When I think of the role that food has played in my life it is inordinately flawed and dysfunctional. The only way I can think that I wasn’t over weight growing up, is that my mom was into healthy eating and we never had junk food. She baked our bread. I never ate a Twinkie or Ding Dong until college. Seriously.
When I got to college I got a really bad habit of eating for taste and comfort. I was never over weight in college, but I survived on mostly GRANDMA’s cookies and coffee. Oh, and donuts. I didn’t realize I had a problem with poor eating, until I fainted dead away at my job in the library. Turns out I was anemic and malnourished. Yes, I guess nineteen year old well off Caucasian girls from the burbs become malnourished. Of course this was the 80’s and there was little known about eating disorders.
My twenties were more of the same. Eating poorly, feeling poorly, but never really gaining weight due to a good metabolism I suppose. I have never been an active person, just a busy person. I have been known to eat chocolate chip cookie dough (from the fridge) for a week for dinner. Or melted cheese. Or Ramen noodles.
Although my mom is a gourmet cook and a health nut, I didn’t learn anything growing up about cooking. Four girls overwhelmed her I imagine and she was always shooing us out of the kitchen.
I learned from her relationship to food though. My mom had been a yo-yo dieter all my life, at least since we came back from Papua New Guinea and that’s the earliest that I can remember. Certain things were forbidden and then eaten at other times when fallen off the diet. For my mom two were Fritos and popcorn. I hated all three for as long as I can remember. For the longest time they even made me physically ill if I even smelled them. I see now was very wrapped up in my mother’s ups and downs. She hated her body. I hated my body.
And I had never in my life dieted or been on a diet when I got married. I hadn’t needed to, because I managed to stay around 130 lbs, give or take five for my twenties and early thirties.
Getting pregnant was the beginning of the end of the “innocently healthy years.” I was hungry all the time while pregnant and I thought if I was hungry the baby must also be hungry. Absurd, of course, but I ate my way through and gained 70 pounds. Actually I stopped looking at the scale after 70. Horrifying. And really my OBGYN should be taken out back and shot, for she never said a word to me about my weight. Nada. (Yes, it feels better to blame her or at least act like it wasn’t my responsibility at all.)
Not taking responsibility could be how you label those years. Within five months of Emma’s birth I was pregnant again with Dylan. I gained less with that pregnancy, but then I was carrying some carried over from the previous pregnancy. With nursing and working full-time, I lost a good part of the Emma weight. After Dylan was born, then I had more time to get back to my original weight and I was within 20 lbs when I got pregnant with Jacob a year or so later.
I said earlier that I never dieted before I got married. I hadn’t. That’s not to say that I have always been happy with my weight, but I would just start working out at the Y if I got to feeling too badly about myself. And that worked for the most part.
I have actually only been on one real diet in that time. In 2002 Tom and I went on the South Beach diet. I lost 17 lbs, and at that point people thought I looked too skinny but actually that put me around 140-145 and that’s a really perfect weight for my age and being 5′ 6″. I hadn’t felt that great in years! All those baby years were gone! I felt like a woman again, as opposed to being a mommy with boobies.
Since 2002, I have been at home and my lifestyle has slowed down year by year and I’ve felt a slow creep. Of course there was the battle with depression which is a story told elsewhere. But the weight just crept up, a little more every year. When I finally decided to do this fast I weighed in at 169 lbs – okay 170 – last Monday. That is the highest that I have ever been in my life. It was do or die time.
This beautiful broken tea-cup is really a metaphor for me. I mean ME, my body, my health, my physical person. I broke it yesterday, because I wasn’t paying attention to my detox plan and let myself get too hungry. I was experiencing low blood sugar and ignoring it and put the dishes away. Before I fed myself. Ignoring my need I broke something that was important to me.
The cup is from Ukraine – one of a kind, irreplaceable, beautiful, sturdy – priceless. It was a gift from my mom. I was at her place the day before and I admired it because I will always have a place in my heart for the Ukraine and Russia. She said “Take it. You can have it.” She is like that these days, physical things becoming much less important to her. Perhaps it is her age. Anyway, I gratefully took it feeling a bit selfish. But thrilled!
And used it for a day. Until I dropped it.
That’s what I do. I ignore my body. I ignore my hunger. I ignore the fact that this body, given to me freely and is mine to care for. I need to take more care.
It’s a lifelong pattern for me to forget about eating. Then eat all the wrong things. Carbohydrates mostly.
And yesterday I forget that I need to follow the plan. I need to make sure I eat enough calories.
I am one-of-a-kind, beautiful, and sturdy (ha ha) and I only have this one life. This one body. One chance to make things right.
And that is why I have to follow the plan as if my life depended on it.
Back story on the 21 day detox is here.