Every journey has a back story, a compulsion for pursuing it. Here’s mine.
My mom had weight loss surgery two weeks ago; she had her stomach stapled. She spent the last two years preparing mentally and physically for it. For as long as I can remember, she’s been big. It’s the family culture. The women, and some of the men, on both sides get big and fast. My brother is big. My sisters are big. My aunts, uncles, and some of my older cousins are big. I love them all and I’m not saying this to be mean or to poke fun, I’m just being honest and telling the whole story. I genuinely hope to connect with them all on this journey and share the inspiration and struggle.
I was pretty normal sized all through high school and early college. Then I hit a period of intense stress and conflict and got big myself. I was living in an upperclassmen apartment style complex on campus and the only time people were around was when they were eating and I didn’t want to be alone. So I ate with them. I gained 4o pounds in about 2 months. I went from 140 to 180. My clothes didn’t fit. I started hiding myself from the world in embarrassment, and I failed most of my classes that semester.
It took me two years of sensible eating and moderate exercise to work the weight off. It took even longer for me to reconfigure my self-image. I continued to think of myself as this awkward overweight girl with nothing worthwhile to hold anyone’s interest. I thought I was boring, frumpy, and not worth the time for social engagements. This damaged a lot of relationships, most importantly, the one I have with myself. I still struggle with this perception. I’m working on it.
Close to two years ago now, I knew that the romantic relationship I was in wasn’t working and it was stressing me out. This time, instead of eating out of emotional need, I went the other way and starved myself. I ate about 500 calories every 2-3 days and that was it. I was manic. I was not eating. I was exercising heavily. I talked fast and moved even faster. It was scary but I felt on top of the world and in control. I lost my winter weight, and slid down to the lowest weight I had been in my adult life.
Now here I am, I’m back in therapy for childhood experiences and a mood disorder, berating myself for gaining weight again, currently at 166, and oscillating between periods of starvation and binging.
It’s time I grabbed the reins and halted this runaway life, habits, and perceptions. That’s where this blog comes in. I tried for years to keep a food and exercise journal in a notebook. Each time I ended up ripping out the pages and tossing the discarded notebook in a drawer. I can’t do that with a blog and I need the accountability for real change.
And that’s what I hope to really accomplish here. Real change for a lifetime. More than that, I want to be real about the struggles of coping with a deeply embedded mood disorder and it’s effects on health, both eating and exercise; I want to be real about life and everything that goes along with it. I want to provide a friend in the quest to live healthier, happier lives that will improve day by day. I want to give hope, an honest accounting of the day-to-day challenges, the insights and knowledge I will gain through this public project and from the resources I seek out to help along the way. This is about confronting the truth of who I am and the perceptions and habits that have landed me here in this uncomfortable place, and the greater truth of how our society and family histories contribute. This is about facing forward and making one small step, one day at a time.
I welcome you on this journey.
So mote it be.