Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A personal look into my struggles with eating and how I found my way out (VErY LonG)

I was hesitant to write this because it is personal and not something I share with everyone... until now!

First off I have recently lost 80 lbs. Wait, let me say that again.... I have lost 80 lbs!!!!!
No, this is not a post pushing any products or pills or anything.

Next, a little history. At a young age I started binge eating. I remember when I was about 10 or so I came across my parents stash of candy bars and ate all of them in one sitting. There must have been about 8 - 10 of them. There were plenty of other times, but that one sticks out. As I grew into my late teens I got caught up in the drug world and was very skinny with no effort. Luckily I got out of that world and straightened out my life. With this change also came about a 45 lb weight gain. It was the first time I was actually overweight. I always thought I was as a teenager, but I know now that I wasn't. But this was the first time my weight went up significantly. I used the Atkins diet and lost a lot of the weight, and then used Body for Life (which I love and totally recommend) to cut down to a very fit physique. I maintained this for many years, but would frequently return to my bingeing habits. However, this time I would follow it with purging. My bulimia became worse and worse over these years. I worked out religiously. I was a ballroom dancer too and so I was always keeping myself strong and in shape. The bulimia took a great emotional toll on me. I was ashamed and didn't like myself. I felt duplicitous in how I was living. When you live that way I don't think you can be truly happy. You can fake it, and others can believe it, but you never truly fool yourself for long.
I found my better half during this period and we were married. I moved to a new state and tried to start a company with my family. I became pregnant shortly thereafter. The business did not do well and that was stressful and difficult... especially because it was family. I also gained 60 lbs during the pregnancy.
After I gave birth to my darling little boy I waited about a year before I got my act together and lost weight. I did it this time by sensible well-balanced eating and doing workout videos with my girlfriend. (Turbo Jam) I lost most of the weight (all but 20 lbs).
I had several ups and downs during this time and 1.5 years later I was pregnant again with my second darling. This time I gained 70 lbs!!! However, I was motivated and joined Weight Watchers right after I gave birth. I lost all but 7 lbs in about 5 months. I only maintained this for about 3 months before the weight started creeping back on. When I say creeping... I guess I mean rushing. I gained almost all my weight back within 8 months. Another year after that I was another 20 lbs heavier. And another year after that another 20 lbs.

I constantly tried new diets, but I wouldn't stick with them for more than a couple weeks.
I should mention that a year after my first baby was born I was in a car accident that left me with severe back problems / pain. I couldn't turn back to my habits of bingeing and purging because that would be way too painful and upset my back even more. So.... I just binged...and binged....and binged...and then binged some more.

At one point during all this awfulness I stumbled upon the Overeaters Anonymous (OA). I knew something was wrong in my brain. I of course tried to blame it on a thyroid problem, or other unknown disease that made me gain weight... but the bottom line was that I ate way too much and moved way too little. I wasn't able to exercise because of my back... although I regularly tried and aggravated things each time.
Back to OA - I went to a couple meetings and didn't feel I was getting anything from it, although that was probably my unwillingness / un-readyness.
Then, through my church (I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) I found out they had an open 12 step program. Any addiction could come to these meetings. I attended and felt like I had found my home for recovery. I attended meetings for a year and a half and wasn't having any success with real weight loss or emotional / spiritual recovery.

Meanwhile in the back cave... ok dumb joke :)
So, my back was continually getting worse and I finally agreed to have my misbehaving discs fused. I had an incredible surgeon and wonderful results from the surgery (for anyone wondering it was a fusion of the L4/L5 and L5/S1 vertebrae). I was diligent in following doctors orders to walk daily and follow physical therapy guidelines. During this time I was also healing spiritually. It felt good and I felt prompted to get back to my 12 step meetings. I also prayed for guidance to figure out how I should eat (there are so many diets out there and they almost all contradict each other and it's very overwhelming and confusing!). He led me to altering my eating to avoid a lot of carbs. (More on that later)
So, in September I started this and as of today I have not eaten any sugar since then (10 months).
I've lost 80 lbs, like I said. I'd like to lose about 5 more, but am very happy with how I look. I've been maintaining for almost 4 months now.

Man, I am long winded!

Anyways. I've had a lot of people ask me what I'm doing and how I'm doing it. The answer isn't a quick simple one. It's a combination of many things. Emotional / Spiritual / Physical healing were the root of my recovery.

This is my background and where I am today. I, in no way, feel I am healed from my problems with eating. I know I will always have struggles with food. I know I must continue to do what I am doing today to have recovery tomorrow. There are hard times all the time. I've learned how to deal with stresses and pain and frustrations and financial problems without turning to food.

I know that I have done this only through the power of Heavenly Father (my Higher Power).

That is my background and I will detail what I did in other posts. Even as I finish typing this I am nervous to expose this much about myself, but who actually read this anyways :)
Anyways... I always wished I could read and be inspired by people who were so imperfect like me and yet still found healing.

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