Weight loss and the struggle to be thin has an ongoing battle for me for as long as I can remember. As a child, I was commonly referred to as "chunky", "chubby", "hefty", and "big boned" to name a few. I watched my friends eat whatever they wanted and somehow manage to stay slim.
At some point, food was offered as the solution to all my problems. Silly as it sounds now, as a child, I used to almost look forward to getting sick so I could have all the delicious sweets I wanted. Whenever I was sick, I could indulge in 7Up, Vernors, ice cream, and jello. If I was sad, there were usually cookies, pie, or cake to help ease it.
I learned very quickly that life revolves around food. There was never a special occasion that took place without there being food aplenty. Holidays, birthdays, weddings, showers, anniversaries, graduations, confirmations, baptisms... not one of them was shy of food to help us celebrate. Playing cards, going to the movies, going bowling, baseball games, BBQ's, shopping, work — all had food associated with them.
In high school, while engaged to be married, I became incredibly ill with Influenza B. I was the sickest I had ever been... wanting to do nothing but sleep. For the first time in my life, I had no appetite at all. My father began bribing me to eat anything at all. He'd go to the Dairy Queen and bring me my favorite — a banana split. Even though I'd only take a bite or two at his urging, it was something. I lost over 20 pounds and was determined not to regain it before my wedding day.
I started a diet and began working out. I became obsessed with it. I ate like a bird and exercised for a minimum of 30 minutes any time I ate anything. I graduated in January, turned 18 in June and got married in July. Despite being at a weight that was less than I'd weighed since I was 11, I still felt fat. People told me I was too thin. I thought they were just saying that.
With each of my pregnancies, I gained too much weight. Each time I was over 200 pounds on a 5'3" frame. Both times, however, I was able to lose the weight and get back a slimmer me thanks to Weight Watchers and support from friends and family.
I was told by my mother-in-law that I didn't need to stay so slim. Was I looking for love in other places? I told her I was merely wanting to hang on to the love I had. People watched what I ate (as much or more than I did). I found that being thin had its drawbacks too. Guys whistled and stared. Gals said nasty things about me. If I was nice to someone and said hello, I was flirting. I felt like I couldn't win. No matter what I did, it was wrong. My clothes weren't right — they were too tight, too revealing.
I can remember watching a talk show on anorexia and wondering how in the world anyone's self-image could be so messed up that they could actually look in the mirror as an incredibly underweight individual and think they were fat. How does that happen?
Like a light bulb flashing in my head, I recalled the people who told me I was too thin when I thought I wasn't. I ran upstairs to get an old pair of shorts — ones that I wore during that time period. They looked awfully small to me. I decided to ask my son to try them on for me when he arrived home after school. My son had always been thin — having to wear slim pants. He was amongst the smallest in his class at school.
Ryan obliged me by trying on my shorts and they fit him! I was in absolute shock. My 12-year-old, skinny son had on shorts that I had worn after having both he and his sister. Shorts that, when I'd worn them, I had thought I needed to lose more weight. How could I not have known? How had I become so out-of-touch with my body image?
I became ill and had to have a complete hysterectomy at the age of 32. My body wasn't the same. I began to put on weight. Both my parents became ill and my husband and I took on the responsibility of taking care of their needs. My family had us in court on a regular basis. I lost two jobs. I lost our health insurance. Our daughter was hospitalized. Our son was hospitalized. My weight climbed up, and up, and up.
Sixty-five pounds later, I was beside myself. For the past 15 years, I have yo-yo dieted with varying degrees of success. I was watching the Dr. Phil show one summer day and it was about weight loss. He told someone on the show that because they had beent heavy for a number of years, they needed to figure out what it was they were getting from it. There was a pay off for them to remain heavy.
I remember thinking, "Yeah, right! Like anyone would CHOOSE to be like this! Are you nuts?" I decided to do some thinking to see if I could figure out what Dr. Phil was talking about. Then it came to me...
My fat had become my barrier. It protected me. Guys didn't stare at me. Gals didn't get jealous. In fact, I'd become quite invisible. People didn't seem to notice me much at all. They didn't watch what I ate. I didn't have people whistling at me or hitting on me.
I thought back to my most recent attempts to lose weight. The last time I'd managed to lose about 30 pounds, it started up again. My boss at work kept commenting about how good I looked. <SHRINK> People complimented me on my weight loss. <SHRINK SOME MORE> Guys started looking in my direction when I was out. <DISAPPEAR> And the weight came back on...
For some people, losing weight brings on compliments and it encourages them to stick with it. For me, it's my signal to stop. I need to figure out a way to break through this cycle. I want to be healthy, feel vibrant, keep up with my grandchildren, wear pretty things again. I'm not sure how to get past this hurdle in my life, but I feel I must do it. Depression has taken hold of me, I'm not getting any younger, and I'm tired of sitting on the sidelines while life passes me by.
My friends and family only roll their eyes when I tell them of my intentions. I can't blame them really... I've made this attempt many, many times before. That's why I've decided to go public with it — to share it with you, my Gather friends. I've seen how supportive you can be and I want to surround myself with that. I'm going to need all the support and encouragement I can get!
I will have before photos to share with you at some point, but I won't be posting them until I've made some progress in a more positive direction. Your honesty and encouragement are greatly appreciated.
I will try to post updates once a week or once every two weeks (depending on what else is going on in my life at the time). I haven't yet decided what sort of diet to follow. I think, for now, I will be content to get my 8 glasses of water in and pick up on my exercising.
Baby steps. Rather than try to do everything at once, I will start small. For someone who hates water, getting in 8 glasses of water will be a challenge. Giving up caffeine and pop will be another challenge I intend to conquer! The exercising will be light at first and increase over time. I think I'll start by doing an ab routine that I've used in the past with some success.
So here's the scoop:
Starting Weight: 210 (still 17 pounds down from where I was a few month ago!)
Goals: Drink 8 glasses of water each day. Ab routine at least 3x per week.
Next weigh-in & post: Monday, July 18 (as I will be out of town next weekend)
Thanks for stopping by. Thanks in advance for your support. I'm hoping to get this weight off once and for all... the RIGHT way! I hope there will be less of me next week when we meet again.