It doesn’t matter to me what I weigh!” it does.
I’m not looking for your pity. And I’m not looking for you to tell me I’m beautiful. You may very well think that, and I love you for it, but that’s not why I wrote this post.
I wrote this post so that I can talk about the “elephant in the room” and just let you know where I’m at. I’m letting you know that by Christmas, I’m trying really hard to lose 20 lbs and get back to about where I was when I got pregnant. And from there, I want to lose even more. I want to get to at least where I was when Wes and I started dating, but I’d love to go even a little lower to give myself some “wiggle room.” Because, y’all, I like to eat. I love food. I love wine. I love the social aspect of people around a table, eating to their heart’s content. That’s probably never going to change, so I’d like to prepare for it.
Here’s a pretty current picture of me:
That’s me. No makeup, untidy hair, 210 lbs. I think if high school Kiersten saw this, she would immediately break down in tears because she’d be so scared of her future. But when I see this, I see my beautiful baby boy and my husband that loves me a lot.
So I’m good. But soon I’m going to be even better. You might be thinking, “Don’t say that! You’re perfect the way you are right now!” But honestly, this isn’t about what you think of me. And maybe I’m wrong to be concerned with my weight so much, but I am. That’s just the truth. And I’m being honest, remember?
But will you do one thing for me? Will you pray for me? Will you pray that I keep up with my new plan? Will you pray for strength and self control? And will you pray for my emotional health, that I will see myself as beautiful, no matter what? Compliments go in one ear and out the other for me, but I know that your prayers will do so much more.
Thanks for reading,