Diet Shaming

Borderline Genius thought of the day: You didn’t pack on 30 pounds in 10 days, therefore you will not lose 30 pounds in 10 days.

There is no standard telltale signs of people that are insecure.  At least for me I think I’ve hid mine well over the years, but that’s because I felt like I had to.  Generally speaking I’m a small person overall.  From the outside looking in most people dismissed me for the body insecurities I had because they weren’t major.  These were and still are MY feelings.  Don’t dismiss them.  You can hide a lot underneath clothing, and that was my reality for many years.

My body insecurities started in middle school.  No doubt because I was in the prime of my body changing so much.  My chest grew the fastest, but that didn’t dawn on me until I started to get teased.  Receiving compliments from boys in school about my eyes really boosted my confidence…until they started laughing every time they said it.  A friend finally told me they were talking about my boobs and referred to them as “eyes”.  I was humiliated and became ashamed of my entire body. From that moment on I was fixated on all the girls around me and what they looked like.   I created my own vision of what the perfect body looked like and it certainly was not my own body.  My boobs were big, my thighs touched, and I had a bubble butt.

As a teenager I remember owning bikini’s but I would never take my shorts off at the beach and made many claims that I never wanted to get in the water because I hated to swim.  That was a lie.  What I hated was my body.  In 1999 at age 21 my boyfriend and I went to Kauai to visit his dad.  Again, even while on a beautiful vacation, I still would never take my shorts off at the beach. As the years went on my insecurities only grew stronger.

Let’s get right down to it. I love food! My first pregnancy gave me an imaginary license to eat anything and everything in site.  Days before delivering my son I was pushing almost a 70 pound weight gain and was asked many times if I was having twins.  At 23-years-old I was still pretty naïve to how my daily smorgasbord lifestyle could and would intensify my already negative body image.  My son was born at 8 pounds 6 ounces. I falsely thought that I would easily bounce back to my old size over night.  I even packed pre-baby pants in my overnight bag to the hospital.  What a joke that was!  The reality was I had a long road ahead of me to get the weight off.

On top of dealing with how I felt about myself I also experienced post partum depression and it was the ultimate punch in the face.  Nothing made sense and nothing was logical.  It was all I could do to just get through each day and the feeling of being in survival mode is still so vivid.  I lived in survival mode for about a year and paid no attention to what I was eating.  As with most things in my life I do everything backwards.  My boyfriend and I bought a house together in 2000, then had our first child in 2001, then got married.  Planning our wedding gave me the motivation to get the baby weight off.   SlimFast was my diet of choice at the time.  One shake for breakfast, one for lunch, and a sensible dinner and there you had it.  I got down even lower than pre-baby weight just in time for the wedding, but I was starving.

At the wedding I stuffed my face! After the wedding I stuffed my face even more.  During our honeymoon…you guessed it…my food intake had no boundaries. SlimFast was not a lifestyle change.  It was simply a band aid.  The wedding was in 2003 and that year began my 12 year stretch of not wearing sleeveless shirts or shorts. At least no cute short shorts. Just the long to your knee shorts. The longer the better.  Towards the end of each year I struggled with loving and hating winter. I’ve always hated the cold weather but loved that I could pile on the clothes. Layers of clothing was my mask.

Over the years my weight fluctuated. Along the way I had tried the Atkins diet, a low carb diet, the cabbage soup diet, eating nothing but fat free foods, but none of them fit me.  By the time my husband and I decided we wanted to have a second child I was about 20 pounds overweight.  At 6 weeks pregnant I had a miscarriage.  That experience took me to a dark, raw, and ugly place emotionally.  I was convinced that my unhealthy eating and excess weight was a contributing factor to losing the baby, and I was desperate to get pregnant again.  Once I got clearance from my doctor that it was safe for me to get pregnant again; I did, and I got pregnant instantly.  This time around I was more health conscious and stayed within the healthy weight gain parameters.

At 29 years old I delivered my second child; a boy.  That was in October of 2007, and at that point I was also 5 months away from my 30th birthday.  I was eager to be healthy and set my goal on losing weight by my birthday, but I didn’t know where to start.  What I did know is I wasn’t going to go back to the other failed diets I had tried before.  My mother-in-law was registered with Weight Watchers and she knew that I wanted to lose my baby weight once and for all.  She showed me the ropes and passed along some very useful information.  It sounded interesting and was worth a try.  My main take away from it was portion control, portion sizes, and the points system that the program at the time was centered around.  Portion sizes was not something that was in my vocabulary.  It was a completely different approach from my days of Slim Fast.

By the time I turned 30 I had lost around 15 pounds and was feeling pretty good.  I found that Weight Watchers was more realistic than anything I had tried, and I didn’t have to deprive myself of the foods I enjoyed.  I stuck with the Weight Watchers plan on and off for a couple years but it eventually fizzled out.  In 2012 I decided to try yet another option to help manage my food intake and on May 15, 2012 I downloaded an app called MyFitness Pal.  At first it was great! Not only did I have my phone with me everywhere (which made it super convenient), but I was able to search a bank of foods and find what I had eaten and select if from the search options.  I could also scan barcodes of foods I had eaten and the whole thing worked like a charm.  Again, I did not feel like I had deprived myself of the foods I liked, and as time had gone on I learned that about myself.  I don’t do well with restrictive diets.  In a perfect world I just wanted to lose weight but eat what I wanted. Don’t we all?   MyFitness Pal was the closest I had found to that.

Even though I loved using the MyFitness Pal app I didn’t fully commit myself to using it consistently.  It was easy for me to use Monday through Thursday then by the time Friday rolled around it all fell apart again.  So Friday through Sunday I would binge eat anything I could get my hands on.  Life continued on this way and it just became my new normal.  By 2014 I was 30 pounds overweight.  I had no energy for anything and had be living the last few years wanting to do nothing but eat and sleep.  Living that way took it’s toll on so many aspects of my life including my social life, family life, and most of all my health.  Sleeping became uncomfortable, I started having acid reflux, frequent headaches, trouble breathing, and ended up in the emergency room with heart palpitations.  Throughout the years I had tried to convince myself that I just needed to get over it and accept that this “after kids” body was it, but I couldn’t.  I wasn’t happy.  I wasn’t comfortable.  I had no energy to do anything with my kids.  I hated shopping for clothes, and I was finally fed up with living with this negative body imagine.  I was sick and tired of feeling trapped within myself.  I didn’t want this to be my story and I was done trying to fool myself.

I thought to myself “what if”?  WHAT IF I stick to logging my calories 7 days a week instead of 4 days a week?  WHAT IF I actually committed to this?  It became one of many New Year’s resolutions to get healthy and lose weight.  On January 9, 2015 it was on!  I logged my calories religiously into MyFitness Pal – 7 days a week – week after week after week.  Someone once told me that we don’t put on all this weight over night and we cannot expect to lose it over night.  That stuck with me, and I did not go into this with that mindset.  Instant gratification is what I use to want. I use to believe that there was such thing as losing a quick 10 pounds.  I don’t believe that anymore.  It’s all about lifestyle changes.  Not a quick fix. I needed something that was going to stand the test of time.

The weight came off little by little, and I was okay with that. It came off in a healthy way. I stuck with logging my calories.  I ate 1200 calories every single day, and it was 1200 calories of what I wanted.  That was the ticket for me.  I wasn’t depriving myself.  This was a no-brainer, and I found myself being more patient with this process than with all the others I had tried.

Then I hit a wall 4 months in and plateaued.  It was frustrating because I was on such a roll.  My husband, who was using Advocare products for weight loss, insisted that I switch my coffee with a drink called Spark which he said would help boost my metabolism.  I stubbornly refused.  I had made it this far all on my own and wasn’t about to give up my coffee.  Was he crazy?  I loved coffee!  I just wanted to get that last 5 pounds off though and eventually gave in.  I swapped coffee for Spark and the last 5 pounds melted away.  On June 27, 2015 I had lost the 30 pounds I had set out to lose.

I slowly regained confidence in myself and FINALLY broke the 12 year coverup!  Wearing sleeveless tops and cute short shorts made me feel naked though.  I hadn’t felt this exposed in so long and it took some time to feel comfortable enough to go out in public that way.  I still live with so much frustration with myself that I went on that long without being comfortable with my body.  Looking back it feels as though I lived so much of my life under a veil, and I missed out on so much. This whole experience has become a healing process for me. Talking about it and sharing with people has allowed me to let go of the past little by little.  There are not many people I have shared this photo with because I was so ashamed and embarrassed of myself.  Sharing it now helps me heal.  Sadly I don’t have many full body pictures of myself during that period of my life because I hid behind the weight and the cameras.  The left side is a snap shot from a video I had before losing the weight. That was me September 2014 and on the right is July 2015 after losing 30 pounds.

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….and another of my husband and I before and after the weight loss.

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It surprises me that when I have showed people these pictures I still get dismissed.  Which might be another reason why I never shared.  I would get a lot of “what are you talking about…you looked great before”, or “I don’t see anything wrong with the before”, or “you did not need to lose any weight”.  That’s the problem!  You don’t necessarily SEE someone’s insecurities.  Be kind of someone’s else’s journey.  Whether it’s 5 pounds, 50 pounds, or 500 pounds.  There is so much more beneath the surface.  This blog does not even begin to touch the things I missed out on with that little bit of extra weight along with the mental and emotional roller coaster it put me through.

The journey I’ve been on with MyFitness Pal has been 6 years in the making.  To this day I still log my calories…not always consistently, but I log them and I’ve kept the weight off.  Staying accountable is a full-time job.  I found something that works for me and I’m sticking to it.  During my weight loss journey I did nothing special as far as working out goes.  However, my husband had been doing CrossFit and encouraged me to join him, but I refused.   I had gone to support and watch him workout a few times and it only validated why I would not try it.  It was intimidating, and I was not about to workout with people that seemed so advanced.  Besides, I had tried working out MANY times before.  After countless gym memberships, a stair master, walking, Pilates videos, and even Shaun T’s Insanity DVD’s; nothing stuck.  I had not found anything that fit me and I thought CrossFit would likely just be added to the list of dud workouts.  So what was the point in trying?

Finally, a couple years later I was willing to give CrossFit a try.  On August 6, 2017 I did my first CrossFit workout and have never looked back.  One year later and I’m still doing it.  I have NEVER stuck with working out this long IN MY LIFE!  This was a major accomplishment for me.  The feelings of intimidation I previously had were completely false.  Even though I started with nearly zero strength and endurance I have never felt ashamed or incapable while working with my trainers (shout out Carlie and Genna…woot woot) or the group of people that I workout with.  They push me and have helped me reach milestones.  At 40 years old I ran my first mile run without stopping.  YES MY FIRST!  Sure it was an 11 minute mile, but I did it without stopping.  This experience has exceeded my expectations and has helped chip away even more at my negative body imagine.  These small accomplishments account for a major part of where I am today with how I feel about myself.  There is so much I have taken away from this journey, and so much that I’m still learning.  One of which is getting past the number on the scale.  Now that I’m converting fat into muscle with doing CrossFit it’s turned into a new struggle of understanding that muscle weighs more than fat.  As a result, I’m getting close to breaking up with my scale. I’m trying not to make it all about the weight. Looking at the bigger overall health picture is a work in progress.

In July 2018 I wore my first 2 piece swimsuit on the beach.  It was the first time in over 16 years that I had been comfortable enough to wear a 2 piece bathing suit, but this time I took my shorts off! Now, I play in the ocean, play in the sand, swim with my family, let the sun kiss my skin, and anything and everything in between to make up for lost time.  I’ve missed out on a lot.  More than most of you will ever know.  I don’t believe in “living my best life” because that would mean I’m done.  I’m far from done.  Instead I live each day the best I can and strive for the day after and the day after that to be even better. This picture is of my family and I 3 days ago at Disneyland.  Happy, healthy, and active as ever.

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If you take away anything from this blog please let it be this.  DO NOT DIET SHAME!  All health, fitness, and weight loss journeys are not created equally, and if it’s important enough for someone to start then it’s important.  Period!

21 thoughts on “Diet Shaming

  1. Oh my gosh, I’m crying as I read this! I remember all of your struggles, as a mom you were are and will always be beautiful to me whatever size you are! I too struggle with the same issues! You have been my inspiration, my coach my phone call away when I feel like nothing is working! Why do you make me cry? I love reading your blog you are an amazing writer don’t know where you get it from, it’s not from me lol!!! Words are in my head and they seldom come out right, lol! Keep living your best life everyday baby girl so proud of you💋💋

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First of all, you and your hubby look great. Good for you! Secondly, I can so relate to what you shared. I am 60 now and about 40-50 lbs. overweight. I seemed to gain 5-10 lbs. with each of my four kids, and although my weight has fluctuated with various efforts and programs, I can’t seem to lose and keep off more than 20-25 lbs. So very frustrating, because I battle age and health conditions, and the medications I take for those conditions. Even my doctor said it’s an uphill battle. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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