Tuesday, February 2, 2010
A little history...
I have had issues with food and disordered eating since I was a child. I remember binge eating when I was 8 and stealing change from my dad to buy four or five candy bars to eat in my bedroom. I was never overweight as a kid, though, due to my child's metabolism and my high activity level. I did develop early, however, and I viewed my curves as fat. The other girls my age were small and child-like and I had the body of a woman. I was self-conscious. I was also treated like an older person - often in inappropriate ways. I looked 16 at the age of 12. I was over-sexualized. When I was 13 or 14, I began to starve myself for a couple days at a time and I dropped weight. I was skinny. My doctor even told me once that I shouldn't lose anymore weight. I loved it.
Living that lifestyle took a lot of work and after a couple of years I was more interested in my boyfriend and my job than I was in being so skinny. An unhappy relationship caused me to become overweight for the first time at the age of 17. I joined a commercial weight-loss program and lost 45 lbs. I was thin once more. The problem was that I lost weight by binging for three or four days and then starving for the two or three days before my weigh-in. I remember going through the McDonald's drive through and ordering enough food for two people and ordering a pizza delivered to my apartment and then shouting to the non-existent person in the back that the pizza was there. I didn't want anyone to know that I was going to eat the whole pizza myself.
This went on for awhile until I discovered a 12-step program for compulsive eating. I became abstinent from compulsive eating for the first time. I wasn't binging and I wasn't gaining weight. And then I fell in love.
I met Eddie in a meeting and I loved him deeply. But my feelings of insecurity and strong emotions brought about a relapse in my self-destructive behavior. For the first time, I began to actively engage in purging behaviors. I also stopped eating for the most part. I wasn't fat. Looking back, I don't know what the hell my problem was. I guess I just couldn't handle the idea that I was worthy of being loved. I reached the lowest weight I've ever been at as an adult during this time - 119. I am 5'8".
I went through a group-counseling program to pull myself out of this situation. I quit purging. I saw a therapist. When I was in group, all I could think about was how much I envied all the other skinny girls with anorexia and bulimia. Their neurosis fueled my disordered thinking. But Eddie said he'd leave me if I didn't knock it off so I finished the program and quit purging.
For the next several years, I managed to maintain a normal weight, but at times my eating habits were still pretty messed up. I didn't want anything to do with diets or being told what to eat. I was rebellious. I was tired of how screwed up my relationship with food had become. Mostly I ate what I wanted, but exercised regularly so I didn't gain weight. After four years, Eddie and I broke up. I gained a bit of weight in the next few months and jumped right through a new relationship and into a second new relationship. I married the second guy after four months of dating. For those who are wondering, I don't recommend this to others.
I got pregnant within six months. I gained 60 lbs. during my pregnancy. For the first time, I was significantly overweight. My daughter was born and I was yet again about 40 lbs. overweight. I went back to the weight-loss program when she was 10 months and was back at my pre-pregnancy weight by her first birthday.
I kept the weight off until I became pregnant again with my second daughter. I decided I wasn't going to gain so much weight this time around and I exercised as long as I could physically do so (until about two weeks before she was born). I gained 20 lbs, in the first six months of my pregnancy and 40 lbs. in the last couple months. Crap. I guess that is just how my body "does" pregnancy. Not discouraged, I went back to the weight-loss program right after she was born. I was 29 years and 9 months old. I dieted for two months. I didn't lose one ounce.
Beyond frustrated, completely exasperated, I quit the diet program and ate whatever the hell I wanted. I decided that it was too soon. I was still recovering from pregnancy. I was breast-feeding. Controlling my weight through periodic crash dieting had always worked for me in the past and now it didn't work anymore. I didn't know what to do. For the next six years.
I did have two periods of weight-loss during the ensuing time. The first happened when I spent a summer abroad. I walked a lot and the weather was hot. I was also sick from the dietary changes. I lost at least 25 lbs. that summer without any effort at all. It was awesome. But then I got a divorce from my husband and finished college and the stress was too much. I gained the weight back.
In 2008, I went back on that same diet program for six months and lost the 25 lbs. again. It was excruciating to lose so slowly and when I hit a weight-loss plateau, I became frustrated and quit. I've gained the 25 lbs. back since then. Maybe more.
I am at least 100 lbs. overweight. Although I hate being so fat, I am generally a happy person. I have a good job and two beautiful daughters. I am active in my church. I have good friends. I graduated Magna Cum Laude from college. I exercise every day. I seldom binge anymore. When I track my food intake, I usually eat about 1,800 calories a day. That's not a crazy amount.
What I really hate is that I am not a fat person on the inside. I value health and fitness. I have always exercised regularly. I have been a vegetarian for 17 years. I hate the idea that I take too much for myself, especially when there are people in this world who have nothing. I don't know how it is that my outsides so poorly match my insides.
So I guess this is my last resort because I have to do something. I am miserable being so fat. If I could just quit eating and never think about food again, I think that might be okay. I hate that I have to deal with it over and over throughout the day. Sometimes I make good choices. Sometimes I make bad choices. Why isn't there any evidence at all of the good?