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The cycle

As I wrote in my last blog post, food simply gave me comfort.  It gave me comfort because a lot of my good childhood memories revolved around family dinner, holiday dinners, BBQ’s and the like.  One great example is my mom’s homemade stuffing that she made at Thanksgiving.  We didn’t do stuffing out of a box (no offense to those that do), so Thanksgiving Eve is full of wonderful smells and memories.  Mom usually had it together that night in preparation for Thanksgiving.  My brother and I usually started getting out Christmas lights (and untwining them) while my mom started the stuffing.  I always helped break the bread for the stuffing and it seemed as though we had enough to feed an army.  We probably did.  The Thanksgiving after my mom’s death I made the stuffing myself.  I had to.  With tears running down my face and a glass of wine in my hand, I thought about my mom, Thanksgiving, and all that would never be again.

This confuses people sometimes because I am not filled with hate or anger towards her, and I haven’t been for a long time.  I simply miss her.  I wish I could have done more.  I will always wish that I could have saved her.

And so, in addition to eating more than my fair share at holiday parties, I developed a habit of not wanting to eat in front of people period.  No one other than my immediate family (I do not have this issue today).  This also began an unhealthy cycle of not eating and then eating more later.  I was never a binge eater—I have heard it described before and that does not fit me.  I used to be an emotional eater for sure…but it wasn’t like if something bad happened I ran for food.  It just comforted me when it was there.

I don’t know when I decided I didn’t want to eat in front of people, but I know it was when I was young.  I developed slightly faster than other girls and I was never a stick figure anyways.  Looking back, I was not fat.  But at the time, I thought I was.  I had no idea what to do with my body and I just felt like I looked different then everyone at a way younger age.  This might be TMI, but I was wearing a bra in the fourth grade.  So, yeah, I was already self-conscious about my body.  I do not feel that I was necessarily influenced in a bad way when it came to my body though.  My mom was thin for most of her life and she did gain weight after having my brother and me, but she lost it all at one point too.  But she nor my dad were never obsessive about their bodies, or ours.  I was involved in extracurricular activities until high school…which is when I withdrew and pretty much stopped being involved in any dance or athletics.  Which is when it began to catch up.

What I did not have was any real knowledge on the GOOD stuff to eat or the exercise to do.  Back then, in our family anyways, if you played sports great.  If you didn’t, oh well.  No, I didn’t know the best nutrition choices to make when I did eat either.  And again, I don’t blame my parents.  To me it feels like we have way more information today regarding food and nutrition then we ever have.  So while they could have taught us to eat better, I don’t get angry about it.

What I did know was my junior year in high school I was miserable at my school.  I had withdrawn so much from everyone I really didn’t feel a super strong connection.  Not at that point anyways.  I had been toying around with the idea of switching to a public school.  Just to try something different.  At this time I was attempting to come out of a deep depression (remember, Jerry had died the summer beforehand) and I wanted some change.

What I really wanted, thinking back, was to run away.  But I couldn’t.  How could I run away?  That was never an option, it was merely a dream.  With all of my mom’s continuous issues and me feeling so alone at school, being overweight just made it worse.  I just did not like myself anymore.  I know now something about myself that I did not know then.  Bear with me, while I digress for a moment—it will all make sense after I explain.

I don’t often like to give myself credit for things. I don’t know why.  I encourage my own children to be proud of the things they accomplish.  But I do have a hard time listing my strengths for people—unless it’s on a resume. ;) But I DO have strengths.  A lot of them.  I have overcome A LOT of stuff in my life.  I have a fire inside of me at times, and I remember my junior year, I felt my dim little flame turn into a full blown fire.

You see, one of my greatest strengths is that I may get knocked down…I may even get knocked down HARD, but I ALWAYS get back up.  And when I get back up…well, I am ready for anything.  I am no quitter.  I am not saying that this is always that easy either.  But I had had enough.  I wanted to change.

I wanted to do things.  I wanted to do something—I wasn’t sure yet that I wanted to be a teacher, but I knew I wanted to go to college.  My dad did graduate from high school, but my mom had to get her GED.  They were married so young, and had my brother so young.  I admit, I wanted something different for my life.

I began to think about the effort that they had put into my education, despite all of my mom’s issues she wanted us to go to a private school.  I started to think about changing my life, starting new in a new school…just starting fresh.  Usually, when I make up my mind to do something, I do it.  I may not embrace change, but I will face it, especially if I am working towards a goal.

Then I met Jason.  I met this wonderful boy.  He was BOY back then.  We had so many conversations, so many talks about anything and everything. I told him about how things were at home and I did not feel any need to hold back with him.  Not even at first and not even a little.  I never felt judgment.  I felt safe. I felt happy.

And I totally fell in love.

Changing schools was easy after that.  I transferred to John Glenn for the rest of my junior year.  I felt myself come out of my depression and I thought about all the goals that I wanted to accomplish.  That we wanted to accomplish together.

I share this because I always believe that a person can take their life into their own hands and change it.  So many people I know are unhappy in their careers—and I know things are not always so easy, but I say GO FOR IT if you want a change!  You are given this one life and I really feel that we can accomplish what we set our minds to.  I 100% believe that.  The road may be rough, but you need to believe in yourself.

After I transferred schools I was sick of being fat.  I didn’t know anything about diet and nutrition so unfortunately I found out about a doctor that helped with weight loss.  I was actually prescribed Ephedrine.  Yes, the real Ephedrine.

Now, I didn’t know any better at the time, and I really just think my mom was trying to do something to help me.  She may not have known the effects of Ephedrine back then, but she just wanted to help me lose weight.  So I continued an already vicious cycle of not regularly eating and added a quite potent drug on top of it.  One of the doctor’s instructions, and I’m not kidding, was to “not eat, EVER, until you are truly hungry.”

Do you know how often you are hungry on Ephedrine?  No very much.  I think the longest I went was four days without eating.  I didn’t even think about it either, I had so much energy.  I think one night I stayed up and cleaned the entire house.  So yes, I dropped 30 lbs. in probably 30 days and was back to a normal weight at 150.

Which only helped a vicious cycle.  I am not an anorexic, and I have never been a bulimic.  But I under ate a lot in my life and I still struggle with this today.  I am so busy, there is something always going on that I have to take great care to plan my meals and even take them with me if I am going to make sure that I simply even EAT.  Otherwise, I am at the mercy of whatever is available.

I realize I digressed off of my mom a bit because this is important in why I became overweight and why it became such a terrible cycle.  I was never taught truly the proper way.  I know that way now and I have awesome resources to share, but this cycle went on and on for years.  Her problems went on and on for years.  It wasn’t until much later that I actually went to therapy to talk about my mom, to talk about my weight, and to truly figure it out the healthy way.

If there is one thing I am thankful for, it is that I started therapy before my mother passed away.  I came to some major conclusions while in therapy and my mother and I made great strides in our relationship.  We were in a good place when she died.

The last words I spoke to her were, “Love you mom” and she responded with, “Love you too”.

I am beyond grateful for those last words.

Jason and I at his graduation in 95'.

Jason and I at his graduation in 95′.

jasonprom

Jason and I before his senior prom.

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