I’ve struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. My feelings toward my body and food and the relationship between the two have always been skewed. When I was in grade school, I was bullied for being overweight. I couldn’t wear the clothes my friends were wearing because I couldn’t fit into them. When I was maybe 11 or 12, my behavior with food changed; this was about when I started dieting.
I remember being on the South Beach Diet and Weight Watchers; there may have been other programs that I tried, but I can’t recall them. The South Beach Diet was the worst- I ate bland, unappealing food and I don’t remember seeing much in the way of results. I look back on Weight Watchers more fondly, because when I first started this program I lost 50 pounds. Now that I’m able to look back on this time in my life with fresh eyes, I believe this is when my food addiction festered.
I treated food much like an alcoholic would treat their vice. I would sneak food in the middle of the night so that no one would see me. I would lie to my friends about what I was eating because I was embarrassed to admit the foods that I liked were “bad.” I didn’t like to eat in front of others because I was so self-conscious. Weight Watchers teaches accountability, and one of the tricks to the program is to write down everything that you eat. At the time, I was so embarrassed by what I was eating that I would eat in private so no one would see me, and I would then pretend that it didn’t happen. This went on for years, and I still struggle with some of these behaviors today.
As I got older, I developed breasts and thighs and started to gain back the weight I had lost in grade school. I also stopped consciously watching what I was eating so I kept gaining. Being a high schooler, my weight and my health weren’t a priority. But people in my life would make off-hand comments about my weight. I even had a boyfriend at the time whose friends mocked me for “exceeding his weight limit.” I pretended that I didn’t notice these things or that they didn’t bother me. This is when I started purging.
This period in my life didn’t last long; I at least had the mind to realize that purging wasn’t healthy and it wasn’t going to give me the results I wanted. When I graduated high school, I kind of forgot about my weight. I knew I was overweight, but I had a boyfriend who paid me attention so I wasn’t really thinking about it. Doctors would voice their concern towards the correlation between my age and my weight but, again, it wasn’t a priority so I shrugged it off.
My behavior with food was still reminiscent of an addiction, but it truly became more of a coping mechanism. During any period of stress, moment of anger or sadness or even happiness, I would either drown my sorrows in a bag of chips or reward myself with a chocolate bar (or four). This behavior is still one I’m battling today.
In 2015, I began schooling to become a massage therapist. Throughout the course of the program, I realized how important mind, body and soul wellness is. It wasn’t until I graduated that I finally started getting serious about my health. I started to incorporate exercise into my routine, but it was sporadic- one week I’d exercise six times, then nothing for 3 weeks. When I moved out of my parents’ house, I started eating far less junk food. I began introducing vegetables into my diet and drinking more water. I felt better overall, but I was still overweight. In late November 2016, I started Weight Watchers, again, and I’m still on the program now.
As I’m typing this, I’ve lost 31.6 pounds so far. Four months ago I was the heaviest I’ve ever been at 221.2 pounds. As I’ve been on this health journey, I’ve learned a lot and I’m still learning- not just about wellness, but about myself.
The media and internet is so flooded with information about what’s “good” and “bad” for us, visuals about what we should look like and diet plans that guarantee you’ll lose 10 pounds in the first week or your money back! I want to share my journey here so that perhaps someone will see a realistic, holistic and intuitive approach to bodily health and mind and soul wellness. This isn’t a quick fix. This isn’t a “Biggest Loser” success story.
This is me: a real woman making real changes to promote a balanced life. It can be ugly, it can be raw, but I want to show that it can be done and it is so worth it!
Welcome to my journey.