I wasn't a fat kid. I thought I was a fat teen, but I wasn't. I was, however, a fat twenty-something. I started eating my way through my feelings in 1995. I continued eating (and vomiting) for the next 10 years. I was crippled with insecurity and addicted to food. That's a dangerous combination. By 2000, I had put on 60 pounds, putting me just over the 200 mark. I was unhealthy, unhappy and unloved. Or so I thought.
I tried losing weight. I did, in fact, lose 40 pounds that year. But it was hurried and desperate weight loss. I was still sick inside. I was still fat inside. I still loathed exercise. It was a means to an end. I had to do it to not be fat. But I hated every minute. I fought myself every singe step. And then I would give up. It was easier to just be fat.
Over the next six years I put on all that weight again. By the time I got pregnant with Maya I was 199 again. By the time I was admitted for delivery, I weight 237 pounds!! And, let me tell you, a body is not meant to carry that much extra weight. My knees and hips were damaged. I suffered crippling pain in my hips during and after the pregnancy. My pelvic floor was a mess because of the hip problems. I ended up in a pain clinic treating the chronic, acute pain with injections. I had done that to myself.
A few years before I had gone to a special therapist who deals with eating disorders and that did set me on the road to recovery. Marco even got dragged in, which helped us both. But healing takes a long time. I had a friend ask me once, "Well, if I go in to therapy, how long will it take to get better?" Um, maybe six years, maybe more. I'm not the poster child for the quick fix. Nothing I've ever done quickly has ever been very worthwhile. It takes me a long time, with small changes to really make a difference.
I knew then, as I know now, that, above all, my health had to be the reason for losing weight. I just didn't know how. But then I watched my Grandmother grow sick and die. And my mom got sick. And I became a mother. And then I turned 30. And suddenly, my life mattered in a whole new way. I realized that I only have a short time on this blessed earth. And, if I want to actually enjoy it, I better get off my ass and start moving. I didn't want to be like my Grandmother, weak from years of sitting, unable to recover. And the only way I can not be an weak old lady is by being a strong young woman.
My diet changed, gradually. I began to get back to actually listening to my body and knowing when I was satisfied. I grew uncomfortable eating too much. We began eating mostly organic, mostly happy, cage-free animals. We started eating less meat. I really started to notice a difference in my day based on what I ate. I'm still working on that. My diet leveled out to a mostly healthy, balanced diet. I eat less sugar and don't drink as much. But I'm not so strict as to cause myself any kind of panic from that feeling of deprivation. I can't have any hard and fast, strict rules. If I want chocolate, I eat it. I just don't eat a ton of it. I do sometimes drink too much, and I'm still sorting that out. I do like my beer. But, the point is, I wasn't gaining weight any more. In fact, the baby weight came off pretty quickly.
And that brings me to 2010. That is when I decided that enough was enough. I decided to lose the weight, for good and make exercise a regular part of my life. Marco and I used our Wii and did workouts together after we got everybody to sleep. It was tough, at first. When you have three under three, all you want to do is sit down at the end of the day. But I knew I couldn't succumb to the old way of thinking. I knew I had to be healthy. The weight loss continued while I worked in the restaurant. I biked through the summer and sweat off a little more. I was trying to hold myself accountable without being really hard on my internal well-being. That is the most difficult thing for me. By the end of the year, I had lost 30 pounds and had (mostly) made exercise a regular part of my life.
My goal for 2011 is 20 pounds. I knew I needed to up the ante. So, when my friend asked if I wanted to join her in the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, I said yes, right away. And then I started to panic. I'm actually going to have to walk 39 miles in 2 days!!! I'm actually going to walk an average of 26 miles each week for the next 16 weeks?!! And it's cold and dark, and I thought I couldn't afford a gym membership. And when am I going to do all this walking??
Now, I'm not one who is really moved by statistics. But I have fallen in love with my body over the past year. I feel good moving. I feel sexier in my thinner, healthier body. The idea of not being healthy enough to chase my kids and hike with them when they're older is terrible. The idea of being stuck in a chair like my Grandma is stifling. And the idea of losing one or both of my breasts truly makes me terrified. But, most of all, the idea of dying and not getting to see my kids grow up, brings tears to my eyes. So, I'd like to do everything I possibly can to prevent those things from happening. And that's why I'm walking. That's why I am getting up dark and early to go do my miles. That is why I'm raising money for the Avon Foundation, so other women can be just as healthy and see their kids grow up and run with them. The universe seemed to honor my initiative by pointing me to a local gym that only costs $9.99 a month with no contracts.
On April 30 and May 1, I am going to walk 39 miles. I'm raising at least $1800 for the Avon Foundation. And that money goes toward research and assisting women who have no insurance. And I'm walking for me, because, after all these years, I actually love myself and realize that a lot of other people love me and want to keep me around as long as possible. Thank you, Theresa, for asking me to join your team. This has come along at the perfect time.