For as long as I can recall I have been overweight. Even at a very young age I remember being very uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn't look like the other girls, I certainly couldn't wear what they wore, and I didn't feel pretty. In fact I was bullied so badly in the 8th grade that I developed an anxiety disorder and had an overwhelming fear of going t0 school. Of course no-one knew it was anxiety, at the time and they thought that I was making it all up. I went to countless doctors with complaints of stomach pain and nausea. My heart would race and my palms would get sweaty and I remember feeling like I was going to die. The doctors ran multiple tests, did blood work, and even performed ultrasounds and they didn't see anything wrong. I Spent the last few months of middle school in the home economics room alone and away from my friends because I couldn't stomach the thought of going to class. What would they say to me today I thought. Would they tell me I was ugly again, or fat, or worse, I didn't want to know. I just wanted to drown myself in my sewing and look forward to summer.
Summer Came and Went and I certainly needed the break to relax my mind. The fears I had developed started to disappear day by day and I began to smile again. I did lose a bit of weight, developed breasts, grew out my terrible awful hair cut, and got contact lenses. Of course I was still overweight but I grew a few inches too so I was starting to feel a bit better about myself. I started to experiment with makeup and straightening my hair. I'd grown a tougher skin as well. I told myself I wouldn't let them get to me this time around. but let's rewind a bit, lets go back to where it all began, with how I became obese at a young age.
My mother was a single mother, by choice. She left my father when I was 3 and decided to raise my brother and I alone. Being a single mother was hard back then, it required her to work day and night to provide for us. So you could only imagine how much time she really had to worry about our health or what we were eating. Mc Donald's, Burger King, and KFC were all staples in our diets. Some kids get excited when their parents buy them a new toy and we were excited for our weekly trip to the hostess outlet nearby. Every meal had a treat, a Twinkie, a ho ho, you get the point. We ate absolutely terrible and it showed!
A one point my mother did get remarried and had another child who was raised to become obese as well. I use the term obese because according to the doctors we were. We didn't know any better we were children who only knew that breakfast was 2 or 3 bowls of some sugar laden diabetes infested breakfast cereal. Lunch was whatever garbage they were serving up at the lunch room cafe, typically fried chicken (that was probably laced with antibiotics and fried in cheap oils) and French fries (the conventional type loaded with pesticides and preservatives). There was almost never a vegetable or fruit in sight and Dinner was whatever my mom could throw together before heading out to her night job or some sort of fast food.
I didn't know the first thing about how to eat. I just knew if I was hungry to eat and to eat whatever was around. I also knew that whenever I was feeling sad, or bored, or angry I would eat too. I became an emotional eater because food made me feel good (temporarily) and then I'd eat some more. There was no one there to monitor my intake or to care about my health. I was pretty much on my own with my brother and sister in tow.
Interestingly enough my brother's weight began to decline. At some point he was diagnosed with ADHD and forced to take medication daily which suppressed his appetite. He still ate badly as we all did yet he consumed far less food and became very very small. I remember a time when he would only eat chips ahoy cookies. This went on for months where all he was consuming were cookies a few times a day. I couldn't imagine what that was doing to his developing body.
The years came and went and my weight remained the same. Although consistent I was still overweight. The weight carried over into my adulthood and I spent the early part of my 20's at a staggering 230 pounds. At this point people started making suggestions to lose weight and I started buying into the trends. I even paid to join weight watchers and started going to the meetings every week. I remember the excitement when I'd learned about other people's success. So there I was trying to lose weight the only ways I knew how. I would jump back and forth between diets and resuming my regular eating. I tried every diet that came my way, low carb diets, low fat diets, and even Herbalife.
The problem was that I wasn't losing weight fast enough and I was becoming discouraged. I was working so hard and not enjoying the foods that I loved to only lose a few pounds here and there. I was starving myself at some points and then binging out of frustration. I started to doubt if I could ever really lose the weight. I told myself I was fine the way I was and started to become confident with being overweight. I decided that I was big boned and my body would forever remain the way it was.
Well it took many years for those notions to go away and years of research to learn a new approach. I started college a little later than most (again I didn't have much guidance in the parental department). My First Summer class was English which was one of the only classes I truly loved because I am a writer and a poet. We read the book Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollen and it transformed my life. It opened up my mind and made me question everything. Each week my teacher would assign a few chapters and we would go to class to discuss and debate about what we had read. She taught me about proper eating skills, about chemicals and preservatives in foods, about the industrial farming industry, and about the mistreatment of animals.
I became obsessed. I started watching documentaries like Forks over Knives, Supersize me, and Food Inc. I read books like Food Rules, Cooked, and Food Politics. I learned about why diets are fads and don't work and instead implemented lifestyle changes. I learned healthy eating practices and grew to love vegetables and fruit. I became so passionate that I taught myself almost everything I know. I learned what foods gave me fuel and what foods slowed me down. I began to implement everything I had learned into my every day life and for the first time the pounds just started to melt away. I was no longer eating to lose weight you see, I was eating to regain my health. I wasn't focused on losing weight but focused on providing my body with everything it needed to thrive.
Over the course of a year I successfully lost 100 pounds. I had never felt more accomplished and more proud of myself. I became a coach and started helping others around me do the same thing. I've created this blog to share my knowledge with the world, and I've become and advocate for change. I did not use weight loss supplements or diet or starve myself. I ate nutrient dense food that transformed my body and I have maintained my weight with no trouble for the last 4 years.
I became active and fit and learned to love physical activity, most of which I enjoy outside of the gym. I parked farther away so that I could get in my steps. I gave up watching tv for playing sports and developed a passion for hiking and exploring the outdoors. Please realize none of this was easy but I also didn't make it any harder on myself than it already was. I stayed positive and focused until I reached my goal.
Thank you for reading my story, Please feel free to comment your weight loss struggles, achievements, or goals. I would love to hear about them and check out my before and after pictures.