I’ve had an ugly relationship with food for as long as I can remember. As a child, I watched my mom, aunt and grandmother chronically diet and punish themselves with food, and I was constantly reminded by my mother every time I put something into my mouth that I was “going to get fat.” Discipline and punishment in our house almost always involved taking away meals.
My siblings and I were raised on toxic chemicals touted by the food industry to be healthy, like aspartame, margarine and low-fat processed snacks because gaining weight was the greatest crime imaginable in our family and my mom wanted to ensure that we would grow up to be skinny, beautiful adults.
By my mid teens, I had started to gain a little “junk in the trunk,” eliciting antagonistic “blubble blubble” noises from my mom when I’d walk past her. It hurt but I reasoned that I somehow deserved the treatment, a habit I developed in my childhood to cope with the pain of being what I believed to be a great disappointment to my parents. The saddest part of all is that I wasn’t even overweight! But I grew up believing I was fat and hideous and that my Size 10‑12 with hips and breasts on my 5’8″ frame was something to be ashamed of.
I can’t really resent my mom anymore for her insane obsession with and hurtful comments pertaining to my weight. As an adult I can see that the sickness was pervasive throughout her entire family and engrained in her from a young age. The twisted thinking was often reinforced by high praise when she or anyone in her childhood home managed to shrink in size, no matter how this was accomplished. To this day my grandfather, despite his dementia, is very keenly aware of the appearance of his children and grandchildren, though to his credit, he has developed over the years a sincere interest in our health.
In my late teens, the manifestation of our warped body perceptions became evident when my cousin and I experimented with starvation and laxatives, habits we had learned from our mothers and grandmother. I distinctly recall a summer where we lived solely on microwave popcorn and diet cherry Kool-Aid and walked or biked everywhere. We were terrified of gaining weight and driven to melt existing pounds. Ugh, can you imagine? We were insane!
My real weight issues, however, started when I had my first child at 21. Following her birth, depression, whackadoo hormones and a lifetime of terrible habits overwhelmed me like an unstoppable avalanche, and for the next few years I wrestled with my weight, losing and gaining in classic yo‑yo fashion by relying on my old standbys like purging or starving. Twenty years and another child later my weight situation has not improved, despite the fact that I’ve long abandoned such dangerous habits.
The good news is that I’m much more knowledgeable now. I’ve spent the past 15 years reading and researching and experimenting. I’ve tried just about everything. I know which foods work for my body and which to avoid, and I know what exercises pack the most punch to my metabolism. My biggest challenge is mental. My fight lies in throwing away the shame and not being afraid of the future; in having the courage to put myself out there (pictures included!) and not worry about the negative feedback; and in overcoming the occasional inevitable moments of discouragement in order to maintain motivation.
And so here it is: My official weight loss journey. It starts today.
My next post will include photos and stats, as well as detailed goal information and details regarding my plans for getting healthy. I really do encourage everyone to look in and let me know your thoughts.
Have a great Monday!