My Own Little Food World – Part 5

Wedding pic2

By the end of my college years, I had tried several different diets. South Beach gave me some good results initially, but it was impossible to stick to and had me drinking Vanilla Coke Zero when all I really wanted was a piece of fruit. Messed up. Along the way, I picked up several tidbits of knowledge about what works best for me. While I continued to gain the weight back, I was preparing myself by learning habits that would help me in the future. For instance, I learned that protein would help me control hunger and that small meals throughout the day work well for me (not for everyone, but definitely for me).

In 2010, I started dating a really cute guy who I ended up marrying a year later. While we were dating, I lost 30-40 pounds by going to the gym and controlling my portions. I didn’t track my calories, but I also didn’t always feel like eating since I was dealing with some health issues. When we got married in November 2011, I weighed 180 pounds and felt pretty good.

My gym was being annoying (not applying credits to my account from referrals and not being open when I went even though they claimed to be 24 hours), so I decided to cancel my membership. That, along with life changes and having two amazing cooks under the same roof, was the beginning of three years of steady weight gain. I would go on for a while without a care in the world, then something would snap me out of my food coma, I would weigh myself, be in utter shock at the number, work on things for a bit, and then I was on my merry way gaining more than I would lost. This repeated so many times I couldn’t count. That is, until one day I woke up at the end of 2014 at 275 pounds (see picture below).

A picture of me at 275 pounds that helped motivate me to lose weight.

A picture of me at 275 pounds that helped motivate me to start losing weight.

You are probably not surprised to hear that I felt miserable. I had trouble moving and I just felt kind of sick most of the time. At that point, I knew it was time to make a change. And this time, I needed it to be for the rest of my life.I wanted to have fun with the 5-year-old who had just moved into our home. I wanted to be healthy and beautiful for my husband. I wanted to be free from grasp food had on me for such a long time. And so, it began.

My Own Little Food World – Part 4

College basketball road trip

College basketball road trip circa Fall 2003

At Winter Formal during my

At Winter Formal during my “rebellious” early college punk-ish years

So, let’s pick up where we left off, shall we? After taking a year off before college to coach, I headed to my first practice as a college volleyball player. Even though I went to a very small school, I could tell right away that my skills were rusty and my conditioning was behind everyone else’s. When I got to basketball season, my confidence took an even bigger hit. I went from a post player to a guard (bad, bad news for someone with my lackluster ball-handling abilities) and didn’t have as much time to learn the plays due to volleyball commitments.

As I’ve mentioned, sports were my identity. Finding myself at the bottom of the talent pool and struggling to keep up with my tons of activities along with my grades set off a spiral into depression. I eventually quit basketball and started coming back to normal. With my sudden decrease in physical activity, I started to gain weight (the freshman 30 or so).

Some of my friends in the dorm

Some of my friends in the dorm

For the rest of my college years, I cycled between losing and gaining the same 30 pounds or so. At times, I was hyper-focused on losing weight and other times would eat my way through my problems and balloon up. I became particularly skilled at secret eating, as some of my previous roommates might already know (Pamela’s cherry cordials, Savannah’s Pop Tarts, etc.). It would be embarrassing to disclose how many candy bars I purchased from the vending machine during that time period (and how many I consumed in one sitting and where I consumed them).

As a physical education major, I felt like a fraud. How could anyone take me seriously if I graduated and became a fat PE teacher? I wanted to help the kids who weren’t the most athletic come to love being physically active, but I couldn’t even help myself. What I hadn’t learned yet is that my own efforts could never be enough.

My Own Little Food World – Part 3

Post Senior Year

Warning: This post may be triggering for those with a history of disordered eating.

The girl in that picture thought she was super fat. This was the summer after my senior year. I was on crutches because I had a stress fracture in my foot. I had put on maybe 15 pounds total by this point, partially due to a vacation where I ate like a normal person and partially due to inactivity from the stress fracture. Those 15 pounds felt more like 15 tons to me.

My solution? Read books and websites to learn how to have an eating disorder. I wanted to make myself anorexic (like I thought I was the Pretender and could be anyone I wanted just by doing a little research). I was feeling pressure to keep up with the identity I built for myself. So, I starved myself. I had several days when I would only eat a banana. Basically, I was addicted to hunger. For a while, it worked.

Eventually, I tried the whole throwing up thing. I remember eating a whole package of chocolate chips after a long time without food (maybe a couple of days) and then throwing it up. The good thing was that my face got red and blotchy and my mom asked what was wrong. I explained everything and she took me to a dietitian.

The dietitian helped me get back on track and I lived happily ever after. The end.

Just kidding! I slowly started eating more (still weird, but more), but I was headed for an eating roller coaster for the rest of my young adult life. That’s because It didn’t address the real issue: my heart.

My Own Little Food World – Part 2

My first year of volleyball

My first year of volleyball

My Senior year

Even if you don’t read this, you have to see the pictures! So, how did a chubby, clumsy eleven-year-old girl turn into captain, setter, and MVP of her volleyball team her Senior year? Obsession. I loved sports. My dad took me to Pacers games, my brother played one-on-one with me all the time, and I memorized every stat on the back of my thousands of basketball cards. When I felt out of place and unfeminine mostly as a result of my weight, I clung to sports for my identity.

The problem was that I was just terrible. Volleyball was the only sport available for homeschooled girls like me in the Indianapolis area. My first season of volleyball, I had two successful hits: one off my head and one off my shoulder. I spent most of the season uncomfortable and embarrassed. I practiced like crazy and improved very slowly.

When someone finally started a home school girl’s basketball team in my Indianapolis, I weighed 213 pounds at age 14. I was exhausted after one sprint, which makes it tough to be good at any sport. So, I decided it was time to change.

I knew losing weight was the only way for me to do well. My weight loss strategy was to eat half of what everyone else was eating and make weird rules. Examples: No pork, no beef, no chips, no butter, no pop, no taste. 🙂 If there were hot dogs, I would just eat the bun with ketchup and mustard. No butter on my potatoes and no dressing for my salad.

It was weird, but it worked. By the end of the next season, I had lost 70 pounds. Plus, I went from last player off the bench to a starter. I got what I wanted. At least, that’s what I thought.

Instructional basketball - Age 10 or 11?

Instructional basketball – Age 10 or 11?

Basketball Senior Night

Basketball Senior Night

My basketball card collection and Pacers themed room

My basketball card collection and Pacers themed room in High School

My Own Little Food World – Part 1

myownlittlefoodworld1

This. This picture is a summary of my childhood weight. I’m the one at the top of the pile, of course. As you can see, I was just slightly bigger than my friends in this picture (who also happened to be members of my Writer’s Club). Some of my other memories about my weight as a child include being called a hippo by a random girl when I was riding my bike and making myself sick by eating an entire box of Little Debbies at a party. The one that stands out the most is being excited at age 8 that I weighed the same as my favorite figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. I looked that up on the charts and it puts me at around the 98% or 99% weight percentile for my age at the time. This is where my weight story begins, but it’s far from over.