My body and I have had a love/hate relationship my entire life. As a little girl I was super-skinny. This was mostly because I was so, so active. I was up with the sun (or before – if you ask my Mom), running around the yard, climbing trees, and exploring. I participated in all sorts of sports from softball to gymnastics to my absolute favorite – horseback riding. I remember when we moved to our house in the country how ecstatic I was to have 10 acres to run around on and horses in my own backyard.
I was home-schooled and an intelligent and efficient child, so I would get my lessons done (sometimes more than one day’s worth) in just a few hours. The rest of the day and into the evening – when the sun began to droop and twilight set in – I was a fireball. My brother, Dad and I started building a tree-house, which ended up being something more like a big platform in the trees. I would visit that throughout the day and climb the neighboring trees to the very tippy-top, as far as I could go. I would run through the woods to our back pasture, then through our second set of woods and sometimes gingerly slide between the strands of barbed-wire fence into the neighbor’s fields.
Sometimes I was alone. Sometimes my brother or sister were with me. More often than not it was just me and our family black lab. The horses would sometimes engage with me curiously, but most of the time they ignored me like I was nothing more than one of the gnats flying around their ears. I can’t even tell you now what I did with all of that time outside. I know I picked wild blackberries, visited with our neighbors’ horses and dogs, and spent hours daydreaming or singing.
I also did acrobatics on our swing set. We had one of those metal A-frame types that had different attachments, very similar to the one in the picture. I used to hang upside down from the monkey-bar-type swing and walk along the top of the swing set like it was a balance beam. I did the same thing with our acres of fence. I had excellent balance and loved the challenge.
As an adolescent and teenager I stayed active, yet I slowly gained weight. In high school I participated in a showchoir where we danced every single day, sometimes for an hour or more. My body issues really kicked in around that time. I was fairly insecure all through school because of the incessant bullying that I had to endure – for being the “new kid,” getting all A’s, having big glasses and braces, and being a geeky, awkward introvert. Showchoir was my element, though. I had one of the best voices, I was the dance captain, and it was a very diverse, accepting group of kids. We had cheerleaders, the valedictorian, a few skaters, drama kids, a punk/goth girl, several of the popular, pretty girls – no kid in a wheelchair, though. We were also more like the “Vocal Adrenaline” group on Glee than the misfit, ragtag group. We won all sorts of competitions all across the country and were invited to an international choral experience in London.
Despite having a place to “belong” and being constantly activity, I felt fat. My years as a catcher on my All-Stars softball team combined with years of horseback riding, dancing, and gymnastics left me with huge thighs. They were also very powerful, but all my teenage eyes could see was their girth – muscle or fat didn’t really matter that much. I remember being mortified of my junior size 7 jeans. Now I would do almost anything to get back in them. Back then I would stand with my arms crossed around my stomach, as if to camouflage what I thought of as a huge flaw. I also was a slow grower in the “top” department, which made me feel inadequate and not pretty. I’m now a D-cup, and wish they were smaller.
In my senior year I was dealing with a lot of drama. Some of it was typical teenage-angst stuff, but mine also went beyond that. I got it worse than most (though not as bad as some) because I was in a lesbian relationship in a small, conservative, ultra-religious town. I lost my best friend after she ratted me out to my parents (who were so super-strict I couldn’t listen to anything but Christian music). I was tortured at school, although I still was able to maintain at least a small level of plausible deniability since I was seen making out with a boy on our London chorus trip. The concept of bisexuality was almost unheard of and certainly misunderstood in my town, which I was able to use somewhat to my advantage.
During that time my weight plummeted, in large part due to depression. I was a size two and weighed barely over 100 pounds at that point. I am 5’7″. While that might sound like a reasonable (or even ideal) size to some, it was very unhealthy on me. I was gaunt and sickly looking, and my clothes hung off of me in a very unattractive way. My showchoir dress was taken in several sizes, which I thought was wonderful.
After graduation my weight swung in the other direction. I was still depressed, but food was becoming more and more of a comfort. I was also stuck at home in my parent’s house where I was miserable. Although I had graduated high school already, I skipped 4th grade and was under 18. My Dad was adamant that I had to live with them and under their rules until that time. I was all but chained to my house – only allowed out to drive my brother and sister to school, attend church, and go to my job – where my parents were friends with the owner and knew my schedule. By the time I turned 18 I probably weighed somewhere around 165. Again, now I would love to go back there.
I moved out the day I turned 18… Yep, the very day. I left in the morning with a bunch of my stuff and didn’t come back until a few days later to get the rest. Looking back now I know that I broke my Mom’s heart. I wish I hadn’t, but at that point my Dad was making my life so miserable that I couldn’t stand to be around him for one minute longer than necessary. Not too long after (maybe 2 months or so), I left on an amazing trip through Europe. I visited 13 countries, and enjoyed the food in them all!
By the time I was in my 20s I was easily a size 18. I started having to shop at Lane Bryant. My weight was right up around 200. I wasn’t happy with myself, but nothing I did seemed to work long-term. I went on tons of diets and yo-yo’ed all over the place. I would lose 20 pounds, then gain 10 or 15 back. I tried pills, Weight Watchers, supplements, and just about every new “fad” diet that came out. Nothing really stuck until my 7-year relationship crumbled. Again, I spiralled into depression, and again it helped me lose weight. I was down to a size 8-10 in just a few short months.
Fast forward a bit – I met my now-husband, settled into a comfortable relationship, and his Southern cooking quickly added on the pounds. When we got engaged I managed to lose weight through the South Beach Diet (which my Mom uses very successfully) and Weight Watchers. I was somewhere around 170-175 on my wedding day. Then DDay happened.
Depression – again. Only this time it was back to the food-as-comfort kind. As much as Mr. Mess has always said that he loves my body and finds me very attractive, I couldn’t find it within myself to believe him. His pornography and sex addiction coupled with his previous affair left me feeling worthless as a woman. As a test showed in my post How Does His Sex Addiction Affect Me, my past experiences and his sex addiction still make me feel inferior and insecure.
Even after things got more stable at home the weight didn’t drop off. My husband started culinary school and practiced all of his French, creme-based sauces and recipes at home. He enjoys cooking for me and showing his love through acts of service (which is great since this is my secondary love language). I also LOVE food, especially great food. I was more than happy to drown my sorrows and accept his love offerings of creamy, buttery, fatty, smothered in cheese and deep fried creations. The problem? That just reinforced my self-esteem and body issues. I can see now that I also allowed my need for control in other areas of my life (areas that I really have NO control over) to serve as a distraction and even excuse for my weight issues.
Not anymore. I am taking control of my weight. I am tackling my body issues – by becoming healthier and affirming myself every day. I started a new diet two days ago. This time it is with the help of a nutritionist and program. I am going to learn more about my body, what works well, and how to eat right without sacrificing everything all of the time.
For now, though, I am in the hard part. I have started a shake and juice cleanse using Isagenix products. It has been brutal. Yesterday and the day before I got one “real” meal, two barely tolerable shakes, and a few snacks. The first day a Granny Smith Apple like the one above tasted like the most amazing thing I had ever put in my mouth and was the highlight of my day. Today and tomorrow I am on a juice-only cleanse. As of this morning I have already lost almost 7 pounds (6.9 to be exact).
I will be following that 11-day cleanse with a 40-day HCG diet program. I am not getting my HCG online or through a company I know nothing about. Instead, I will have a local support person who I will be working with twice per week to get any questions that I may have answered. She is affiliated with a good doctor. My husband and I have already looked up a lot of really tasty-sounding, low-calorie meals. He will now be testing his ability to plan nutritious and appetizing meals that keep us foodies satisfied.
It will be hard. But it should be rewarding. They are guaranteeing that I will lose 20 pounds, and probably more like 30. We shall see. Either way, I’m taking the reigns of my weight. I’m vowing to love my body and take care of myself. I am getting healthy so that I can feel good – inside and out. Already it’s been a step in the right direction.