I want to give you all a little background information about myself–I want you to know me a little bit better so that maybe you’ll understand how I came to be on this journey. So I’ll start at the beginning.
First off, though, I think it’s worth mentioning that I’m a seasoned blogger. I facilitate two other blogs–one for work and one for play–but I just don’t have the strength and courage to blog about this part of my life on either of those pages. I don’t have the courage to write openly where my family members and my friends can see it. I don’t have the courage to share my embarrassment and my struggles with the people that I interact with in real life day in and day out.
For this, I need anonymity. For this, I just need to be the faceless rachaelxoxo. I hope you understand.
I have been overweight my entire life. By the time I was 8-years-old in the second grade, I was wearing a size 14/16 in girls. By the time I was in the third grade, I was wearing women’s clothes. I’ve never worn a bikini. It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve worn a pair of shorts or a tank top. I haven’t dared to put a swimsuit on since I was 15. My weight has progressively spiraled out of control year after year.
I have tons of overweight family members, but none of them were overweight during their childhood–not like me. Their weight gain came later in life. I am an almost-22-year-old adult woman, so I know that that means it’s time to take responsibility for my own problems, but I’d be lying to you if I said that I didn’t at least partially blame the adults in my life for my weight.
Like my parents and grandparents, for example, who allowed me to guzzle juice and soda by the gallon when I was a child and an adolescent. Or my uncle–my diabetic uncle–who picked me up from school every day with an “after school snack” waiting for me in the passenger seat of his car: a package of powdered donuts or some zingers; strawberry shortcake or a zebra cake; soda or chocolate milk; cookies, candies, or a McDonald’s happy meal.
And he wasn’t the only one to have a fast food addiction either. My parents–the modern family that consisted of two full-time career people–loved to pick up a quick dinner on the way home from work: Pizza Hut, McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, Taco Bell–you name it. There wasn’t one week that we didn’t do “dinner out” at least once.
These eating habits are what made me fat in the first place–there’s no denying it. And that’s what they were, too: habits. These behaviors are things I learned–things that were slowly ingrained into my little psyche–and they are the habits that took me straight into adulthood. Old habits are hard to break, after all.
When I was 19 and a freshman in college, I became incredibly ill during my second semester of school. Eventually I became so sick that I needed medical attention. I made an appointment with my family physician–a man I hadn’t seen in more than five years–and drove 20 miles out to receive treatment for what turned out to be a double ear infection and a severe case of whooping cough. Before my physician would see me and treat me, though, my vitals had to be taken. One of his nurses forced me onto a scale to record my weight, which is something I’ve long avoided checking myself at home.
There, in all my sick, infected misery, I hit rock bottom.
The scale said 319 pounds.
I wanted to cry. I turned away from the nurse to hide my embarrassment. “I’ve always been big,” I muttered when she finally took me back to an exam room. “I can’t remember not being this way.” She looked at me with a sad smile and said, “What woman doesn’t have issues with their weight? You’re no different than the rest of us.”
But she was wrong. Most women would love to lose 10 or maybe 20 pounds… Most women do not need to lose 170.
Once I got over my infections, I decided I needed to make a change. I yo-yo dieted for awhile, but I just couldn’t lose the weight. A year later, in the summer of 2013, I decided I was going to follow Jessica Simpson’s lead and try Weight Watchers. I didn’t have the money (or the courage) to actually go to a meeting, though, so I used the wonderful world wide web and “did it myself” by following blogs and Weight Watchers boards on Pinterest. I went to Barnes and Noble and bought a Weight Watchers cookbook. I gave up soda and I started food journaling, writing down every single thing I put into my mouth throughout the day. I measured my food–every last bit of it. I didn’t even bother to exercise, and you know what? I lost more than 25 pounds just by eating right and controlling my portions.
Losing weight felt great. I even went out and bought new clothes to show off my weight loss. But no matter what a “rush” it was to lose weight, I’d still have these days–days where I just couldn’t keep with it–days where I’d get a craving for something so bad that I just had to have it. One afternoon after I’d yet again thrown away all of my week’s progress by finishing off an entire pizza by myself, I realized that I had an even bigger problem than my weight. I realized that I had all of the markings of binge eating disorder. And after spending hours on the internet researching this disorder, I realized that I desperately needed to go to an OA meeting.
I never managed to get around to it, though. Instead, I fell back into old habits: I started eating fast food again and just a month or so ago I started drinking the occasional soda.
Three days ago I ate an entire Little Caesar’s pretzel pizza by myself.
Today I had dinner with my parents and told them that I wanted to go to a Weight Watchers meeting. My dad said I should go if I really want to and that he’d pay for it. I didn’t get a great reaction from my parents, but, then again, as I watched my mom fry up greasy pork chops in the kitchen and then watched my dad shovel enough food onto his plate to feed three grown men and then still go back for seconds, I guess I’m not all that surprised.
I’m going to my first Weight Watchers meeting on Friday at 9:30 am. Maybe I’ll look up an OA meeting, too–who knows. I should because I know I’m going to need help with the binging, but right now I’m just taking things one step at a time–one day at a time.
All I really know is that my journey is starting now–this is the beginning.
Wish me luck and hope that I can save myself from a life of total and complete misery.