To say I've not always been the healthiest person is an understatement. My story, I'm sure, is very similar to many women who have dealt with obesity and food addiction, which is why I wanted to share it with you today. I was an incredibly healthy child. I was always thin and active and my mother made sure that I didn't eat many processed foods or sugars. My problem didn't start until puberty. As my body was changing, I was also trying to deal with the fact that for a very long time I had been physically and emotionally molested by someone close to me. Like many young girls who deal with this horrible intrusion on our person, I looked for comfort somewhere, anywhere, and I found it in food. When I was fifteen I stepped on the scale at my aunts and it read 155. Those are the last numbers I saw for a very long time because I REFUSED to step back on that treacherous scale.
I spent the early part of my twenties right below 200 pounds, but my comfort had shifted. I fell directly into the wrong crowd who introduced me to alcohol, drugs, and whatever else I could find to numb the way I felt about myself. You see I felt like men treated me the way they did because I was obviously a bad person. And because I was obviously a bad person, I deserved the punishment. So, here I was, living in Los Angeles, Hollywood, the place where people come to make their dreams come true....and I was drowning. I was absolutely suffocating in how disgusting and unworthy I was of even companionship from another human being. By twenty-seven I had made it back home to Tennessee, where I knew I at least had my family to fall back on. What I didn't expect was to find those SAME people who lead me down the dark road of substance abuse in the first place.
Now, over 200 pounds, I was eating whatever I wanted, mostly sweets, and drinking so heavily that I spent several nights a week blacked out. It wasn't until a close friend lost his life to an overdose that I started talking about my feelings. It didn't stop my actions of course, but I had started the process of seeking help. In the next few years I would meet my husband, and with his help I would break my substance abuse cycle. Here I was, twenty-nine years old, with this wonderful man who would do anything for me, and I still felt worthless. This time my self worth was based on the fact that I didn't seem to be able to give him a child. The one thing that we as women are supposed to be expertly skilled at, I was failing miserably.
It took a while, but finally, I sat in the doctors office and she confirmed we were pregnant! I weighed in at a whopping 222 pounds that day. I was so happy! But, there was this part of me that was terrified because women that weight 222 pounds should not go through a pregnancy. I knew the risks, I had read every book there was on creating the best conditions for your baby, and my body was DEFINITELY not it. My pregnancy was high risk, but surprisingly uneventful. It wasn't until labor that I was reminded how out of shape I was and how different things would have been if I was in better condition. I labored for over a day and half before they took my son via cesarean section. I just got too tired. I was so out of shape that I didn't have the energy to birth my son. This did not help my self esteem on bit.
The first six months of motherhood were pure bliss for me. I was absolutely on cloud nine. No one ever told me that postpartum depression can happen ANY time after you've delivered. My son was almost a year old when I started to feel the walls close in. I was suddenly fourteen years old again with someone telling me how ugly and worthless and how much of a failure I was. I convinced myself that I was going to fail at the most important thing in my life, being this little boys mom. So, I went to what I knew, I grabbed my sweets, and my sodas and I pulled up a chair. And that's where I spent the next three years of my life, eating and packing on weight. I remember going to the doctor for a sinus infection and stepping on the scale. The peppy little nurse spouted out 276 pounds like it was just another number.
Two. Seventy. Six. I told myself, animals weigh three hundred pounds, humans don't weigh three hundred pounds. I still did nothing. We went home, I grabbed a soda and we went outside to 'play'. Now playing for my son was kicking around a soccer ball while mommy sat in a chair and watched, half heartedly cheering him on. So, I was sitting in my plastic lawn chair and leaned down to pick up my soda and SNAP.......the chair broke. I broke a piece of furniture. I was mortified. I was absolutely humiliated in front of my little boy. That was it. The look of worry on his face as he tried to help me up, all three years of him and his scrawny arms and legs tried to help pull me up off of the ground.
That was the last day that I weighed 276 pounds. I started educating myself on the very best ways to lose weight. I started a juice cleanse the next day which I stuck to for almost a month. I remember that first month I lost over twenty pounds! I was FLOORED! I went on to a low calorie elimination style diet to help me see which foods were inflammatory or that I was super sensitive to. That's when I dropped 100 pounds. In eight months I was able to get off all of the weight. I'll tell you how.
You know when you're driving and you're so focused on the road, you drown out everything around you, all you see is the road. I held my son in my heart, keeping HIM in front of me. He was my focus. Whatever I needed to do to be the very best mother for him, that's what I was going to do. I still can't believe that I did it, and it's been three years now. I was down to 160 pounds, wearing a size I had never actually seen before, and most importantly, I was playing soccer with my son....EVERY SINGLE DAY!
In my journey to health I fell in love with so many types of exercise. I built a beautiful lean body through body building, I gained stamina and agility through functional fitness, and I found my warriors strength through powerlifting.
This process can be so very beautiful and so very healing. It can also be so terrifying that you may question everything you're doing. My biggest piece of advice is to find your WHY and hold it in your heart so tightly that no one can snatch it away. Today I am proud of myself. Today I have so much self worth. Today I am winning. I have successfully BROKEN THE CYCLE.