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History Matters

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I'm the family historian. I accumulate all the old photos, nick-knacks, and stories. Looking back through those old photos from the 1920s, 30s, etc. One thing becomes obvious, weight has always been a problem for both sides of my family. To compound my own genetics my childhood was less then ideal.
Every family has a few rough patches, however, it seemed that all of my family's rough patches decided to hit at once. Between my first birthday and my 10th: my eldest cousin was killed in a car accident, my grandfather died of lung cancer, one of my older brothers (M) began getting into trouble with drugs, my mother had her first (and not last) heart attack, my father (the bread-winner) suffered a back injury which forced him into early retirement, which cut our family income to nearly nothing and left him in constant pain which lead (of course) to alcoholism, two of my Dad's oldest friends passed away unexpectedly less then a year apart, and I was sexually assaulted by a boy from next door. Needless to say, my childhood was a bit stressful. So I learned to stuff my emotions down deep. When I could no longer stuff my emotions, I followed my parent's example and began to weigh the emotions down with food. That created a vicious cycle of bullying, followed by eating and sedentary isolation in front of a TV. Being fat was such a constant in my life that I couldn't think of myself as anything else. I didn't even try to lose weight.
In 2004/2005 I decided to change. My brother (T) and his wife (B) had decided to go on Atkins. They told me about it and I decided to go for it. For an entire year I followed the diet and exercise like a religion. I lived on step one for a year. I never ate so many veggies or worked out so much in my life. And it worked, I lost over 75lbs. I was 15lbs away from my goal weight of 135lbs.
But even as I saw the changes in my pant size, I didn't really see the changes in me. When I looked in the mirror I only saw how much farther I had to go, and not how far I'd come. I kept waiting to wake up in my old, fat body. That summer I studied abroad in Italy (yes, the girl on the low carb diet went to the land where carbs were invented ;) ). Even there, in my new body, in a new land, I felt like the "Fat American Tourist".
Hiking the streets in Italy managed to keep the weight off, but my habits were broken. I was back to eating carbs and avoiding the gym.
Back in the states, without the streets to climb, the weight returned, and brought 15 new friends. That's when I realized that I was more comfortable back in my fat body. It was my shield, my excuse. As long as I was fat I didn't have to put myself out there. I didn't have to bother making new friends, "because who wants a fat friend?" (that's what I told myself). I was the same insecure person, just in a smaller pant size. If I was going to change I'd need to start with my head. So I started seeing a therapist to work out my childhood issues and my adult insecurities. I have a ways to go but I think it's finally time to "drop my excuse". I can face this world with my "armor" because my strength is in-here.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Good for you! You did what many people will never do - you realized that the most important thing you needed to work on was INSIDE, and then actively worked on changing your thoughts (one of the HARDEST things to change!). Your strength IS inside, and if you've had the courage and determination to work on that, there isn't a challenge out there that you can't overcome.
    2107 days ago
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