At age 23, I had my son. Ten months later, I wore a size 2 dress to a Christmas party. At 25, I had my daughter. Ten months later, I still had 20 extra pounds on my 5 ft. frame, and decided to go on my first diet. That was it. There was no turning back.
I did the Great North American Slim Down, Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, South Beach, Atkins, etc. I also exercised. A lot! I was a Tae Bo master! I did step aerobics, that skating slide thing where you put the little slippers over your shoes, and miscellaneous DVDs. I also used the Nordic Flex machine religiously…. you get the picture.
This insane process of eating small meals throughout the day, eating food I didn’t like, depriving myself of the ones I did, counting and tracking, eating only packaged meals, cutting out whole food groups, and constantly weighing myself, turned me into a miserable, crazy person. I analyzed and agonized over everything I put in my mouth. I would diet, fail, binge on all the forbidden foods, hate myself, start again on Monday, and repeat.
Because of my husband's job, occasionally an opportunity would come up for us to travel. At first, I would be excited. Then I would think about it and become depressed. My clothes are too tight, we’ll be going out to eat every night, we’ll be at cocktail parties, how am I going to wear a bathing suit? And on and on. “Normal people” would be happy about a trip. I usually dreaded it.
I used to have a collection of clothes specifically for vacations that were roomier than my day to day clothes, and that strategically hid my belly. I didn’t even like most of them, but the criteria when shopping was hiding my fat, not being something that made me happy.
Looking back on it, you would think I’d snap out of it and just do something different because this clearly wasn’t working for me. Sure, I lost 5 pounds here and there but I always found it, along with a few more. Instead, it became my normal. This was my way of life for about 20 years!
I wish I could tell you what my turning point was. I didn’t have any health scare or rock bottom depression. I just got tired of being so obsessed and anxious about food. Mostly, I got tired of lying to myself about “starting Monday...”, and “I’m going to lose 10 lbs by —whatever event was coming up next."
I started learning about nutrition and got hooked on the science of it. I find it fascinating what goes on inside our bodies when we digest a meal, when we are stressed, and when we don't get enough sleep. Not only is it fascinating, it also helps to make sense of weight loss. Once you know how things work, I think it's easier to make healthy decisions about the food you eat, or don’t eat.
Nothing would make me happier than to get others out of the grips of the diet cycle once and for all, or prevent it from happening in the first place!