I am overweight, plus size – or fat – really, I don’t mind either term because I know they are all true.  I find the word “fat” lacks a certain level of political correctness or politeness.  “Overweight” is the term the doctor uses when I visit and “plus size” is what fashion calls me.  But honestly – no matter which term is used – they all mean the same thing.

I look back on pictures from high school and think -“You thought you were fat then?!”  I didn’t know fat until now.  God, hindsight can be a biatch.  So what is the reason? I could sit here and write that I’ve had two children, I work a lot, there’s no time, etc.  Those can be contributing factors but they are NOT the root cause.

I have racked my brain and beat myself up thinking the root cause of all this was laziness.   But I am an overachiever and laziness is not in the job description.  That being said, the only thing I have not been able to overachieve at is taking care of myself.  I have fought, clawed, stomped my feet and tried SO hard to point my overachieving inward.  It never worked.

Over the past 10 years, I have done everything in my power to avoid paying attention to my body and health.  I will throw myself into fixing any issue that will keep me from turning the bright light of physical self-awareness on myself.  Guess what – it’s not a coincidence that during this period – I gained close to 100lbs.

I am writing this because there at least one woman reading this – beating herself up – self shaming – swearing she’s not lazy – putting herself last on the fix it list. 

That last piece is key.  Why do we always put ourselves last on the list?

I was forced to give this question a lot of thought over the past year.  Partially, because I have been surrounded by strong women and an amazing husband who kept insisting I “put on my oxygen mask first.”  But mainly because I’ve grown sick of feeling like crap.  I’m sick of not being in pictures because I hate the way I look.  I’m sick of being limited by my weight.  I’m sick of being last on the list. 

Now here’s the most important part – I put myself at the bottom so it is up to me to rewrite it.   I can’t blame other people or circumstances for the order of the list. I am the keeper of my list. 

Many people are intimidated or overwhelmed by that statement.  But it can also be empowering because it applies to so much!

I’ve started to ask for what I need to take care of myself.  Re-framing the act of self-care to a prioritized item instead of an afterthought.  Every day – I remind myself that I control the list and want to be placed at the top.  Also, it’s no longer about being skinny – it’s about caring for myself so I can enjoy as many days of this life as possible.  I’ve started making positive life changes – integrating small but impactful changes – and you can, too.

Whether you’re 100lbs or 400lbs – Write your priority list down today.  Put yourself at the top in all caps!