Sunday, July 22, 2012

♫...Too much food on my plate..♫



I have a dysfunctional relationship with food.
I love it.
I dream about it.
I lust after it.

The thing with my family and food is that we use it to celebrate everything. Fun = Food. Whenever it comes time to celebrate someone's birthday, or any other happy event, the first question asked is, "Where do you want to go eat?". Combine this thought process with the fact that I am an emotional eater, and you see the recipe for my disaster. When I'm happy, I want to eat. When I'm sad, I want to eat. When I'm stressed out...you get the picture. 

  In the Spring of 2008 I was laid off, and decided to use that time (and the nice fat check I got) to finally focus on only school. Yeah, great idea...except I was also going through a very emotional time as well.  That summer I found myself staying up all night, watching 2 episodes of Angel at 6am and 7am on TNT, and then sleeping all day (except on the days I had school). I spent a lot of time alone in my room, studying mostly, but also in the grip of a very deep and very dark depression. I turned to food for comfort. 

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Long story short, I gained 60lbs. Walking around campus was physically painful. My back ached all the time, I was out of breath before I made it out of the parking deck, and my chest hurt something fierce. Walking through the grocery store was hell. I knew I needed to do something, but I really didn't know what to do. Weight loss is hard, right? I was already dealing with emotional issues, I didn't want hard! I tried to walk on the treadmill we have, but after 5 minutes I was ready to give up. 

My next to last semester of college, I took a class called Motivation and Emotion. It turned out to be a class on Neurochemistry/Neuropyschology...and while I discovered that I was actually amazingly good at the subject, and had a great love for it...and the professor is my favorite...it was something that my professor said one day in class that had the biggest impact on my life. Her specialty, I believe, is eating disorders. She was talking about weight loss one day, and explaining that it really is a mind thing...that she could take anyone, and they would lose weight. Weight loss is simple, it's the mind that makes it hard. How we think about food. Burn more calories than you consume. Exercise. Why was I making it so hard?

Fast forward to graduation day. I was finally finished. Yay. Thank fucking god. That evening as I looked through the pictures from my big day, I was confronted with the evidence of exactly how much weight I had gained. I was ashamed to show anyone my graduation pictures, and I wouldn't let anyone buy the professional ones. Now, I'm of the mind that all shapes and sizes are sexy. So, why was this bothering me so much? Well, for one, people treat you differently when you're overweight. This is fact. I could write an entire book on the way society treats overweight women, as I have been overweight and 'slender'. It's disheartening, and quite frankly, makes me angry. The main reason is that I didn't find myself sexy, at all. I was in constant pain, I couldn't fit into any of my clothes, and I really didn't have a good support system. I think those pictures were the final straw for me though.

The day after graduation, I started making myself exercise at least 5 days a week, and also keep track of my calories consumed. For a while, I forced myself to get back on the treadmill, and just do as much as I could. I started off with 10 minutes. The real breakthrough came when I discovered exercising in a way that I enjoyed. It began with WiiFit Free Run. I could put on my headphones, put the Wiimote in my bra, and bounce around for 15 minutes. The bouncing became crazy, embarrassing shaking my ass dancing...and the time I spent doing it slowly crept up. I finally started seeing some of the weight come off. The more weight that came off, the less I hurt, the more I could exercise...and I discovered that I loved the way I felt when I exercised. This was the first time in my life that I had ever exercised, let alone love it!

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The most challenging part has been changing the way I relate to food.  It has not been easy. I've tried to cut out fast food, sodas, overly processed foods, and fried food altogether. I try to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats. I avoid sugar...and am trying to lay off the sugar substitute as well. When I'm angry, upset, or stressed...instead of eating half a cheesecake, I go to my room put on some booty shaking music and dance my ass off for 30 minutes...or an hour if I'm extra pissed off. Instead of feeling the guilt and tummy ache that I would have from binge eating, I feel amazing after working out. This doesn't mean that I don't slip from time to time. Just last week I was feeling so stressed over my job and family that I binged for the first time in a while. I felt horrible afterwards. My body doesn't like it when I eat those kinds of foods, or eat that much. 

In a year and a half, I've lost 50lbs. At 32, I feel the best that I've ever felt in my entire life. I still have a little ways to go to get to a healthy BMI, but I don't feel so discouraged anymore. It has not been easy, it's still not easy...but it is worth it. I still find myself really wanting to binge, or eat things that I know are horrible for me. My family is less than supportive, still trying to get me to engage in my destructive eating behaviors...but I will not be derailed!!

For me this has been more about getting myself healthy. I don't want to ever experience the kind of pain and immobility I felt when I was so overweight. That doesn't mean that I wasn't also concerned with my appearance. I am a vain one, after all. I couldn't give a rat's ass what society thinks I should look like...and I'll never be a size 0. I am short as hell, and I have a very small frame, so I can't support a lot of weight comfortably. I want to look like my curvy, healthy self. Today I looked at myself naked in the mirror, and for the first time in a very long time...I didn't cringe. 

Now for the embarrassing part: 




Before





NOW



My Workout Outfit

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