I love the mastermind behind JourneyBeyondSurvival. Honestly, I think that the blog is amazing, I love it and I was SO excited when JBS produced this photo essay of their battle with weight. Her honesty, insight and written words it worth a read. Thank you JBS, you are truly an amazing woman.
When I was twelve I was five foot, eleven inches and one quarter. I was the tallest person in the school excluding only one male teacher, and I kicked the boys’ butts in basketball every recess. I really did. I have their names if you want them.
When I was almost 14 my picture was taken for Jr. High graduation. I’ve obviously gained a significant amount of weight. My parents were having the rockiest time in their marriage. But I attributed it at the time to being finished growing and my metabolism changing young.
I lost weight at fifteen through exercise and no second helpings. I was a kid, so I kept it simple. I did cardio for 30 minutes 5 times a week before anyone else woke up. To really see results I cut out sugar. I had no real concept of how I looked. My body image was fairly positive, I just knew I was overweight. I easily maintained the same pants size (my parents had no scale) until my first year of college when I gained the freshmen 25 pounds. Or a pants size in my case.
After my first year of college I broke up with my first love. I was philosophically and rationally correct to do doing so. But I was completely heartbroken. I was at my lowest weight in this picture, and this is the first time I remember a weight. 155. I ran 6 miles a day three times a week and 3 miles two to three other days. I also walked a lot to the university, which was probably another 4 miles. I just remember exercising and being alone helped the pain.
I moved and got a job to pay for school. Calming down quite a bit created a better environment for me. I gained up to a comfortable range of 165-170 and I found a new love.
I gained up to 175 to 180. I felt like a whale, but knew I was minimally overweight. It helped my body confidence tremendously to see myself through his eyes. It was enlightening to follow his delighted eyes to my worst asset.
After I got married, I had an identity crisis. I lived in an unfamiliar part of town across the country from family. I wasn’t in school as I’d planned. I was paying for a house I hadn’t really wanted. Compromise was difficult. I had no idea who this person was with my first name and my social security number. I felt lost.
Things got better when I went back to school. But I soon got pregnant. We were elated, but I react badly to hormone surges. The weight packed on.
I don’t remember how much I gained. I blocked it out. It was too much. I was at 230 something when I gave birth. I lost about 30 pounds before I had Beansprout. I gained to around 230 again and lost that pesky 30 pounds again without too much work. Then, I got down to business.
Ten months later I was at my goal weight of 165 pounds. It took an hour of working out every single day and cutting out sugar. I also reduced my serving size and limited myself to one serving. I maintained it well for six months and got pregnant with Chickadee.
The pregnancy went well. I ended it at 217. That is less than I weighed at the beginning of this year. I made it down to 180 without trying. Lactiation postpartum is an awesome weightloss helper. Besides, losing weight restrictively is not recommended while lactating. I was happy. I thought another ten pounds once Chickadee weaned and I was good. 165 had been a little too high maintenance for me, and I wanted something I was capable of maintaining. I thought 170 was a good shot, and it was within healthy ranges.
I went crazy. Well, the sterile term is psychosis, but it sounds worse to me. Chickadee had undiagnosed Rett Syndrome and nobody believed me that there was anything wrong. I spent ten days in the hospital and left it fifteen pounds heavier. I tried to eat healthy when I got out of the hospital. I hoped it was water retention. But it wasn’t . This coupled with another ten pounds of weight gain in the first month afterward deepened my depression. I felt dead.
This is the first time I experienced the full blown chronic depression. It was hard to live one minute, let alone a day. My belief system has never made suicide sound like a way out. I’m amazed that I made it through that time-supervised as I was medically and personally-relatively unharmed and intact.
Chickadee only got worse. It was a terrible thing to watch. It still is. I did not get much beyond digging out to the surface. This is where the title for ‘alter ego’ came from. I was in survival mode. Going through the motions. Getting by.
It’s interesting what happened to my life while I was getting by. I found myself 50 odd pounds overweight. Feeding my family whatever took the least thought. Disengaged from society, from family. Trying not to disrupt the precarious balance of my chaos. Trying not to live too hard.
I woke up.
I realized Chickadee wasn’t getting better. Hospital day trips lasting 15 hours or more were simply a reality I had to deal with. Twelve to fourteen times a year. Chickadee might get worse. I have a handicapped child. We come with an entourage of 5 therapists weekly. She has seven specialists that have charts and tests and appointments.
I have two other children.
It’s hard to wake the slumbering giant. Especially if I’m not sure I can tame the beast. So, I slowly began to try. I can do little things. Tiny things. I didn’t know if they would make a difference, and quite frankly I didn’t care if they did. I just wanted to act.
I sew. Rather, I sewed. My dear Hubbend had been nudging me to get back to one of my old passions. So, over Christmas vacation he took the kids for an hour or so every day that week. I made myself a beautiful skirt that would flatter my curves. I had only a crappy ugly skirt to wear and it made me feel bad each time we went to church and I dragged it on.
I got excited about my skirt.
I bought the pattern in the biggest size it came in. I also cut it out a full size bigger than that. I’m just awesome that way and I know how. I knew that this pattern company runs small, but I wasn’t too concerned because I was making a skirt 4 full sizes bigger than my pants size at the time.
I couldn’t get the stupid thing on. Really.
After a lot of private tears in the bathroom, I came out of it to share a few embarrassed ones with Hubbend. It really ticked me off after a while. Hubbend saw how upset I was, that I was embarrassed as I told him I felt like we had both wasted our time during vacation. He suggested I just buy a new skirt.
That, my friends, is what we call a turning point. That skirt is my goal item. I’ve lost 28 pounds and it still doesn’t fit! It wasn’t just the skirt. I prayed. A lot. That helps me. I blogged. A lot. That saves me. But, it was little things and tiny changes.
It’s all I can handle. My plate is awful full. But, it doesn’t hurt to try. Even if it doesn’t work, even if it doesn’t fit it DOES
change my life.