This was around the 188lbs mark
It’s been a while coming, but here are some before and after photos – At My Largest I was consuming 500- 900 Calories a day and I was approximately 188+ LBS
I have a super messy story that is layered not only with intertwining stories but also perceptions of reality that are open to interpretation. Sounds complicated, and it was …. Here is the Coles notes version of what happened –
My mom left my bio dad when I was 9. We lived in hiding for 4 years afraid of my dad. We had police escorts to and from school and assumed names -sounds like a movie – however, I can assure you it was far from glamorous. We were poor – food bank poor. We often prayed for meals in gratitude that we did not have, but we sat around an empty table, and we were grateful for each other. I caught my mom eating the dry dog food one night as she saved the last can of water chestnuts for us. (*So, as a side note- When you donate to the food bank (immediately after reading this) donate good healthy things that you would be proud to feed your family, because someone has swallowed their pride to put food on their table *)
Things ebbed and flowed thru the years, and we made due, appreciating bags of clothes and food hampers. Every now and again we would financially “get ahead”, as mom did things like real estate bookkeeping, housekeeping etc. Money would start to flow and then it would dry up. My grandparents helped as much as they could, even living with us for a few seasons, purchasing us clothing, food and helping with some expenses. We would summer with them in BC, and we always felt so spoiled with biscuits, pancakes and roast dinners with gravy. The best was SANDWICHES -I know my kids don’t like them either, but it was such a treat to take a lunch and be “normal” like the other kids.
When Granny was not around, I was hungry, but I learned to turn it off. Knowing now what I do, I realize that my body was in starvation, not releasing hormones to tell me I was hungry. My body was helping me to not feel the effects of poverty. I remember staying with Granny one summer and having eggs every morning for breakfast and lemon tea with honey before bed; we had cottage cheese with fresh tomato slices for a snack, and I honestly felt rich. Feast or famine was now normal.
Sieg, (my step-up parent) joined us when I was 12, and things got better. After coming home from a summer with my grandparents, my mom made mention that I had “filled out”. We went out for breakfast, and I chose cottage cheese for my side (ice cream was the other choice with my fruit. ) My parents looked at me and had a conversation about high fat diets and how I had had the opportunity to eat whatever I wanted all summer but maybe I should NOT do that anymore. They passed on the best nutritional information that they had – eat less, choose low fat, be active.
Most of the pictures while I was heavy are “missing”
Mom owned a cleaning company at this time, and I committed to helping her for the rest of the summer. Every morning we would stop at the Red Rooster and purchase 2 coffees, a butter pecan tart (for her) and a Wonderbar (for me). That would last us all day. My favorite days were when we cleaned “Ray’s” house because we got to clean out the fridge. He usually had expired lunch meats and deli items that mom would let us eat if they didn’t smell too bad. Driving to our next job would be our break for a bite of our purchased snacks, some sips of coffee and a cigarette. I started lighting my mom’s cigarettes (in fact it was one of my favorite things to do, and I was not a Clinton about it … I inhaled). Things always ebbed and flowed. The fridge would be bare with only a some bologna and mustard as the last 2 items in the fridge, and days later the fridge would be so full we would store things on the deck for lack of room. It was not all poverty and hunger; there were times of plenty.
The matriarchs in my family were always worried about their size – Granny was always doing a lemon tea cleanse (if she had gained a pound she would take laxatives and drink hot lemon water until that “pound” flushed out) or cabbage soup diet, Atkins, blood type diet etc. She tried them all. Mom lived on coffee, cigarettes and steaks after 10pm. Even after attaining her doctorate in alternative medicine, not until her day was finished would she sit down and feed herself.
So, I learned that:
January 2015, 163Lbs
1) Food made you fat
2) Eating was not as important as doing the work of life, and once all your work was done you could eat- food was a reward and a punishment
3) If you ate too much you would get fat
4) High animal protein, coffee and cigarettes kept you slim
5) Feast or famine mentalities
6) We do not “need” food; it is a WANT – Mind over matter
7) Lemon water, laxatives and anorexia are a means of weight control
I was hospitalized when I was 14 with anorexia. I met a beautiful girl, She was my age, and her name was Charity (don’t get me started on kids with virtuous names – that’s another Blog) . Charity taught me how to be bulimic and not get caught. Bulimia was a wayto keep the nurses happy because we ate all our food.
So, I learned:
8) Binge and Purge
I burned out my esophagus and was hospitalized again.
These were my formative years, when my “normal” was being defined; there is, of course, much that happened after this to cement these beliefs into place – but this was the foundation it was all laid on.
Skipping ahead 20+ years – my 1-8 ideas failed me, and I was 188 bs. I was desperate. I tried HCG, ATKINS, Low/ No Carbohydrate, Ideal Protein, Isogenix, mineral wraps, lemon tea diets, laxatives, punishing myself with exercise, out-training bad diets, out-dieting bad training, – I was able to eek it down to 163 lbs. However, I struggled to maintain. I had adopted a lifestyle of binging, starving and purging (binge Friday- Sunday – starve – Monday – Thursday, and purge the difference).
I actually could not imagine my life any differently. I felt like anything else I would do would make be fat, I thought I had a low metabolism, and genetics were against me. I could not visualise life without parties that include abundant food and alcohol – the thought of losing my friends TERRIFIED me. ….
Then came a challenge.
May Stage 138lbs
I was at my gym, and working out next to me was “Julie”. We started talking (because I talk to everyone); she was a “body builder” – I JUDGED HER HAAAARRRD – she was MY size, and I thought “YEAH right”, and I laughed at her in my head *like a lot – BIG ‘ol belly laugh* ooh I judged her. Then I didn’t see her for weeks— 12 weeks to be exact – and when I saw her again I could barely believe it was the same person. She was shredded right down, so lean. My mouth hung agape while I tried to wrap my head around what I just saw…. annnnd then I got the lecture from my coach. This was a never-before- seen side of my coach that was pure frustration verbalized- it lasted for 45 minutes and began with –
-That was 12 weeks, and I see what she did with HER 12 weeks – what did you do with YOURS?
LOOOOONG PAUSE and -I was convicted – He didn’t need to say more but he did.
He went on to say that I was the most frustrating client he had EVER had. Knowing what a people pleaser I was would help you understand how deeply that statement upset me. I had been training with him for 2 years with little change because he could not get in my head to help me be healthy, and he didn’t know what else to do with me. People PAID him for his advice and he was giving it to me for free and doing nothing with it!!! He sighed heavily in my direction and paced around while talking AT me – I was stunned.
I went home and talked it over with my (I quickly learned) equally as frustrated husband, and I learned that I was actually the most difficult person on the planet at this moment. My loving husband told me to “pull the trigger”, that “you have been unhappy for quite some time” and “why don’t you do something about it rather than complaining about it to no end” and really “I love you regardless but it would sure be nice if you were happy for a change” …. “it’s 12 weeks, just do it” !
LONG pause, Deep breaths…
Then my coach’s “other half” chimes in as I unload my frustration that “I have tried so hard and nothing changes.” She called me out on my bull – “If you truly did what you were told- TO. THE. LETTER., you would see changes and you know it – you have NOT done what you are told, and if you’re honest with yourself, you’d see that.” So, I had my loving and very frustrated husband and coaches, and I chose to trust them and do what I was told, and just trust the process. I also needed to VALUE the process – money changed hands – I listened to every letter!!!
May 2015, 140LBS
What I learned -relearned
1) Proper nourishment will create a trusting relationship with my body, and my body will let go of extra “fuel stores”
2) The work of life is fueled with food- take the time to nourish yourself and you will work better
3) If you don’t eat enough, your body will store reserves believing you are in a time of famine – it will protect you; it was designed by Creator to do this
4) High animal proteins and cigarettes – Proteins can be derived from plant and animal sources depending on your convictions. Lean proteins are necessary equally to balanced carbohydrates- to eliminate carbohydrates for me is to eliminate my energy (which is my smile for my family) it also affects my intelligence – thoughts are slower and sentences are often unfinished.
And Cigarettes- if I may step onto my soap box for a moment – cigarettes calm and ground; they were a learned break – if I was smoking, I had permission to take a “time out” to sit outside and just breathe. I had to give myself permission to take that break even WITHOUT the cigarette. If you are a smoker, the best advice I can give you is LISTEN to YOU. As you become completely WHOLLY present in this moment, you will feel the effects. Allow it to resonate and decide with each inhalation if this is what you want truly. Using this tool, there were times I went outside and had 2 cigarettes, sometimes only 2 drags, and there were other times I just went outside. And slowly my body actually quit smoking for me because I chose to listen.
5) Feast and famine mentality creates hormone imbalances, steals from muscle mass. The result is mood fluctuations, energy deficiencies and overall muscle fatigue- to name a few
6) Food is a necessity of life– I became present in what I was choosing to fuel my body with
7) Eating disorders- steal from the body and will be paid back WITH INTEREST when you place a morsel of anything in your body
8) Binge and Purge- will actually shock your body into a holding pattern as it believes you are ill and it will fight to retain stores and resources
And my new 9) – the most important – LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO DO IT FOR YOU
October 24, 133LBS
I had a shift that I did not see coming. I would often run around doing the work of life – being a wife, mom, daughter, friend, employee … all of the things we all are everyday. BUSY. I shifted and was just ME BEING.
I nourished myself, and hydrated myself, I treated myself like I would have treated my best friend – caring for her, encouraging her, pep talking her, keeping her focused, keeping her driven, I spoke nicely to her. AND I genuinely fell in love with her.
I can’t tell you what a shock it was to sit at the table and eat my “second lunch” while my family looked on wondering where dinner was and why I was being so rude. There were self full exercises everyday, and I had to learn the difference between being self full and selfish. And that definition will look different for EVERYONE.
One of the biggest successes I have witnessed is in nourishing myself and providing myself with my oxygen mask (so-to-speak). Yes, I have also been able to better serve, my family, my friends, my clients. I have also lead by example and taught them how – my Family now takes the time and the fuel they need for themselves. That’s the biggest win.
So, as I close (and yes, there is much more to this story that I will share later) I’m asking now – what are YOU going to do with YOUR 12 weeks? And do you have some beliefs around food that don’t align with your values around how you want to LIVE now? Maybe it served you once, but it’s time to change your beliefs and LOVE YOURSELF ENOUGH TO BE SELF FULL.
As a very quick side note – I consume on average 2300 calories a day now, and I keep every bite down.