I remember the first time I drank a TAB.
I was nine years old….let’s take a moment to think about that…..NINE!
Driving to the lake one summer with my sister and step siblings, we were all allowed to pick a treat from the liquor store. While the others were grabbing candy bars and chips, the overwhelming awareness of being chubby compared to everybody else compelled me to save some calories and get the diet beverage instead of the packaged chocolate cakes Hostess was doing the lords work with.
I remember being embarrassed to bring it to the counter but none the less determined to fit in with everybody else. If that meant a little ridicule from my peers at first, so be it. They were all naturally thin, with seemingly not a care in the world…eating what they wanted and not giving two shits about calorie content or serving sizes. I, however, learned that way of thinking so early on that it blows my mind and the following years would be a series of “more cake please” highs and “I’ll just have carrots and water” lows.
At home, I grew up with only girls. No big, macho men around. I do think this is one of the reasons for my body image view (one of many). With my physical size compared to the others, I felt like the macho man. Jesus, my mother was 115 pounds for God’s sake with killer legs and small feet! A piece of cheese was enough to bring her to that “I’m full” feeling. At 14, I literally dwarfed her in every way and needless to say, it was hard to feel like a petite flower. One sister was short and small and the other one was a stick… I undoubtedly towered over them all. Not only was I chubby, I was tall. Unusually taller than all of them. In a word, AmazonISH.
Thinking back it’s understandable where I got my “complex” from and the urge to shrink down to look like the others. I desperately hated being the big girl and the year before 9th grade was given a diet that would change my life, the way I thought about food and how I viewed my body and worth for many years to come.
Sparing you the frightening details, the diet was nothing less than starvation. I forced myself to stay on this plan over the summer, waking up at 5:30 a.m. to do the 20 Minute Workout with Bess Motta (google it, it’s amazing!) and eventually acclimating myself to so few calories that my mother’s cheese dinner would have put me over the edge with too much intake.
Entering my final year of Jr. High…I had done it. I WAS THIN!!! I felt amazing and I rejoiced in the attention I was getting for under-nourishing myself down to an “acceptable” not so humongous size. People either didn’t recognize me or went bonkers when they realized my accomplishment. That was all I needed to feel victorious. That was it …. I had done it and now I would be happy and life was set! YA HOOOOO!
Little did I know that that diet, combined with my success on it and the reaction and attention of others was a recipe for disaster! This led to insanity. Long stretches where I would eat whatever I wanted, meaning… I WANTED JUNK!!! Gradually tipping the scales to a point where my God I had to do something and the only answer was starvation….THAT BELOVED “DIET” that delivered the results and never let me down! A sure fire way to reverse the damage I had done with my free for all buffet of endless fun foods.
Although not eating WILL drop the pounds incidentally, not eating is NOT sustainable as we all know. It’s impossible to intake so few calories for long periods of time. The deprivation is what makes you swing 180 degrees back in the other direction and want anything and everything you see to go in your mouth…NOW.
Years of going up and down on the scale completely damaged my metabolism. It is a thing guys…that is actually what happens to you. When you starve, your body becomes used to that. So then what? How can you starve more? You can’t. You will just start eating. A lot. PERIOD. Starvation diets and yo-yoing are terrible things for your body, your mind and yes, your soul. If I knew that then, I would have never wandered down that path and I want to help anybody I can to NOT use this method.
We need to teach ourselves how to properly eat and move our bodies. Good choices and moderation are key. Teach your daughters that and they will be so much better off in the long run. It’s human to want to look like everybody else but it’s so much easier to eat right always than have half of the year be miserable with rice cakes and celery only. (I like both, but not one of each and that’s it for the day)!
I will be writing more on diets and what worked for me in the coming months. It is really very simple and I want to share my success. I still fluctuate when I indulge a bit too much, but now I have learned how to reign it in and get back to a place where I’m comfortable in my body. To see me today click here.
I’m not skinny, I have my flaws…things I’d love to change and things I have to make sure are always covered up….(eh he hem…my tummy for one) but I have learned that I don’t want to look like anybody else, and I have the power to be the best me I can. How amazing that is – that power is life changing.
Oh, and besides…cheese was never my thing anyway.