Changes In Genetic Attitude ~Becky

I was g-mail chatting Becky@LifeWithMaggieandBen (see her Exposed here), as you do to complete strangers, and I asked…’Would you be willing to do a guest post on your weight loss and how that’s impacted you?’

Here you go. A really thought-provoking piece from Becky about how she’s battled her weight and has examined her struggles with those of the women in her life. I think that this is so important as both my grandmothers and mom have struggled with their weight/portion control/yo-yo dieting and it’s something that I’ve seen. I am not blaming them..at.all. Rather, it’s an observation.

Thanks Becky..lots of stuff to think about!

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Changes in Genetic Attitude ~ Becky

I am like my family, I am going to die young.
Have you ever seen the movie Beaches?  Remember that scene where Better Midler’s buddy realizes her hands were just like her mothers and they both died young?  I think that from that day forward, the similarities in my digits to my mothers meant way more to me that just being one of the few physical traits we shared.  It has always stuck in the back of my mind that I am linked to my mother and to her mother and so on.  I was thinking about genetics long before I knew what genetics was.  When my grandmother died at 69 of a variety of non-systemic, lifestyle-induced causes, I thought of that hand relationship.  Three out of 4 of my grandparents died by their sixties. I will probably die young I thought.  And I think that gave me more license to treat my body as if it would only be here a short time.

Like Mother, Like Daughter: YoYo Dieters
My mother takes much better care of herself than my grandmother ever did and was always naturally skinny. But from her mother, she never learned good habits.  And she pegged herself a bookworm and un-athletic her whole life.  And believe me, she is the most accident prone person besides me. But due to not exercising and an intense love of chips and dip, she has spent her post-baby years yo-yo dieting and heading up the scale 10 pounds and then back down the following year.  And I began doing the same thing at an even younger age than she did.

So I started: Exercise and diet pills, but it didn’t work
I started gaining weight after high school and it took until almost two years after I graduated from college to finally realize how big I had gotten. I lost some weight with a roommate by doing Tae-Bo and some over the counter “natural pills” with ephedrine in them.  This was before they were banned by FDA.  I lost a bunch of weight, looked amazing, but still wasn’t making good choices.  I smoked, drank too much, and ate whatever I wanted to.  So as soon as the working out stopped, the weight came right back on.

Kicked Old Habits and Started Healthy Ones
Flash forward a few years later when my then fiancé and I did a big cross country move before our wedding.  I was at my absolute heaviest and even now I look at those photos and cannot believe that it is me.

I had started to make small healthy choices like going to a lacto ovo pesca vegetarian but I didn’t work out, I still smoked off and on, and drank beer (what a waste of calories that was)! I was a maid of honor in one of my best friend’s weddings and I felt miserable about myself.  I was getting married the following summer so I started South Beach. I dropped a lot of weight quickly and then started doing Bikrham yoga.  I felt better than ever and one day I decided to go for a run.  And I surprised myself by loving it.  But after the wedding, I stopped doing South Beach, yoga, running, and bought a house, had two kids and well… started all over again.

Being A Mom, I Knew I Need A Permanent Healthy Focus
But this time I looked not just at my problems but at two reasons to fix them.  My daughter and my son.  I gazed at my hands while holding theirs and thought that I needed to break this order.  Perhaps our genes are going to make some decisions for us, but we have a lot to do with the outcome as well.  But how can we overcome our genetics and learned habits? How would I make such generational leaps and bounds in health? I knew I needed a comprehensive weight loss system that was going to teach me how to make better choices and incorporate exercise.

My Kids Won’t Succumb to Old Patterns, Like I Did.
I started Weight Watchers at Work and since last year have lost 22 pounds (slowly!), started running regularly, eating right and am training for my first ½ marathon in May.  I am accomplishing things I never thought possible and overcoming the awful habits that have plagued me for so long.  I choose good foods, I choose not to smoke, I love feeling happy and healthy and having my kids learn from me. They will learn not to yo-yo diet but to enjoy exercising and staying active.  They will learn to make good choices about their foods but not feel bad about themselves or guilty for their vices.

I try not to deprive myself completely, and I have my slip-ups, but I look at my children and remember that they are the reason I am doing this.  And so I keep on, pushing our genetic code as far as it will allow. I might even get my mother running a 5k this year.  Genetically we are pre-disposed to trip over one another, but we’ll have a good time doing it!

What health/lifestyle choices were part of your upbringing?


14 thoughts on “Changes In Genetic Attitude ~Becky

  1. Brenda says:

    Your post really hit home with me today! Sure I am doing all of this to lose weight, but my main priority is the fact that my father died after having a stroke during open heart surgery (a quad bi-pass) and my mom died at the age of 67 from Non hodgkins lymphoma. I am doing all of this healthy eating and getting fit to learn from any of their mistakes. I strive to have healthy, organic foods for my family. And I make many of our normal weekly foods from scratch now to avoid as many preservatives/chemicals in our food as possible.

  2. Amy says:

    My sister and I were always active and we ate pretty healthy. But we had a mom who was 5’6″ and around 110 pounds who was constantly calling herself fat and a cow. She never belittled us, but we couldn’t help thinking “well if she’s fat, we must be…” My sister and I took different routes around this. She became anorexic (dropping into the mid-80s) and I became a compulsive, secretive overeater. We are both in our 30s now and happy, healthy adults, but every day we make conscious, deliberate decisions to be healthy. It’s a struggle, but we’re both winning at this point. Amy

  3. missyrayn says:

    My mom was not athletic and neither was I. We fed emotions with food and it was happiness. And as such we both gained a ton of weight. We’d diet and lose some but it would pile back on. But since I’ve lost my weight by making my lifestyle changes my mom has noticed. And she has started weight watchers at work and lost 12 pounds in her first 2 months.

  4. Tay says:

    This story REALLY hit home to me, because a lot of my mom’s habits formulated themselves in me. I’m not trying to make excuses, but I can binge eat, and just mindlessly eat, just like my mom. She has no control, and I can have no control. When I go home for vacations now, I cringe when I hear what she says or how she acts in front of my youngest sister (who’s 9). Me and all my other older sisters all have eating problems, and I just hate that my youngest sister probably will too. It sounds mean, but I look at my mom’s yo-yo weight and dieting and all her struggles and just vow not to end up like that.

  5. Erin says:

    This is such a wonderful post and inspiring story, about the role of a mother and how it can change over the generations. I’m so impressed that Becky has taken positive steps in her life to make major changes and be the best mom she can be.

  6. Becky says:

    I am amazed at all these responses so far. Thanks Mish for letting me post this. I do want to stress that my mom is one of the most supportive people in my life and that she is so aware of her yo-yo dieting and weight issues. Even though I trudge ahead to change things for our family future generations, the fact that we are open enough to discuss it and support each other is probably the best part. For those of you who have moms who may not be healthy right now; talk to them. I know I want my mom around for a very long time. My grandmother died on the day of my college graduation party. I want my mom to meet her great-grandchildren. It is about making the best choices you can to give you the best chance of being present for those that you love the most. — Becky

  7. All Women Stalker says:

    This is a wonderful story. I am so inspired because this hits so close to home. I haven’t really learned good habits from my mom. Just half-hearted attempts to be healthier and more fit. But never committing to anything. I really have to break the genetic attitude. I’m going to start from me and my habits.

  8. Reluctant Blogger says:

    So fantastic that Becky is breaking the chain. And she looks gorgeous too.

    She is so right in setting a good example for her own children. I try to do that too. I sometimes think though that the Establishment (Health Visitors here in the UK) don’t really help. When my children were much younger there was still a lot of focus on weight – babies were weighed all the time and older children too – big babies are seen as healthy babies. My children are naturally skinny and I take the approach with food that I put a healthy meal on the table and if they don’t want to eat it, it is up to them. We don’t play food games or do bribery. They’ll eat if they are hungry. They don’t snack on other stuff so I know they are not eating junk as a replacement. But when the pressure is on to have “average weights” then there is a temptation to replace the good foods with ones you know your children will wolf down – pizza for instance, so they reach the target weights. Then it’s hard to revert back to proper food.

    Hopefully things have changed.

    Oops I went off at a tangent there.

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