Soooooo.......let's just pretend that almost 18 months hasn't gone by since my last blog post here. *Poof* forgotten.
Lies! I've talked about them before and likely, I will talk about them again.
Usually the biggest lies we tell ourselves are about ourselves. With our own body image it is really hard to be honest sometimes, especially as we get older and our bodies change. Truthfully though, I have always had a warped image of my body and therefore been a damn good self deceiver when it came to.....me!
Now bare with me as I start pointing fingers. I am fully aware as an adult where the fault lies with my diet, exercise and health in general. However, I didn't just frivolously jump on the bandwagon that led me here. No, I was shamed and in some ways, forced into it.
As a very young kid, I was a picky eater and very skinny. I was tiny from my head to my toes. I even had a dentist tell me once that I had the tiniest teeth he had ever worked on. I remember still wearing a size 6 little girls long after my friends were in size 8's and 10's. I was not a food lover and spent many an hour sitting at the table long after everyone else was through eating, because I wouldn't eat my food. Then, my mother who was also very thin and who had always had the metabolism of a hummingbird, got a divorce. That divorce did us all in I think.
My mother began to turn to food as comfort during this time and her once active lifestyle was replaced with what I now believe was depression. She began preparing large fattening meals and supplementing with fast food. After she put on about 20 pounds and started feeling physically like crap (mom had Lupus and a good diet is crucial to Lupus survival) she joined Weight Watchers and took it all off in 6 weeks. As far as I went, I had taken a liking to homemade bread, cinnamon rolls, scalloped potatoes, pizza and hamburgers and yes....I put on some weight but mostly my metabolism was still pretty good and my weight was more puberty related.
Looking back, had my mother just changed all of our diets over to more of a Weight Watchers mind set and not focused so heavily on weight, scales and body image, I might not ever have gone down the road I did. The icing on the cake for me though(no pun intended), was my mom taking me to the doctor for a physical and the doctor telling "me" not her, that I had put on 5 pounds in the last year but that I hadn't grown any taller, therefore if I didn't go on a "diet" right now, I was going to be "fat!" Yep! My self image was pretty much in the toilet at 11 years old.
From that moment on, I was on a lifelong journey of self-love vs. self-loathing, binge eating, diet pills, laxatives, anorexia and obesity. I judged myself the way I felt the world judged me and that was by how I looked. This was validated by peoples attitudes toward me based on my weight.
During my high school years, I was not skinny by any stretch, but I was not fat either. At that time in society though, the world worshiped "skinny" to the point of no butt and no boobs. Now you could get by with the bigger boobs if you had a tiny waist and butt, but if you had a voluptuous figure at all, you were "fat!" Since I was only 5'1", I had no waist, but I did have boobs and a butt and because I wasn't bikini body, waif thin.....I was viewed as and talked about as fat. Then, my senior year in high school, right at Thanksgiving I got sick. I couldn't eat for about a week and being young and having a decent metabolism, I dropped about 10 pounds, which was a lot for my tiny body. Then my mother got sick and we thought she had heart issues. The worry and stress over that caused me to drop another 5 pounds. Then I got a crush on a guy at school. My obsession with him caused another 5 to come off. By the time I went back to school after Christmas break, I was 20 pounds down and it seemed that everyone noticed it. Guys who had never given me the time of day suddenly found me "interesting" and girls suddenly either got friendlier or meaner depending on whether they found my new weight loss a threat or not. Even my parents were noticing. Suddenly my dad was "proud" of the way I looked and was taking me out to buy brand new clothes, something he never did before.
There was a problem with all of this though. I was still me and I still liked scalloped potatoes and hamburgers and once I was no longer sick, worried and infatuated, my appetite was back and I was hungry. When I started gaining back the first 5 pounds, I panicked. I liked thin me and I wasn't going to give it up. That is when I took out stock in laxatives. The fact that I have any colon left today is a miracle as I would down literally boxes of laxatives after I ate. It worked but one of the nasty side effects (aside from the obvious) was that taking that many laxatives dehydrates you and dehydration caused me horrific migraines. At the time I didn't realize the correlation, but now I know why I spent the last half of my senior year literally in agony all the time with migraines. Apparently though, the number on the scales was worth ALL the side effects of the laxatives.
It wasn't long before I found myself completely addicted to my scales. I would literally weigh myself 8-10 times a day. I had no understanding at the time that your body weight fluctuates throughout the day and therefore I would panic if I weighed half a pound more in the evening than I did in the morning. By this time, laxatives were not enough for me and so I began not eating at all or eating very minimally. The pounds were dropping and people were telling me how great I looked by I was literally starving. I wanted to eat so badly, but each morsel that went into my mouth I felt guilty about. Peoples admiration for how great I looked was worth everything to me.....including my health, so the starvation continued.
I was never a true bulimic simply because I hate throwing up. I could never force myself to throw up no matter how much I tried. What I could do though, was drink until I puked, which I got very good at. My friends and I would go out to the bars and clubs and we would drink. I drank a lot....at least for my size....and every time I would end up puking sick and hungover. The weird thing was, I never liked alcohol. To this day I am still not a fan, but back then, drinking was a means to an end and each morning after a night out of drinking and then throwing up, no matter how bad the hangover, I was on the scales checking to see how much weight I had lost.
Eventually I couldn't stand the drinking anymore or the laxatives and I started to gain a few pounds back. Panic again began to set in and then I learned of a doctor who was an osteopath, who practiced over the state line. He was pricey as you had to pay out of pocket (can't imagine why he turned none of this into insurance). You would go in and get blood work done and then he would give you diet pills. Phendometrazine and something else, along with a vitamin. Yeah....that vitamin helped a lot. Looking back, the doctor was criminal for giving me, a 5'1" girl who weighed 100 pounds soaking wet, diet pills....but he did.
The diet pills in my mind were the answer to all my prayers. By taking the pills, I was never hungry. I could literally go without food for days without the pesky side effect of hunger. I would eat something unhealthy like a bag of chips, a candy bar or a burger every couple of days just to keep from keeling over, but other than that....nothing. I was literally starving myself to death. I don't think I cared though because the world was giving me "positive" feedback. I say positive loosely as in my warped brain, my mom being worried about my weight loss and people telling me that I was getting "too thin," were positive. Even my dad told me I needed to eat more, where as before when I was heavier and healthy, he told me I looked like a "hog." No one had ever told me I was "too thin" before and I loved it.
It wasn't until after I met my husband and he convinced me that he found me beautiful regardless of how I looked, that I started to get a handle on my eating. By handle, I mean I began to eat regularly and not worry about the scales. Then after I had my middle son, the weight grabbed a hold and didn't want to let go. I did get back down to a healthy weight after he was born and then I found out I was pregnant again. During this pregnancy though, my body had changed so much and I put on a lot of weight. Following my youngest son's birth, the bottom fell out of my world and then the next three years I dealt with the NICU, losing my husband, a hysterectomy, a special needs child, a teenager grieving and going wild, losing my mom and full on depression caused by anti-depressants. (Yes....I said caused by anti-depressants and that is another story for another day).
My weight kept climbing and my energy was declining. I felt horrible all of the time and my doctor just kept wanting to put me on more anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills. I was in a limbo of exhaustion, hunger and frustration. Then as I was sitting in his office one day, I read an article about hypothyroidism. Everything in the article spoke to me. I knew this was my issue and when I finally got called back I told the doctor what I thought. I literally had to argue with him to get him to test me, but low and behold, my thyroid was so out of whack and so slow, it was helping to contribute to everything else that was out of whack in my life. Once I started Synthroid and weaned myself off of all the other unnecessary crap, I started feeling like a human again. That being said though, by this point my metabolism was so slow and my eating habits were so bad, that for the next few years, food was my friend and my weight climbed.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine talked me into starting a food program called Trim Healthy Mama. She had actually started trying to get me to do it two years prior, but I am a hard sell. I really believed that I would always be overweight and that fat and unhealthy were how I would spend the rest of my days. Doing THM though, I learned I was wrong. In three months I lost about 30 lbs and I felt amazing. I was healthy and I was actually happy and never hungry. I did well for quite sometime and then..............
This is where I would normally throw in a multitude of excuses as to why I quit taking care of me such as......a child on drugs, another child's impending surgery, almost losing my house, almost losing a grand child and the list goes on and on, but the TRUTH is......I just gave up and let life overwhelm me. It was my fault, my choice and although I might be able to blame my start on this unhealthy path on others, my current issues are my own fault. I obviously know how to live healthy, I just made the choice not to.
So the other day I had to go to the doctor for a tick bite(another fun story for another day). My blood pressure was a scary 154/114 and my weight was....well let's just say......not pretty. What the heck was I doing to myself? Why was I doing it? Was I not worth better?
Body image and the lies we tell ourselves about our body, our health and our eating habits can literally kill us, especially the older we get. So here's my truth. I am not perfect, but I am definitely a worthwhile person. In the big scheme of things, I still have some good years ahead....if I stay healthy. I have health problems that would be made so much better if I lost weight. I don't feel good about me, the way I look or how I feel. I want to lose weight. I know how to lose weight, eat, not be hungry and be healthy......and most importantly.....I am worth everything it takes to do it. I deserve to be the very best version of me I can be! And that folks is the truth!