I am one of three children and come from a mostly Italian family. You know what that means?!?! That means FOOD was the center of everything. If you are happy, sad, celebrating or just an ordinary day...it is all about the FOOD.
I didn't really have problem with my weight until I was 11/12 years old. That doesn't mean at the ripe old age of 7 I was not critical of my body and taking notice of different shapes and sizes around me. I was comparing myself and really started to dislike how I looked. I was super critical and started to become very self-conscious.
When I was 11 I was hospitalized for some breathing issues. I was put on steroids to help with some of symptoms. Those steroids wreak havoc on your body at any age. At 11 years it couldn't have been the worst time. I started put on a lot of weight. My self conscious became full on HATE the way I looked. I cannot recall how much I gained in one year, but it was a lot. My horrible eating habits I used to be able to get away with. Now those carb loving, vegetable hating and meager protein eating habits did not do me well. The weight started to pack on like no other! I hated who I was...who I was becoming and what I looked like. I was still active. I figure skated. I played softball, but I was the "big girl." I was called the "athletic build." I hated everything about me and I really started to not only hate my body, but hated my face. I didn't see anything pretty about me.
Bring on high school...
I never lacked friendships and I had boyfriends, but the discomfort with my body grew. I remember at 16 I started limiting my food intake and not eating. I started passing out. I was so insecure. That feeling was AWFUL...it is still AWFUL. I was the classic yo-yo dieter. I went to a private high school. In our junior year we didn't have to wear our uniform skirts. The "in" thing was to wear Abercrombie khakis. At that time the largest size was a 10/12. I remember I hated being in their largest size. I hated hanging with my friends as they were all the same size and wearing a 2/4. I couldn't partake in sharing clothes. I was sad and my focus was ALWAYS on my weight. I was the fat girl. I felt like the felt. My weight was my world.
I did not want to gain the freshmen 15. I worked out daily, ate salads and was a freak about my weight. I lost 15lbs my freshmen year. I looked and felt my greatest my freshmen year of college.
Sophmore year was great too, but the weight started to creep up. Before I knew it, I graduated college and I was the largest I had ever been. I was gross. I was fat. There wasn't a day that I didn't think about my weight.
I had a lot of things in life go on. A childhood friend passed away. My great grandparents who were my world passed away within 3 months of each other. I really turned to food. I was also in a relationship that wasn't very healthy. I ballooned up.
Starting my first job...
I started my first job and I remember going shopping with my and I couldn't find clothes and I was the largest I had ever been. It was 2006. I was so excited to start my career yet I was feeling so awful about ME. I kept thinking what client would want to work with me. Not to mention I was in a relationship (looking back) that was not healthy. He would tell me...it is really simple just eat less and exercise more. Our whole relationship revolved around EATING. He proposed to me in 2007. I said yes! However, I was more down and out than ever and was so fat. My mom talked to me about lap-band surgery. She had a friend who had it done and told me that I should talk to the doctor. I went to the doctor and I wasn't quite a candidate, but they said if I can gain weight I would qualify and my insurance would pay for it. I was sold. I knew I could gain weight...hell I was good at gaining weight. I got approved. My soon-to-be-husband was not happy about me getting surgery. I was at my wits end. This was my ticket. I knew it wouldn't be an easy road, but I was doing.
I got the surgery. No one knew. I took a day off on a Thursday and Friday. I was back to work on Monday. I went to to support groups. I followed protocol for lap band surgery. I lost 80+ lbs. I looked fabulous for my wedding day. It was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. People think weight loss surgery is the easy way out....OH IT IS NOT!!! I had lap band in 2007. I struggled and had issues with it from day 1. Did I lose weight? Yes. Was I happy? No. Was I sick almost every day? Yes. What do I mean by sick? I mean throwing up every day. Sometimes water wouldn't stay down. I saw bariatric doctor after bariatric doctor. What was I told? I was told that I was a rare statistic for lap band. I had done so well with my weight loss that I need to get over feeling sick. I should just stick to a liquid diet. Food was always my focus. I could I stick to a liquid diet and be social. I could I live a normal life and not eat food.
I struggled. I kept the lap band in. I threw up almost every meal. It was a victory if I kept food down. I had a baby in 2010. I got divorced in 2012.
Finally in 2018, I was getting so sick to the point I could not sleep at night. I was throwing up stomach acid. I could feel my insides eroding. I went back to the surgeon. He agreed that the band had likely slipped and possibly eroded into my stomach. In August of 2018, I had it removed. I was scared to death. I hated being sick every day but the thought of putting on more weight terrified me. I had no choice ...the band needed to come out and it did.
Here I am today, after 11 years of a horrible relationship with food and 31 years of an identity I need to get rid I am struggling. I am struggling to find my new normal. I am struggling to lose weight. I am struggling to be happy in my own skin.
The irony of this all....
I have a GREAT life. Yes, not just saying it. I am happy and grateful...it is truly just this one thing. I have an amazing son, fabulous career, nice house and great life. The one thing that I think is holding me back from not just having a GREAT life but a FABULOUS life. I also think that until I conquer this break up with my old identity and my break up with food...I am not able to welcome a healthy loving companion/partner/future spouse into my life.
I know the next chapter awaits on this journey. I am ready. I have been so raw and vulnerable and I think that is part of the journey to my healing is letting all this out...