This has been the biggest thing I've wanted to write about lately and everytime I feel like I want to start I get overwhelmed with all my thoughts. I want it to "come out right".
My Body & My Food Struggles
Before I start I have to say. This topic can often have many opinions. I of course am not a expert on any of this but it's just my experience or what I've learned recently. I'm a big fan of everyone doing whatever works for them. If your body & food journey is different than mine, that's ok. This is me.
This topic I feel like I have always struggled with but I am working on breaking myself free from these worries about my body and food. It has consumed way too much of my life. I just want to put God first and with His help and diving into His word, I know I can trust and be at peace that "every little thing is gonna be alright". He is with me always.
This will be long.
I've always been a girl in a bigger body. One thing that has always stuck out to me is my Grandpa used to always say...Hey, Big Girl! I always felt like since I was bigger that that was not a good thing. I was always shy and never had a lot of confidence or high self esteem. During my school years I don't really ever remember being bullied necessarily but with my twin being my best friend I didn't really have many friends. She was always smaller than me though so I think I always compared myself and thought she was favored because she was smaller.
I hate to use numbers but for a long time numbers have controlled my thoughts so I'm going to use them for this blog but by the end you'll see why I will no longer use numbers to define me.
When I was a freshman in high school I can remember going to the drs and was told I weighed 199. That stuck out to me for some reason and I remember thinking WOW! That's too much for a 9th grader. I also remember my sister was 150 so again compared. I don't really remember much before this age as far as my weight etc but during that summer I used to ride my bike back and forth to our neighbor's homes all day long. I felt like all I ate was butter noodles and bread. I lost some weight and thought, if I just don't eat anything and ride my bike all the time I'll become really skinny.
Now growing up I didn't really know a whole lot about nutrition necessarily, I just ate what my parents bought at the store and what my mom would make. My Dad only eats certain foods so my Mom only cooked what he would like. Occasionally she would make separate things if my Dad wanted something different. Pretty sure that is why to this day I do not cook because my Mom did it all.
I don't remember having a lot of thoughts about my body and food except I just considered myself fat and never really liked it. I would go to dr appointments and weight was always brought up. One time I even went for a cold and the dr said it was probably due to my weight.
Fast forward to 2008. By this time I had Abby in 2006 and Jasmine in 2007. I had my 1 year check up after having Jasmine. I got to my OBGYN appointment and my weight was 302.4lbs. I cried my entire appointment because I never expected to see that number but also all my doctor talked about was how I needed to loose weight. He said I should be 165lbs and he recommended medical weight loss or weight watchers. I checked into medical weight loss but that was expensive so I started weight watchers. I think I lost around 75 lbs during weight watchers but always stopped and started again so I don't remember how long that took me. I can remember though always thinking that all that mattered was the number on the scale. If I went over my points I was bad. If I gained weight that week it was because I ate too much pizza that week. I can remember it made food good or bad therefore depending on what I ate...I was good or bad.
I remember trying to restrict food groups. I can remember not eating anything on Monday weigh in days in hopes I would at least be less on the scale so that I'd be praised for being less instead of having to say well it must've been that pizza or not going to weigh in at all unless I was for sure I had lost weight. After restricting food all day I'd come home and have a huge plate of spaghetti but "it would be under my points" and then I'd feel like crap because I ate too much, too late.
So with all that up and down and losing and gaining again I thought that I was the problem. That I can not eat right. I can not exercise right. So I was a failure. Josh and I then decided maybe we should do medical weight loss because if weight watchers and other diets don't work then maybe with medical help - it'll do the trick. We started in 2012, paid a boat load of money and wasted it all because we ended up having to put it on hold because I found out I was pregnant with Josie. At the start of medical weight loss, I lost 20lbs Josh lost 40lbs but looking back the whole thing just really infuriates me. We literally got a sheet of paper that explained what we should eat. We would go home and do our best to eat exactly as the papers said. Felt horrible but if went to weigh in and we had lost weight we got to ring a bell. So every week we would drive 40 mins to ring a bell. We got zero guidance. Zero help. Zero support. Just... oh your number is down so ring the bell. The number was all that mattered.
So still thinking that I'm not good enough because I'm still too big Josh and I decided to pursue weight loss surgery. He had gastric sleeve surgery in 2014. I had gastric sleeve surgery in 2015.
I was 230 on the date of my surgery Oct 1st 2015.
I can remember thinking it was the only way I would ever be able to loose weight.
During my 6 months before surgery stuff I had to make sure I didn't loose any more weight otherwise I would not have qualified for surgery.
Not once in my entire life has any doctor recommended counseling or mental health care. During my surgery process there was absolutely zero "help" either. It was always about what the scale said. Can you see why numbers have always consumed me?
So one year after surgery on my birthday November 11th 2016 I went for a 11 mile run. I got home, stepped on the scale and was 135.2lbs. I felt so weak, so lightheaded, felt awful, took a hot bath...but I was on top of the world because I had just hit a weight I never thought I'd make. I would workout up to 2 hours a day with maybe 1 rest day. I hardly ate anything. But all that mattered was that stupid number. Then at a follow up appointment I was so scared to step on the scale because I knew for the first time since surgery I gained weight. I was 147. The dr came in and said "Shazam...you're perfect!" All your numbers and tests are good. I said but I gained weight. He said well most surgery patients get to a low weight and then there body goes up because it moves to where it is more comfortable. So I left feeling great thinking, ok phew...then I did not fail. I hadn't changed anything I was doing when I went from 135 to 147. I ate the same, worked out the same (which was always not enough food).
So again through this whole process, no mental help, no nutrition help...just oh good you ate less than 1,000 calories that you recorded on myfitness pal and your numbers are fine so go home now. Even though deep down I always felt like their was a missing piece. I may have been at a lower weight but I never felt satisfied. I always felt like if my food tracker was off, I was bad. If I didn't workout for the day I was bad. I always worked out though except some weeks took 1 day off.
Ahhhh!!! Literally this all was really driving me crazy. Tracking every morsel of food and feeling extremely guilty if I was over on any of my macros. Over exercising and feeling guilty if I didn't move.
Now I don't regret surgery at all. It's just not what I needed. I will now not recommend it to anyone.
I often feel like If I would not have had surgery maybe I wouldn't be "here" but I can't reverse it to know.
Now obviously there have been many many blessings and amazing things that have happened since surgery but I'm still working on lots of things.
In August of 2017 I finally had enough of my scale. I could not take one more day checking the number. So I shot my scale. Literally in one shot. In Oct of 2017 I went to a dr appointment, did not want to be weighed and ended up having them tell me I was 154. Again left feeling like a failure. I do remember leaving seeing a sign that said Now I can...and thought ...well now I can do so much more being down 150lbs but when I got home I went live in a Facebook group to share how my appointment went. I cried and said there still feels like there is a missing piece to my journey .
I now know the missing piece is my mental health. My mind is what needs help the most. I have started reading about Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size. I have finally learned that diets do NOT work. Diets have been my problem. My weight going up and down is because of diets. I am not a failure. I did not fail diets. Diets failed me. You could not pay me at this point to try another diet.
During 2016 and 2017 I became so obsessed with workout programs and every single one of them had a different nutrition program...I mean seriously...How many flippen diets are out there, why are there so many, and why do we think the next one will finally be the one? and when are we all going to finally realize that diets don't work. That food is not good or bad. That I am not good or bad based on what I eat. Food is just food. Now of course if someone Is allergic to food then they shouldn't eat it. If you don't like cauliflower don't eat it. If you don't like donuts, dont eat them. But if you. like pizza eat the flippen pizza. You're not bad because you ate pizza. Why can't we just love ourselves the way we are. The way God made us.
Also I understand there are different nutrition benefits if you eat an apple as opposed to eating a candy apple jolly rancher and if you just ate pizza all day long you are probably not going to feel good.
So while I am now anti-diet... that does not mean I am anti-health.
I still want to move in ways that make me happy. I want to eat the foods that make me feel the best.
I am free from the scale. I want to be free from food tracking. Now I also want to get rid of my fitness trackers.
At this point I am not sure if I will run a race this year. Part of me thinks it may be best for me to take a break. I have literally felt way too stressed about all this that I feel I really need to focus on my mental health. Adding another race would probably just add extra stress thinking I HAVE to do it instead of just doing it because I enjoy it.
I'm crazy right?
Maybe partly...I also feel like I never want to go to the dr.
I do not want my weight brought up. I know as of today I am probably the heaviest I have been since surgery even though I don't know the number. I often wake up, look in the mirror and already feel defeated for the day because I must not be doing something right if I can't keep my weight to 135.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
I've looked into counseling but our insurance hasn't been too helpful. I kind of feel stuck. I know I am starting to feel better and becoming more comfortable in my body though.
I am going to keep working on loving me just the way I am each day. I want to read God's word and remind myself I am his and He loves me no matter what I look like.
Josh loves me no matter what I look like. My girls love me. That is another hard part in this. I do not want my girls to have any of my issues!!!
Maybe you've never struggled with food
Maybe you've never struggled with body image
I have never been diagnosed with an eating disorder or depression or anxiety but I would imagine I may have all 3. Or maybe disordered eating not an official eating disorder. I have had to remove myself from fitness groups, diet groups, surgery groups, I am not paying for workout programs or nutrition programs. I don't want to focus on before and after anymore. It will be what I am each day.
If you made it this far...I highly recommend reading Intuitive Eating and Health at Every Size. If you want to be a health coach... be a IE and HAES coach! I've even thought...maybe someday if I learn it all well enough maybe I could become an IE and HAES coach. I'd love to help people learn how to love themselves...sounds a bit crazy right...since I need to love myself...but it has been a thought.
So many people have been huge encouragement on my journey, have followed my journey, have supported me during my journey. I've also lost people on my journey including recently my first ever friend best friend. Which hurts a lot. I have to continue to pray.
I will add more and more about this but my thoughts are finally running out for now. My fingers are going numb.
I want to be free. If I want a salad I'll eat a salad. If I want pizza I'll eat pizza. If I want to run 11 miles or walk 1 mile. Etc... just doing what I want to do and not feel guilt or feel ashamed.
I have so much to be thankful for and am blessed beyond measure. I need to get all this off my mind and just live life each day and choose to be happy. My size does not matter.
God is so Great. He has given me new friends and a new Church family. He opens doors when other close. Now I just pray I don't loose them too while I'm still working on all my struggles.
So much I feel like I forgot to say but for now
Much Love ♡♡♡