My mom used to go on about what a cute baby I was, but I don't see it. Supposedly I won a beautiful baby contest around this time and all I can say is I must have had some ugly competition, because I look at this picture and see "grumpy old man in bikini" but...whatever. This was the first and last time I was ever in a bikini. My favorite uncle walked 7 miles to buy this at our local Winns, the cute little sandals were courtesy of him as well. Thank you Uncle for giving me this one fleeting moment in a bikini, I will cherish it always.
I'm not including any other pictures from my childhood...mainly because I was too lazy to dig them out of the dark recesses of the hope chest in my closet. Just know that my first diet started somewhere aroung the age of 6 when I started to "fill out" and the yo-yo continued as I passed through various stages of chubby. I started to really get fat in middle school and by the time I graduated college, I weighed 313 lbs.
Shortly after graduating, I got a job and met my future husband. Although we were almost inseparable friends for the next two years, I think I had fallen for him almost at first sight. Sure that we were soulmates, yet also sure he was not currently in the market for a 300 lb girlfriend, I started Nutrisystem and eventually shed about 80 lbs over a 6 month period. I never got below 218, but I was working out like a fiend and got in probably the best shape of my life.
E and I eventually started dating and while I wanted everything to be perfect, inside I still felt 300 lbs. I hated everything about myself. I would look at the saggy stomach and see disgusting fat that I still hadn't lost. All the dieting and gaining of weight in my teen years left me with breasts that were hardly perky anymore. I was as embarrassed and ashamed of my body as I ever was, if not more so. Even in the early stages of our relationship, I felt a disconnect from E. There was *something* a wall or barrier he never let me get past and I couldn't figure out why. I surmised that it was just because I wasn't good enough in some way. Part of me assumed it was my body, but part of me felt like it was something deeper than that. Something about ME made me fundamentally unlovable and I just had to resign myself to the fact that I would have to be content with whatever he did feel like sharing with me.
This is what I looked like around this time:
NOTES that you can't read:
Pic Left: At an Academic Awards Ceremony getting an award for my smartitude.
Pic right: Probably going out to dinner with E. As you can see I wasn't lying about the hair product
Middle pic: First, I would like to say that I did NOT pose for this pic. I think E took it after a party at my place; hence the glazed look in my eyes. I use it because its about the only full body shot I could find. This is when I thought I was hideously huge. I'd give anything to look like that again.
Bottom left: Late night PJ party with Jennifer and Fifi. Note the peppermint schnaps on the edge of the bed. Were we really drinking it straight? :P
Bottom right: My God daughter and I on her first birthday.
Now, as you can see I was never “skinny” but I wasn’t the fatty boombalatty I saw in the mirror either. I really wish I could have looked in the mirror and congratulated myself on all that I had accomplished on getting healthy and fit. Instead, the self loathing and fear of returning to the "monster" I was before morphed into a pretty nasty bout with bulemia. I was obsessed with every morsel I put in my mouth. I could look at a plate and in seconds calculate the calories and fat. It made me physically ill to watch my mother ingest anything that contained more than 6g of fat; I would have to leave the room. I was also exercising like a fiend; working out every single day doing at least an hour of cardio and an hour of weights and sometimes coming back for a class of some kind. I look at these pictures now and feel so sorry for the "me" I was then.
I eventually got pregnant by E, we had a quicky wedding. I gained about 60 lbs with my pregnancy, but lost about 30 of that after I had T. Since then, our lives have been a rollercoaster first coping with almost losing T to meningitis at 15 months and after, learning to cope with the side effects of that illness. When you look at the next group of pics, you will see a woman out of control, yet constantly trying to get that control back. I no longer had the urge to purge. The birth of my son had just re-set my priorities and somehow I never went back to my bulimic lifestyle. Unfortunately, the binging didn't stop. The next decade would be riddled with traumatic events and sprinkled with failed diet attempts. I joke now that I'm wearing the last 10 years on my body. Unlike drug abuse or alcoholism, abusing food isn't something you can hide. Like most emotional/stress eaters, there is a story for every pound of the 300 lbs I currently have to lose.
The following are all "before" pics, sadly there are no skinny after pics because I usually would lose a few pounds, get lost in some personal drama, fall off the wagon and pack it back on plus a few more before I'd try another diet and the whole cycle would start over again.
Top: September 26, 2001 and the start of my HMR fast. I think I weighed about 375 in these pics? Maybe more.
Bottom: one month later and down 36 lbs! About a month after these pics were taken, I would learn doctors had found a lesion on my mother's lung. This would derail my efforts once again.
As it says in the photo, this diet was derailed at the news my mother had lung cancer. She died 11 months later. This is my grandfather and I dressed for her memorial service. I'm sure I was over 400 lbs in this photo. The before and after pics of T break my heart. This is when he crossed the line into obesity as well.
The next group of pictures was probably my last ditch effort to lose weight to save my marriage. I began to feel E slipping away from me. At this point, we had probably stopped having sex altogether, but really up to this point sex between us had been limited to once or twice a year all at my initiation. Again, I blamed myself the entire time. The only thing was, he almost seemed upset with me for wanting to lose weight. His entire personality changed. He stopped wanting to spend time with me or T and I began to see a side to him that I had never known. At some point, after a brief period of success that seemed to make no difference, I gave up again and sank deeper and deeper into a depression.
Notes: These were taken in 2005 after getting inspired by Discovery's "New Body Challenge." All three of us; Me, T, and E sat down and made banners where we could tick off our weight loss. We drew things that represented what we wanted to be able to do when we lost weight. I probably weighed a bit less than where I am now. The bottom pics show me down about 20 lbs.
Please don't hold the green plaid shirt against me. I probably got it on clearance during some online shopping. There should be NO plaid for the obese. Whoever designed it must have something against fatties.
Ok, last but not least, the pics that were taken just a few days ago. It was hard looking at them, but It has really helped to do this post as boring as it must be for those of you reading. Its forced me to look at my attempts, what motivated them, what caused me to fail. I hope that this will help me finally be successful in this attempt. Showing these pictures is truly like ripping a band-aid off, but it needs to be done. I can't keep living in a closet pretending that I'm not as fat as I am if nobody sees me.
So there you have it. My official before picture. I didn't want to smile because I hate the way my eyes disappear when I do, but I decided that for once, I'm happy about making this change for ME and nobody else. On a side note: I think I'm the only person in the world with a fat forehead. You know it's time for a change when you start thinking about "liposucting" your head.
And now, the moment you have all been waiting for *drum roll please* (Nick, that's your cue)...as of today, I have officially lost 10 lbs!!! Granted, thats mostly water and I don't expect it to continue to come off that quickly, but I'll take it. I was so excited to step on my scale and see 450 lbs (the weight limit on my scale is 450) that I jumped off and on about four times. THEN, I grabbed the phone book to make sure it wasn't just stuck at 450 lbs. With the phonebook, the scale said "OL" which I'm sure means "Over Limit." Get rid of the phone book and I was back to 450!!! I wasn't going to continue tempting fate so I decided to take that as my first official weigh in loss. Check back next Monday to see what crazy number I'm down to next.
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