Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Blubbery Blogger's History

(***Please be aware that there may be a few food triggers in this post***)

I remember it quite clearly...the first time I thought someone called me "fat". I was playing in my grandparent's back yard, and I decided to ride my cousin's battery powered Power Wheels Car. My grandfather yelled at me and told me I was "too big". Now, I probably WAS too big. As a seven year old, I probably had no business trying to ride a two year old toy. However, for some reason, my little brain computed his scolding as a discovery of my large displacement in space.

I can't remember a time where I wasn't uncomfortable in my own skin after that. I was so uncomfortable that I numbed myself with food. Food quickly became my best friend. My Mom would promise me two Oreos if I were to take a nap. Instead, I pretended to be asleep, then crept back upstairs to eat as many Oreos as I could get my hands on. Huh! Two Oreos, I'll show her two Oreos.

At any kind of shin-dig or family function, I lived to eat...eat as much food as I could possibly get my hands on before some "well meaning" adult cut me off. I remember clearly eating so much food at one particular family barbecue, that my Dad had to stop the car three times on the way home so I could get sick on the side of the road.

That wasn't the last time the side of the road was to be violated by me in such an awful manner. My friend, we'll call her Jamie, lived next door to me and she and I loved to eat snacks after school. We often binged on cheese and rice and pasta with LOTS of butter. On one occasion, I ate so much, I got sick while walking home.

There are many more stories like the ones I just told, but perhaps the most profound time in my life was when my baby brother was born. Until his birth, I was my Daddy's little girl, the youngest of three girls. I was the apple of his eye and I had his undivided attention at all times. When my brother came home, I lost my Dad. Because I wasn't the center of my Dad's universe anymore, I turned to my dear old friend, food.

As a child I didn't really become fat, overweight, or even "pudgy". I looked "normal" for the most part because I was so active. I rode my bike EVERYWHERE during my pre-teen years, I was on the swim team and I was way too busy talking about boys to stuff my face.

My Mom always had the pantry full of snack foods. Chips, cookies, soda...you name it. This junk actually lost its appeal to me because I had access to it at all times. Then something happened. I started hitting puberty and my body started changing. While in the bathroom one morning, I noticed something horrific on my inner thigh. It was what appeared to be a stretch mark. Horrified that I was becoming fat, I started turning to food again. I would eat whenever I experienced any kind of emotion; fear, anxiety, happiness, loneliness, etc. Whenever I started to "feel" I would quickly shove my feelings back with food.

My best friend and I once tried out for the cheer-leading team in Middle School. When we discovered that neither of us had made it, we celebrated with an entire box of Little Debbie cookies while waiting for our Mothers to pick us up. Neither of us will ever forget about that. I was 120 pounds and I cried myself to sleep on many occasions because I was so fat.

My best friend was just like me. The first time we met, she came into my home and ate a whole package of Oreo cookies. Her Mom only had health food available in her home. We would often eat as much as we could while no one was looking. We would bake a whole cake, cook up a whole pound of bacon and eat cream horns until our bellies ached. Yup, we were two peas in a pod. Our behavior continued well into the high school and college years. My best friend had begun using laxatives and I would continue to be surrounded by eating disorders.

When I was a freshman in high school I quickly became the official fat family member. Whenever food was "missing" I was blamed. My sisters' and brother's Easter baskets were robbed of their goodies, bags of chips gone in a blink, bags of M&Ms found in drawers, empty food wrappers strewn about. My parents were disgusted with me. However, the interesting part was I was actually innocent of the charges brought against me. It would turn out that my older sister had developed an eating disorder, Bulimia, and was pointing the finger at me to spare herself of the persecution. Not cool.

We once had friends over for dinner, and my Mom served fresh baked chocolate cookies after our meal. Behaving like any 14 year old, I quickly leaned towards the plate in anticipation of nabbing a cookie or two. I was quickly insulted and shot down by my Father saying, "Are you sure you want that cookie? You don't really need that...do you? Don't you want to look like Renee?". Renee was the girl next door, thin, athletic, pretty...perfect. I was at such a critical age when it came to self esteem, and at this point I had none.

I went to the doctors in hopes of finding what was "wrong" with me. Why was I so fat? Was my metabolism too slow? Was it my thyroid? Nope, I was just fine. While waiting in line after one of my many desperate attempts for a medical explanation, I glanced down at my routing slip only to find my official diagnosis; OBESE. I tried so hard to lose weight. I wanted so badly to feel accepted by my Father. I wanted to make him proud of me, but it wasn't enough, I just couldn't do it. I binged on fat free foods; marshmallows, fruit cups w/heavy syrup, Dr. Pepper, but I was learning that even fat free foods make you fat.

Feeling alienated from my Father, I began turning to boys for attention. For some reason it made me feel better if I could get attention from boys...and it wasn't always "good" attention. After dating an 18 year old, who later admitted he never like me because I was heavier than my sister whom he really liked, I was taken advantage of. After I was abused by "Jake", I didn't care about myself at all anymore. Enter downward spiral. In order to feel accepted, I began making myself throw up after consuming large quantities of food.

I managed to graduate high school after skipping lunch period by hiding out in the library. I was too embarrassed for anyone to see me eat. I would hurry home only to stuff my face with whatever I could find in the pantry, usually nacho chips smothered with cheese. I was a "whopping" 160 pounds at that point. I tried so hard to be athletic. I played intramural volleyball, basketball and joined the track team. I was able to maintain my weight between 165-180 by playing sports. After high school, it was off to college I went.

I continued to be surrounded by eating disorders at my university. My roommate was very ill and was actively abusing 1-2 bottles of laxatives a day. Even though I continued to make myself sick periodically, I ended up gaining the freshman 30 bringing my weight up to an even 210 pounds. By the time I graduated from college my weight was up to 240 pounds. Even though I walked everywhere, I was consuming too many calories. I had dappled in Overeaters Anonymous meetings with my best friend, but I was not finding what I needed at the time.

I promised myself I would never graduate from high school fat, and I did. I promised myself I would never graduate from college fat, and I did. I promised I would never get married while I was so fat, and I did. I promised myself I would never get pregnant while I was so fat and I did.

I weighed 269 the day I walked down the aisle. I would get pregnant two years later, at 290 pounds. I was terrified about gaining weight during my first pregnancy. I couldn't imagine weighing more than 300 pounds! I ended up suffering from Hyperemesis, or severe morning sickness. I lost weight during my pregnancy and ended up weighing 245 pounds after my son was born. Instead of continuing to lose weight while I was breastfeeding, I crept back up to 275 pounds and stayed there until my second pregnancy. Again, I suffered from severe sickness and ended up at 250 pounds after the birth of my second son. Now, six months later, I am down to 272 after going all the way back up to 288 pounds.

After years of poor self esteem, shattered diet attempts, cruel comments, and abusing my own body, I am beginning an end to all this craziness. I am determined to free myself from this barbed wire ladened fat. I do not want to waddle, I do not want to feel stared at, I do not want to worry about what chair I can fit into when I walk into a room, I do not want to cringe when my husband touches me, I do not want to feel anxiety while eating, I do not want to avoid all my past favorite activities, I do not want to obsess about food anymore, I do not want to hear from compete strangers "you have such a pretty face" anymore, I do not want to be the fat one anymore. No more. With God's help, and the support of my awesome best friend, I will succeed in freeing myself. This blog entry marks the beginning of a new me. A healthier, happier, twirling, obnoxiously happy me. Please join me on my journey.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I found your blog through Lynn's Weight Loss Journey Blog.

You can do this!! It will not be easy. It will take tons of commitment and definitely not an "all or nothing" attitude.

I found this very helpful ~ it is about being interested in losing weight vs. committed to losing weight:

People who are interested in losing weight:
1. Stick with it until something better comes along
2. Take action only if they “feel like” doing it
3. Need to see results in order to stay motivated
4. Blame people or circumstances for their struggles
5. Easily give up whjen the face challenges.

People who are committed to losing weight:
1. Stick with their plans no matter what
2. Take action whether they feel like doing it or not
3. Assume that if they stay motivated results will follow
4. Take responsibility for their own actions
5. Keep going in spite of challenges and setbacks

I found that I couldn't just be interested, it got me nowhere. When I made the commitment, I lost the weight.

Exercise is also extremely important. Start slowly but keep going. Exercise alone will not do it though. It is a balance.