While growing up, I paid no attention to how much I weighed. We had a scale in the house and I’m sure I got on it, but probably only to weigh myself after Thanksgiving dinner to see if I packed in enough food to gain weight.
I paid no attention to what I ate either. I could eat an entire Little Caesar’s pizza by myself (no, I’m not exaggerating). I didn’t pay attention to calories. I didn’t know (or care) what an “empty” calorie was.
I didn’t count calories. I didn’t eat 5 fruits and vegetables a day. I didn’t eat much protein. I just ate. Whatever.
But I’ve always been active. Always been athletic. I have four brothers and I’m pretty sure I was half boy growing up. I lived to play steal-the-flag and tackle football. We even formed our own NFL with coaches, a draft, practices, pamphlets full of plays, and scheduled games. I’m pretty impressed with our creativity and organization with that.
When I was 11, I begged and begged my parents to let me play tackle football. I may have even written an essay explaining why this was a good idea. Mom didn’t agree. It was one of the few times in my life she gave me an emphatic “no”. Instead, I decided to play soccer. Little did my mom know there was almost as much contact in soccer, only no pads.
Through middle school and high school, I gave no thought to what went in my mouth. And I played soccer. But I did not enjoy running just for the sake of running. Who runs just to run? And why?
And then I went to college and things changed. I don’t remember how, or why. But I suddenly became very aware of went in my mouth. And by aware I mean, not very much went in my mouth. I lost a lot of weight. I was never over weight necessarily. Average I guess. But when I decided to stop eating most food, the weight peeled off. And I became a shell of the person I once was.
I used to measure my cheerios in the morning so I only had exactly one cup. I ate 3 jelly beans for lunch that I would space out over a half of an hour. Every day at work, I’d have those 3 jelly beans in my pocket and that’s what I would eat. 2 whites ones and a pink one.
People started noticing. And it’s nice when people notice. When they say “wow, you look great”. So it continues.
I wouldn’t call myself anorexic. Not because that would embarrass me or because I’d be ashamed, but I don’t think it’s accurate. I did eat. And when I looked in the mirror, I didn’t think I was fat. I knew I was thin. But I really liked being thin. Too thin.
But the problem was, I was just thin. And I was barely eating anything. And I wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t nourished. I wasn’t strong. I was just…..thin.
In the middle of my college career, I decided to do a semester abroad in Israel. And that’s where things started to swing the other way. And the weight started creeping back on. Turns out chocolate is really good in Israel and so is the bread. And the pastries. And the crepes. And the homemade donuts.
The weight continued to climb after I got home. But somehow I ignored it. Because I don’t weigh myself after all.
Then one day, my friends Grandpa saw me and asked “Did you quit playing soccer?” I tried to act like I didn’t know why he was asking. But I knew. Because old men don’t lie. He let me know in the most delicate way an old man knows how that I was “gettin’ up there”.
So for the first time in my life, when I was 22 years old I started to pay attention to what I ate. Only I didn’t really know what to eat. Or when to eat. Sounds silly since we’ve all grown up with the food pyramid chart our entire lives. But that still didn’t mean much to me in terms of controlling my weight. But more specifically about living a healthy, maintainable lifestyle.
It didn’t really help. I didn’t know what I was doing. And I get easily discouraged if things don’t immediately work. I want to see results, like, yesterday. This whole “enjoy the journey” stuff–yea, not me. I just want to be there.
So my weight and body size throughout my life has certainly fluctuated. My eating habits have gone from eating anything and everything, to eating almost nothing, back to eating anything and everything.
Having 4 babies had their impact as well. When I’m pregnant, anything goes. Pizza for breakfast, why not
And with each baby, I gained more weight each time. So by the time I was pregnant with my fourth baby, I gained almost 60 pounds. Six, Zero. Sixty Pounds. Why my doctor didn’t say “Slow down on the eating” I’ll never know.
But there I was. With 50ish pounds to lose (I had only lost 10 pounds after he was born). And I was sure I was done having babies (Oh please, God, agree with me on this one). So it was time. Time to do this the right way. The healthy way.
And so, I did.
To read Step 1 of getting healthy, click here.