Wednesday, August 4, 2010

By The Grace of God...I Stopped In Time

This is something a lot of you may not know about me, but it's time I told you. I was once on my way to developing a serious eating disorder. You probably would never have known it by looking at me, but I took on a lot of bad habits...all in the quest for thinness.

It started after I graduated from high school. I decided to lose weight, being that I was 5'4" and 188 pounds. I was so tired of being the "fat" girl. I started exercising, my mom and I worked on healthier meals, and I lost 65 pounds along the way. I could fit into the more stylish clothes and shop at the stores my friends went to. Everyone complimented me on my svelte new figure. End of story, right? Not a chance.

The problem was...while I started out doing things the healthy way, somewhere on that journey I became obsessed with the number on the scale and how I looked in the mirror. If I lost weight all was right with the world, but if I gained a little or stayed the same it felt like nothing was right in my life. I started eating very little...I was never down to just eating lettuce but I subsisted on 800 calories or less a day. One day I happened to have 1300 calories and was scared that I ate too much. I exercised in the mornings for half an hour before work, and then every evening I would work out some more, for at least an hour but sometimes more than 2 hours. There were a lot of times I passed up chances to go out and have fun, becaue I HAD to get all of that exercise in. When I did go out and enjoy myself, if I saw a couple of pounds creep back on (and of course I had to weigh myself the morning after a night out because I was anxious) I would eat even less. For a while I started having just popcorn for dinner, because I read in a magazine that one of my favorite athletes did that whenever he needed to get his weight back down. I would always tell my parents that I just wasn't that hungry yet and would eat something else a little later. They believed me and figured that since I never really looked overly thin, I must have been just eating on a different schedule.

This all kept up until I met the boyfriend who is now my husband. When we started going out, I would just keep up the old pattern of popcorn for dinner after indulging. Pretty soon I was seeing that even though I was at what is considered "ideal" for my height at 123 pounds, it was hard to keep it there naturally. I always felt I needed to go to extremes to stay there. When a few pounds came back on, I was upset and did something I never thought I'd do. I started using laxatives. I began with the most popular brand, pretending that I was eating a piece of chocolate candy. I would take it first thing on Monday morning, and by noon I was in the restroom eliminating everything I had eaten. Soon once a week wasn't enough, and I was up to using it three times a week. When my body started to feel weird, I switched to what was the supposedly kinder, gentler laxative for women. It helped a little, but it wasn't really that much "gentler". I felt weak a lot of times, but still kept up my exercise schedule as much as I could.

Nobody really knew about the laxatives, because I was very secreative about it. I would walk up to the 7-Eleven on the corner during a work break, buy the laxatives, and hide them in my purse. I would always buy something else like a snack or magazine as well, so it wouldn't look like I went to the store and came back with nothing. If anyone suspected, they didn't say anything to me about it. I was pretty careful, so I think most of them didn't even think twice.

After about 4 1/2 months of using laxatives, I strating reading articles and seeing shows about girls who had problems with anorexia and bulimia. I am forever thankful to God that I was scared enough at that point to quit on my own without intervention. No more laxatives...and I started eating more normally. I was still unhappy about the number on the scale going up, especially when a lot of people would comment that I was putting on weight. I was just no longer willing to use these tactics to keep my weight down.

As you can see from my Diets That Didn't Work series, I still tried several different methods to lose the weight again. When they didn't work, I would get depressed and go to the other extreme of binging. This caused my weight to go up further, and I latched onto the promise of extreme weight loss that Biggest Loser shows on TV. NOT GOOD...even though I have adopted healthier habits, that show made me start those old thinking patterns again...that you need to exercise for several hours a day and that you've failed if you don't lose at least 10 pounds every week. I am also grateful to God that He got me away from that before I started acting on those thoughts.

While I still would like to lose some weight, it's going to come off the healthy extremes. My body will settle at the weight it's supposed to be through sensible eating and exercising, with everything in balance. I love myself for who I am right now, and I always will no matter what. I no longer wish for that "magic" number of 123 on the scale. I am living my life more now than I ever did at that number, because I was always so worried about staying there. Now I actually live and enjoy each moment, which is how it's supposed to be. I am more than a number on a scale...and now I really feel alive!


Jay said...

Wonderful post... Very informational and educational as usual!

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