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Losing the Baby Weight and Finding a Whole New Self! -Hunters

Food and weight have been issues for me dating...

Food and weight have been issues for me dating back to my teenage years. I remember starting to develop hips and curves and being completely freaked out when I was fourteen years old. I wasn't overweight at five foot eight and 135 lbs, but I panicked when I started to see breasts and curves and the way my boyfriend started to look at me. I wanted to be a skinny little girl again. I started doing low impact aerobics and step aerobics and I quickly lost ten lbs. Encouraged by my early success, I started reading fitness magazines, looking for diet tips. Low fat diets were all the rage at the time (early 1990s), and I became a champ at following a low fat diet. I told my parents I was becoming a vegetarian, and adopted a very strict diet: toast with jelly or cereal with skim milk for breakfast, a yogurt and apple for lunch, and a plain baked potato with steamed veggies for dinner. I was such a brat to my mother...I would refuse to eat anything with the tiniest bit of butter or oil on it. At first she was impressed by my weight loss, being an experienced dieter herself. But her awe quickly turned to worry as I dropped more and more weight. In eight months, I managed to drop more than 35 lbs and weigh in at 99 lbs at five foot eight. I was not healthy. I stopped having my period, and I would get very agitated if I had to eat out or goto a party where food would be served. Although I was just in tenth grade, I started doing a lot of cooking for my family so I could control the ingredients. I was completely obsessed with food and weight loss...I even kept journals with pictures of food that I had cut out from magazines. I dreamed about food. At my lowest weight, I started having insomnia, waking up at three or four in the morning with my stomach growling. It hurt to lay in bed, because my hip bones felt like they were poking through my skin. I snuck out to the drugstore and bought sleeping pills to help me sleep through the hunger pangs, but it didn't work. Eventually I started getting up earlier and earlier to eat my tiny breakfast. I knew I couldn't go on without sleep, and I started allowing myself a little bit more to eat. My parents were thrilled to see me eating, as they had been begging me to gain weight or see a counselor. Once I started to gain weight back, they thought I was "cured" but the truth was that I had no idea what I was doing. More than a year of starving myself meant that I had totally lost touch with how a person should eat, and how it felt to feel full. When no one was watching me, I would binge on carbs and sweets, unable to control my appetite. Then I would feel awful and bloated and try to exercise the calories off or starve myself to make up for the binge. From a low of 99 lbs, by the time I went off to college, I was weighing in at 175 lbs. I hated the cycle that I was in, of binging and starving and still gaining weight, but I felt helpless to change anything. I was too ashamed to ask for help. I went off to college out of state, promising myself that it would be different there, and it was. Living in a dorm, I didn't have instant access to my mother's stocked pantry. I could only binge of I intentionally left my room and bought food to binge on...and sometimes I did. The vending machine in my dorm had great junk food..
honey buns, carrot cake, candy bars, and Bugles were my favorites. And Pop Tarts! For some reason even now, sixteen years later, I remember sneaking downstairs early in the morning and buying snacks and feeling so elated and so ashamed all at once. Sometimes I walked around campus and bought PopTarts and muffins from different stores so they wouldn't know what a pig I was. Even so, with all the walking I was doing, I started to lose weight and feel better mentally, even though I was occasionally binging. I met a boy halfway thru my first semester and started spending a lot of time with him. He was amazing and supportive, and I told him a little about my struggles with food. I never binges when we were together, and I started to lose more weight and develop a healthier relationship with food. The ironic thing was...my history of successfully losing weight meant that I knew a lot about nutrition and how to lose weight...I just had to reign in my emotions and figure out how to stop binging.I ordered healthy meals when I ate out with my boyfriend, and we cooked healthy meals at home. I still binges on occasion, but pretty rarely. By the time I went off to graduate school, I had lost thirty pounds and weighed in at 145 lbs. I was able to maintain my weight at 145 lbs from age 20 - age 23, when I became pregnant with my first child, even though I would binge occasionally. Once I became pregnant with her, I was very sick with morning sickness and initially lost weight, down to 138 lb. I remember standing on the scale and thinking how ridiculous it was that I had struggles with my weight for years, and was finally at my lowest weight during pregnancy! I eventually did gain about thirty pounds and deliver a healthy girl. I never binges again after I got pregnant with her. It was like nourishing another human being healed me, ams taught me how to nourish myself. I easily returned to 145 lbs after she was born. I never worries about my weight...I was much too busy being a new mom and grad student, and I loved being able to eat when I was hungry and stop when I was full. When my first daughter was seventeen months old, I became pregnant with my second child. Her pregnancy was easier than the first, and I gained weight quickly. I loved eating. By the week before her due date, I steppes on the scale and saw 198 lbs. I was shocked that I had gotten so close to 200 lbs. I vowed not to weigh myself again until after her birth. When I did weigh myself after we came home, I was amazed that I was already down to 168 lbs. She had been a big baby and I had been retaining a lot of fluid. Still, I was used to weighing 145, so I felt huge. I vowed to lose my baby weight the healthy way...exercising and eating nourishing foods. When my daughter was five weeks old, I started doing low impact aerobics and yoga, and eventually I added in step aerobics, weight training, and running. I tried doing the South Beach diet, but by the fifth day of phase one (very low carbs) I was too weak to do aerobics. I vowed not to "diet" but to eat mindfully and eat more whole grains, veggies, and fresh fruit. I paid attention to when I was full and I would never eat when I wasn't hungry...even if my mother in law wanted me to! I made sure to work out every morning when the girls napped, and take them on a walk every afternoon. I really feel that my pregnancies and motherhood gave me a new lease on life...a reason to be truly HEALTHY and not just thin.

I re-read my review after publication, and...

I re-read my review after publication, and realized that auto-correct changed a lot of my past tense verbs into present tense! Hope you can look past it! Some of the grammar sounds like English is my second language! Sorry ladies!
Thank you for sharing your story. I have had food issues my whole life, too. Dating back to my teenage years. Did lots of things for many years in the name of staying thin. And I was--but not healthy. Now at age 47, I eat right, work out 5-6 times a week and I am healthier than I have ever been in my life. The decision to make the tt is from a lifelong desire. Now that I am fit and thin.......I want the tummy to go with it. The tummy that having six kids made impossible. lol. I, too, am grateful for my struggles......I do not take being healthy for granted. I worked hard to get to this place. I wish you the best!!!!! Are you on the Nov. 13 board? Hoe to keep up with your journey!
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Ooops, I just saw your review and that you are a Nov. 2012 tt! Congratulations!!! You look fabulous!
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Loved reading your story :) Thanks for sharing.
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