Updated: Sep 8, 2021
In August of 2002 I weighed 365 pounds. This was not long after giving birth to my youngest son in February that year & then living through a total loss house fire in June. It had been another marathon year for stress for me & food had become a dear friend..
My knees buckled under the weight of my body in July & I fell down the front porch stairs of our rental house. As I laid at the bottom of that stairs, in horrible pain, all I could think about was what if I had been carrying my baby? I realized that fall would have killed him. I was scared, ashamed, & emotionally broken, I felt helpless. I spent the next several days recovering from the bumps & brusises of that fall. Thoughts of what I needed to do & how many times I had failed before kept spinning in my head. But I had to come to terms with what I should do next, the decisionwas no longer just about me.
I have struggled with my weight my whole life. I struggled with my relationship with food. I struggled with how I experience my own emotions. I had become a professional dieter by that point in my life. I had done restrictive diets, Atkins, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Med-Fast, tried to change my eating habits, exercise routines & failed everytime. That told me whatever I decided to do next was going to have to be drastic & permanent.
I elected to have a full Gastric Bypass, the mother of all permanent weight loss procedures. This was actually the second time I had considered to take this step, this time I was ready. From a weight loss point of view the procedure was pretty successful. On 8/01/2002 I was 365 pounds by 10/15/2002 when I went under the knife I had lost 20 pounds. This small loss showed the surgeons I was ready to commit to the necessary changes. I fought everyday to stick to what was required to be healthy challenged by the emotional strife of raising 3 young boys while rebuilding our family home. Then Six months post surgical I stepped on the scale to see I was 168 pounds. Almost 200 pounds gone in just 8 months.
I was required to adjusted my eating habits in order to avoid the adverse reactions created by the surgery. Smaller meals, reduced white foods, no breads, no refined sugars, no soda, no drinking & lots of chewing. I made these changes solely in fear of how my body would react & the reactions were violent. However, my relationship with food never improved & how my emotions continues to played into it.
At the end of April 2003 I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I was told repeatedly because of my recent surgery I needed to have an abortion. My OBGYN finally assured me that if my last baby walked out at 10 pounds this baby could stand to come out a bit smaller & she'd be just fine.
After delivering her I was able to maintain my weight at 180 pounds for 10 years. It was then my husband unexpectedly passed away. From that point the scale gradually began to climb. Over the next 6 years my weight climbed to 242 pounds. Caring for 4 kids who had just lost their father, who each required additional specialized attention, managing finances now that the bread winner was gone, needing to move from the family home, the demands of my immediate family, the demands of a growing recreational soccer club, extreme loss of sleep & my own grief I stared down alone. Food & sugary drinks became my friend.
Best foot forward always is how I tried to live to help ensure the wellbeing of my kids. However, I was making poor health choices as I continued to find ways around the side effects of my surgery. I had learned how to work around the side effects that had once helped keep my weight under control. I was doing pretty well keeping myself together given all our challenges but I still hadn't learned how to handle my emotions without the support of a fork.
In July of 2018 my kids had to give depositions in the matter of their father's passing. I had to sit through over 10 hours my 4 kids explaining to strangers, to the 'enemy' what the loss of their father had done to them. This was the final blow to my house of cards and duct tape. I slid down hill fast & so did many of my choices, especially when it came to food...
After a couple of weeks of binging I realized I was slowing killing myself & it had to stop. My kids were at a point where I could turn my focus a bit from them so I could work on me. I was just starting to get my bearings again & in doing so I started eating correctly for my body again, started exercising again, started working on all the emotions & experiences I had tied to food & how eating that food made me feel. I used a 4 month jump start program & was able for the 1st time in 6 years to get my weight below 200 pounds.
I begin this year with a new approach, a new outlook, a new goal. I plan to run my day to day life like I would approach running a business. Schedule & plan for what I can, embrace the possibilities, & focus on total personal well-being not just the physical. If I work to improve life on all fronts this helps to reduce some of the triggers for me to turn to food allowing me more time to learn to manage my emotions without going to food. Learning to create better habits for overall well-being.
I have 4 amazing kids who already lost their dad. I owe it to them, & my grandbuggie, as much as I owe it to myself to address this life long battle with food & doing what is best for me. I need to do my part to ensure I am around for a long g time to come. I need to remember this is not a diet, this a complete lifestyle change that will help release my binds me to food. I will have better control of the changes & events in my life helping me move from "living to eat" to the healthier mindset of "eating to live."