Throughout my youth I was a chubster—a voracious snacker with a love of buffets and only stomach-ache as my limiting factor. My mother used food as a reward, and as I was a good child with high grades, I got mounds of homemade macaroni, pizza, and other favorites shoveled my way. The weight kept piling on, whilst I had little consciousness about the food I was consuming and the health I was losing each bite of the way. By high school I found myself utterly alone, suicidal, self-hating, weighing in at something near 245 pounds. Over the next four years, however, much changed as I joined an ivy league college and was surrounded by people who ate *much* less than I did. Out of sheer social convention, I think, I lost twenty or so pounds. The other ten was lost when I joined Weight Watchers, which coincided with working with a therapist for my depression as well as taking a Nutrition course. But still, at 215 pounds when I graduated, I was not "at-home" in my body, and the stigma of being "fat" stayed with me, deeply ingrained, keeping me mousy and self-deprecating.
Eventually, in grad school in New York City, I was able to latch onto some dieting and exercise long enough to burn off another 15 pounds. Finally, at 200, I started to feel some semblance of comfort, but still I did not feel "myself"—clothes, for instance, was still dictated more by size than by choice.
After graduating with an MFA in Poetry and moving to Boston, I found myself lost—without school, without a job, living off the support of a good friend and my parents, I began to feel suicidal again. But something happened—I don't know what—and a fire for survival was lit in myself, and in the summer months of 2010 I lost 30 pounds by a heard-earned routine of daily jogging, moderation, focus, and resolve.
I had never run in my life, but here I worked my way up to three miles a day. As the muscle tone shone through my body and the weight seemed to fall off, I added even more exercise to the routine, usually Jillian Michaels' Biggest Loser videos. By my third month, I was jogging three miles in the morning and doing one hour of Jillian in the late afternoon—By the end of the summer I weighed 170—the lowest weight of my adult life.
Who was I?
How do I get back the singular strength and resolution of that summer? I remember how vital I felt. Even being still overweight, I felt comfortable in my body. I felt strong, active, full of energy. How did I slip from that place?
Well, employment was the first thing. I got a job, finally, at the end of the summer—a demanding restaurant job with a long commute attached. I no longer had the time for my extreme exercise plan, besides, working as a cook I had constant access to delicious food. I snacked all through my shifts, had no time or energy for exercise, and over the year gained back some 15 pounds or so. But as time went on, I began slipping back into my undisciplined, lazy, self. And the pounds came back.
Now I am here, laying on my couch brimming with regret, self-loathing, a sense that I'm stuck. There is such a despair in my heart, but I am warding it off in writing this narrative of myself, of making this new start—
-Exercise on a regular basis
-Eat a healthy vegan diet that includes lots of raw vegetables and whole foods
-Eat in moderation, without greediness or haste
I am calorie-counting until my voracious appetite adjusts to something more dependable
Hometown: Portland, OR
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Secrets of Success
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| current weight: 208.0