I’ve always been heavy set. Even as a young girl I had chubby cheeks and a thick waist. My mom never really cooked too much and had absolutely no problem feeding me and my little sister fast food for every meal. She never ever monitored any of the food that we ate and always had kitchen cabinets FULL of junk food. I grew ginormous boobs at age 8, got my period at 9, and bad acne at 12. I was being joked for all of those things at school. As I became a teenager and my parents split up, I really started packing on the pounds. I was becoming paranoid about it and had an especially hard time when we ate at my grandparents’ house every Sunday. My grandpa would make fat puffs-of-air-in-the-cheek faces and hold his arms out wide joking me behind everyone’s back. He would analyze every single bite of food I would put in my mouth, and talk about it in front of my whole family. It was embarrassing to say the least. No one dared to tell him to stop because he was the “head of the family”. It made me feel like shit. There were a couple of times I called him out on what he was doing when he made those gestures and thankfully he stopped doing it. I managed to wean myself from junk food one year when I was in high school but I became so obsessed with losing weight that I was only eating saltines and I was down to 5 saltines a day. I was severely malnourished and when my friends realized what I was doing they threatened to tell my mom and they bought me lunch at school and forced me to eat it. I know what my problem was/is and I gained control over it (for the most part) about 9 years ago.
I am a food addict.
And I’m serious when I call myself an addict. I literally crave food like a drug. I get a “high” off of sweet and sugary things just like a coke-head gets off on snorting cocaine. When I’m sad, I want food for comfort. When I’m happy I want it for celebration. If there is any kind of pie, cake, donut, ice cream I binge and eat every bite of it in one sitting. It usually starts with me telling myself “I’ll just have a bite”. That very quickly turns into four of five more bites and then it gets to be more and more until it’s all gone. I mean like a dozen doughnuts gone. Or like an ENTIRE CAKE gone. It’s a weird vicious cycle of going in and out of the kitchen over and over. It’s like it calls my name! I cannot STOP once I start. I don’t purge, because thankfully I HATE to throw up. But I get very pissed at myself for binging and obsess about it for days and sometimes even weeks after I do it!
My highest weight was 225 lbs. (I’m 5’8”), and I was a size 20! That was right before I turned 21 and the new weight loss drugs Fen-Phen and Redux were FDA approved. I asked my family doctor if he would prescribe me one of the drugs and he decided Redux would be the best fit for me. I dropped tons of weight and was really happy with the way I looked for the first time in my life! The drugs made me full of energy and never hungry. A year later they pulled the drug off of the market because people were dying from taking it. They also found out that the drug could cause irreversible heart damage. I was more upset that I couldn’t take it anymore than worried about dying from it. I was involved in the Class Action Lawsuit for both of the drugs and was sent to a Cardiologist to see if it had affected my heart and I was in the clear, thankfully. After stopping the drug, I steadily gained all of the weight that I had lost back. I stayed heavy for about 8 years after that. About a year before I got pregnant with my first born, I knew that if I wanted to start a family I needed to lose weight. I was starting to cook for myself and my husband and was having luck with some of the healthier recipes. I knew that if I put on 40 pregnancy pounds ON TOP of how heavy I already was that I would be miserable and never lose the baby weight. So I set a goal for myself and started a weight loss program to get my eating and portion sizes under control. I did that for about 9 weeks and lost 20 pounds! I then started cooking healthy transitioning to regular food and continued to set small goals for myself. I made Sundays a “cheat day” so I wouldn’t feel completely deprived of the things I loved. I realized this couldn’t be called a “diet” very early on. I had to start a new way of “life”. This was the only way I could ever take the weight off and keep it off for good. I then had my two baby boys and both times managed to slowly lose the pregnancy weight and get back into my “skinny” clothes (size 12, which isn’t even considered skinny in this day and age!)
Currently I am having a new battle with my food addiction. I have moved into a new home that needed a major kitchen renovation and I am just now unpacking my dishes and pots and pans. For almost two months I have been living off of frozen meals and fast food. Although my choices have been smart, like grilled chicken sandwiches and side salads instead of fries, I have still cheated more in these couple months than ever and I have gained 7 pounds because of it. Just last night we had our first healthy meal at the new house and I’m trying to get back on track. But I’m having a REALLY hard time. The sad thing for me is that I gain weight very quickly and it’s really hard for me to lose it once I gain it. I can’t really do a lot of exercising because of my back being so messed up (you can read about my back problem here) I’m honestly scared to exercise and screw something up in there with all of that metal holding me together! Walking is about the only form of exercise that doesn’t end up causing my back to lock up.
Whenever I run into people that I haven’t seen in a long time they always make such a big deal over how much better I look (which actually makes me feel like shit, I mean, I guess I looked pretty fucking awful for all of those “fat” years!) and they want to know my secret. So I thought I would share it with you guys.
The secret is to treat it like any other addiction. You are constantly fighting the battle. Every day. Every meal. You have to consciously say NO to the bad for you foods and YES to the healthy ones. And you have to stick to that every single day for the rest of your life. You have to be really careful not to fall off the wagon, so to speak. Just like with alcoholics, it can only take one bite of something to send me spiraling back into my crazy food addiction. A “diet” means that you get onto a program that you will eventually get back off of. This is no DIET. This is a new way of life for me that I will have to consciously live, forever thinking about what food I put into my mouth. A great support system or a friend wanting to make this life changing decision with you is a great way to keep on track. And no matter how many times you cheat, don’t give up! You can always start fresh the next day eating your regular healthy foods. If you choose to change your life you may not see results for weeks and no one may even notice your weight loss for months, but KEEP THAT LIFESTYLE CHANGE UP! You won’t regret it when you see what an impact it will make on your life for the better. I’m glad I changed my life and I’m back on track now and I WILL LOSE THOSE 7 POUNDS DAMN IT!