There were many days that I woke up and before I even left the house to head to school I’d already had a bad day. Getting dressed when you can not fit into your clothes is hell. Pure Hell. You often have two options–one, you stuff yourself into your clothes hoping that you can make it work or two, you grab bigger jeans and bigger sweaters to cover your entire body. Neither works because the first one only allows others to see those not so tight fleshy areas and the second simply makes you look heavier anyway because of the extra clothes. So you end up compromising…settling for the easiest outfit possible even though in the mirror you don’t like the way you look. Then so much time is spent trying to find clothes that you become behind for the morning and are now rushing to keep from being late, which gives you less time with your hair and makeup. And the healthy breakfast that you possibly swore you were going to eat that morning is not possible so you know you are just going to be starving by break at school and will inevitably pick the worst snack possible.
I’m sure there are many other reasons that mornings can be rough, but this was my life during my heavy days. And the worst part of it is that no one truly knows the anguish that you’ve already felt by 8:00 AM. I remember walking into choir (first period) many times already trying desperately to hold back my tears and then suddenly I had to try and smile for everyone otherwise risk making anyone else think badly of me.
Every time I sat in a chair I would watch my back to make sure that my folds of fat wouldn’t hang over it and that in the position that I sat, my legs didn’t look wide otherwise I would keep my backpack over my legs. It’s amazing how we can wrap ourselves with a blanket of insecurity without any one around doing it for us. This was all me. I had an idea of perfection and I didn’t match it in the slightest. No one forced me to think this way…it was all me.
There was one time when I was able to finally control my eating for a while. It started with a simple task my freshman year. I was going to cut my fat intake. So I began looking at packages of everything and searching for small amounts of fat. Nothing else mattered but this. Even though we now know that cutting your fat isn’t necessarily the best way to lose weight, it started to work for me because it simply made me more aware of what I was putting in my mouth. I knew that McDonald’s cheeseburgers were high in fat so I could no longer have them. At this time Taco Bell came up with a low fat burrito and I was ecstatic about that! My dad and I really liked the low fat cookies and snacks we could find so there were plenty of these things around the house.
After a few weeks I started to notice a difference. Then four months passed and I found that I looked even better. Suddenly I was able to wake up in the morning and pick out clothes that I wanted to wear. In fact, I got so excited about my smaller figure that I began wearing things that I never would have before. I was really into dresses and I found several that I simply cycled through the week. It was fun. By the end of my freshman year I was looking good and feeling good. Then summer school hit and for some reason my mind set began to warp a little. The farther I got in losing weight, the more I wanted. So instead of just being careful and picking healthier choices, I started cutting back on meals. Days were getting emptier and emptier in the food category. I was skipping breakfast every once in a while, and then it would be lunch. My body seemed to be less and less interested in food and more interested in the clothes that I wore and how I felt walking down the street.
I remember one day I was able to be okay with just half of a low-fat Taco Bell burrito. Something had taken hold of me and the small changes weren’t enough. I wanted bigger and more.
Another day I went a little crazy. I remember I walked beside a box of red vines and they called out to me. I wanted them so badly that I walked past them several times. Then I stood in front of the box and just stared at them. I was hungry because I hadn’t eaten anything all day. Finally I couldn’t hold back anymore. I grabbed one of the red vines and stuffed it in my mouth. I remember the feeling that I got from this surprised me. I couldn’t get enough. I couldn’t chew fast enough. The red vine couldn’t reach my stomach fast enough. To this day I’ve never experienced something so odd. I needed the satisfaction of this candy so badly.
That summer I felt so excited that I finally looked more like my friends in a bathing suit that I got a new one for beach camp. I still didn’t get up without putting on my shorts first, but laying down I could enjoy my body.
It wasn’t until I got home and realized that even though I was smaller, I was struggling. I was empty all the time and hungry all the time. I decided suddenly that I looked good therefore I would start eating a little bit again. Unfortunately because I had been hungry for a few months, everything became like the experience with the red vines. I couldn’t stop or get enough.
I look back on that now and wish that I had just known that the problem was that I had no balance. It was an extreme either way. I either was eating nothing or I was stuffing my face. I quickly gained the weight that I had lost back and more.
I remember one time being out with my parents friends we ate together all day. The wife of these friends, by the end of the day, commented on my eating habits when I stopped for a snicker’s bar just after eating heavily. She said, “it’s amazing how you can keep shoveling in the calories.”
I didn’t know what to say. She was right. I was shoveling in the calories. I was eating anything that I could get my hands on and every craving that I had, I would fill it. I didn’t know any other way.
Near the middle of my senior year in high school when I met that trainer that warned me about what I was drinking, I was trying to be good for this trainer and for Miss Tulare County. I was trying to stay away from sugar. I remember there was a bowl of Ricola cough drops out. I was so desperate for something sweet that I began sucking on these. I nearly ate the entire bowl of cough drops.
I’m trying to explain how completely controlled I was by my cravings. And the biggest thing is that this was all normal to me. I’d never known a life different.
I wish that I could give everyone an easy “get free” card from the craving monster. I wish that I could say there is a button on the back of your neck that makes these disappear. But I can’t. I might as well name and tag my Craving Monster because I think he’s here for good.
But what I can say is that through hard work, motivation, and inspiration you can learn to control this monster.
I hope that these stories show you that I was one of the worst. If someone had met me back then, they might not have felt like there was hope for me. In fact, I felt that way about me.
But over the years I have pushed, cried, pulled, cried, fought, cried, yelled, cried, and worked hard to break these cycles that I so easily fall into. This week I am going to write posts about some of the ways that I have beat this Craving Monster. So consider this a TO BE CONTINUED…
This week, let’s work on your craving monster. We all have one. The first thing I want you to do with him is name him. Draw a picture of your craving monster. Color him.
You think I’m kidding? Nope. Get to know your craving monster because if he is going to be in your life, then we need to become friends with him. It will help you. It will help him or her.
Tomorrow, a new post is coming and together we’ll learn to deal with this craving monster for good…
I’ve also created five, five minute workouts to attack every body part. You may do as many of them as you like or one a day. It doesn’t matter! The important thing is that you move! Five minutes is all you need to change your mental focus! So please, take five minutes and change your life!