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  • The Struggle of a Lifetime

    March
    26
    2008

    diet progress overlay' class= As a young girl, she always felt fat. She was teased in grade school on the playground by the boys, and none of the cool girls would play with her. She internalized her rejection and over many years, it became self-hatred. “Thunder thighs” were disgusting. Fat was something you didn’t want to be. Unfortunately, she learned very early on that what people see on the outside is how you’re categorized as a person, but there wasn’t much she could do about it. The school didn’t teach anyone how to eat healthy, her parents didn’t take issue with what was going to become the biggest battle she’d ever fight. A fight for fitness.

    * * * * * * * * * * * *

    The all to common “love a person for who they are” phrase is beaten into everyone’s minds now more than ever. It is now used as an excuse, that it’s okay to be fat. What you are on the outside does not make who you are on the inside, but I’m here to tell you – it absolutely does. If you can’t look in the mirror without disgust, then there’s a problem. If your spouse keeps telling you they love you exactly as you are and your lifespan is very obviously going to be cut short by at least 20 years since you can’t walk across a room without catching your breath – then there’s a problem. There’s a problem with the perception that being overweight is okay – and there’s a problem with conveying that you’re okay with seeing someone you love dearly so desperately unfit and unhealthy.

    All my life, every single day, I’ve had this problem. I can recall from a young age hearing the words “if you don’t stop eating like that you’re going to look just like your Aunt …. ” the obese aunt. I remember going to bed at night and hearing the sounds of crinkling cookie wrappers – my parents downstairs having their nightly snack, which we didn’t get. That only made me want it more. I dove into buckets and packages and containers when my parents weren’t looking. I ate when I was frustrated, I ate because I was famished, I ate, and ate – and the one thing I did learn about food was that if it tastes good, eat it. If it’s really good, hide it and eat it in private – whatever you do, don’t share it.

    I was without a boyfriend, of course, since thunder thighs really weren’t cool. I compensated my insecurities in high school with humor. Sarcasm gave me the opportunity to put other people down lower than I felt myself. Of course I only did that in private, because I was only privately hating everyone who looked at me the wrong way.

    I grew to enjoy being on the outside, because the less involved I was with people, the less I hated them. I didn’t want to be angry all the time, especially since that just made me turn to food.

    When I met my husband while I was in high school, I weighed what I weigh today. Exactly, as a matter of fact.

    I wasn’t happy then, and I’m not happy now.

    It’s been 19 years now, full of ups and downs. I’ve tried every diet I could tolerate. I have taken pills and successfully lost weight – and successfully gained it back. I have purchased kits and subscriptions and my eyes still drool when I see instructions or magazines that claim to be able to help you drop 10 pounds in the next 2 days. My health has suffered, my bones have suffered, and my mind is in a haze. Not one single day has ever passed when I haven’t thought about my weight and wanted to see something better when I looked in the mirror. Not one single day has ever gone by without the thought “I am fat” entering my mind. I’ve felt good – and when I feel good I do feel a little success, and those words of encouragement make me soar inside. Still, though, I see fat – and I know I have a long way to go to achieve my goals.

    That photo above is an overlay of the past few years for me. When Mark left for Iraq in 2004 – I was at my absolute all time high, 233 pounds. I couldn’t walk from one side of my house to the other without panting. It took me weeks to get to the point where I could even go 2mph on my treadmill – let alone walk a full mile. The stress of his tour was a blessing and a curse – as I dropped weight like crazy, I was eating horribly and not learning a damn thing about health. All I wanted was for that fat to go away before he came home.

    Thankfully – it hasn’t returned. This past winter, though, has made me feel like if I don’t get serious – and stay serious, it is most definitely going to creep its way back on, and I will turn into a miserable, unhealthy and depressed person.

    I have the same problems that everyone else has.

    Motivation: Forcing myself to get on the treadmill and exercise.
    Time: Forcing myself to stay on for more than 10 minutes. Prepare meals from organic foods.
    Desire: I do not like pain or sweat. I have to learn to look at it differently.

    I also want what we all want – not to go it alone. To be one in a household of four who gives a crap about health and fitness isn’t good enough, and it is the primary reason for my bouts with failure as well as success. When other people care – I care. When they don’t, I don’t. Perhaps this is a hazard of being a woman and mother – we just want everyone else to be happy – and if that involved a giant pan of brownies with a side of ice cream, so be it.

    It’s not right. It’s not healthy, and that’s not what I want to teach my children. I feel like a health-nut/Nazi sometimes with my obsession to learn about foods and try to tell/teach people. I want everyone to want better for themselves, and it’s frustrating that people just, well, don’t care enough. I’m stuck in the mud, it seems, waiting for someone to pull me out and show me how to do it. How can I do what I need to do without allowing the negative influences and temptations to pull me off course? How can anyone?

    I want more. I want better. Better health than what I see and hear from my own parents and in-laws. I want longevity. Life. I am tired and frustrated when I hear that someone is sick and then seconds later how they’ve eaten a horrible meal that they perceive to be healthy. I want to know how to shut my mouth when I’m faced with that situation, and I want to know when it’s the right time to share my concerns with those people.

    Most of all, though, I want to set an example for my children. I want to teach them what the school system won’t about nutrition, and I want them to think about food as fuel – and choose their fuel wisely.

    It’s been a long haul. Where I am now is better than where I was, but where I want to go is still a ways off in the distance.

    Hopefully, with a little help, encouragement, motivation – and maybe even knowing some of you know what I mean and will stand beside me, I’ll fight this battle a little stronger than before, and close that gap a little bit more every day.

    Many thanks to Joey, for the poking and prodding.

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    {23 Comments}

    1

    I’m with ya. My story’s very dissimilar to yours, but I haul myself to the gym every day I possibly can for a reason, you know.

    Susan Helene Gottfried’s last blog post..Thursday Thirteen #?? — Susan’s Book Talk

    3.26.2008 @ 6:51 pm
    2
    Renee said,

    my story is different. Growing up I could eat ANYTHING I wanted and as much as I wanted and never gain any weight. I was so skinny that my classmates accused me of having anorexia…I even did my speech in Sociology class on anorexia to prove to them that I didn’t have it. Those who knew me, knew the truth…I could eat them under the table!
    That all changed when I hit 30! My metabolism changes and I started gaining weight. However, my stomach hadn’t gotten the news that I couldn’t eat that much any more.
    I’m still trying to find that perfect plan for what works for me.

    Renee’s last blog post..Ice Update

    3.26.2008 @ 9:44 pm
    3
    All Adither said,

    Wow, I never would have guessed this about you from your previous posts. Very personal. Thanks for sharing.

    3.26.2008 @ 10:14 pm
    4
    Jo said,

    Eat like you are a diabetic. ;)

    Jo’s last blog post..Pity The Hater

    3.27.2008 @ 4:59 am
    5
    Laura said,

    Our stories are a little different also, but I still struggle with the motivation to get up and get moving. Which is odd, because I LIKE to work out. I like to sweat! LOL. It’s too bad we don’t live closer, we could do a walking workout together!

    Our emails the other day helped immensely. I was able to stop pigging out so much and get a grip on what I was doing. But, while I knew you’ve fought the weight issue for a long time, I didn’t realize it went back to your childhood. That’s extremely admirable, Leanne. You’re fighting the habits of a lifetime and you’re winning this war. It’s got to be the hardest part of every diet – not slipping back into the old habits, and keeping the new ones as a lifestyle choice instead of the latest diet.

    But it’s even harder when you’re surrounded by relatives that don’t want to change, either. I have a diabetic relative who has been told her type of diabetes could be reversed if she’d only lose weight and start exercising. She’ll go on and on about how “hard” it is, and then eat a big slice of apple pie or several extra slices of white bread toast at the breakfast table, etc. When she does diet, she’ll do it by depriving herself so much, that she’s literally punishing herself, and in the process, she gives up. It’s a whole mind control issue for that one.

    To be honest, I was surprised how much of a struggle you’ve had with weight, because, and I’m serious here, your blog has such an energy about it, there is always so much going on with your art and your housing projects and so on.
    I would come over here and see the things going on in your life, and I would never have thought of you as either unmotivated or sluggish at all. I’ve always thought of you as this active and engaged person, and I think that shows up on the pages of this site. It’s got to be who you are inside, far more than the weight issue itself.
    And I’ll bet anything your daughters have picked up on that, too. ;)

    Laura’s last blog post..What’s In Your Inbox?

    3.27.2008 @ 5:35 am
    6
    kelly said,

    That is probably my biggest struggle… I don’t know that much about nutrition! And my being hypoglycemic puts an extra strain on all of that. I lose, and then I gain just as fast. I am like a large yoyo of fatty goodness. :-) It is a bitter sweet thing to read someone going through a lot of the same struggles. It is nice to know I am not alone, but at the same time… I want better for you!

    You can do it! We can do it! :hug:

    kelly’s last blog post..Thursday Thirteen #21

    3.27.2008 @ 5:49 am
    7
    pam said,

    Our stories are similar. There was always so much to eat when I was growing up… and I was ‘big’, so of course food was my friend. Food never laughed at me, it was there for comfort. Still is… I really want pancakes this morning.

    I was anorexic… for years. At 50 I’m ‘healthy’ now, but still food is not simply food. It will never be, will it? And I need to lose some poundage. Right now it’s a day to day thing, though.

    You can do it, Leanne. Like Laura said, It’s a lifelong struggle. Breaking those bad food habits can be daunting… but you’re setting a great example for your girls!

    Well, blah. I only meant to say ‘you can do it!’ :thumbsup:

    pam’s last blog post..My girl

    3.27.2008 @ 6:41 am
    8
    Joey Atlas said,

    This is a POWERFUL step forward, Leanne. Your success is happening NOW – and the example you are setting for those around you will have a ripple effect that can touch more lives than you may ever know.

    Keep at it and keep us posted.

    Joey Atlas, M.S. – Exercise Physiology
    Lower Body Makeover

    Joey Atlas’s last blog post..Fitness Book Predicted to be ?Best-Seller? by Saving the World

    3.27.2008 @ 6:45 am
    9
    June said,

    I like Jo’s comment: “Eat like a diabetic”. I would just add “or you’ll become one” to it. I’ve been lucky – weight was never an issue for me…but now (post menopause) it’s become one. I’ve been creeping up on the scale to the point that my self image has been altered. I try to watch what I eat for weight and health reasons. While the look of me can be a big motivator, I find my desire to stay well is a more reliable one. I can’t pretend to think I’ll not eat my favorite foods, etc. so I try to follow the 80/20 rule (or should it be 90/10?) of eating well 80 percent of the time. I wish I was better at exercising. I think THAT is the key…that and drinking lots of H2O.

    3.27.2008 @ 9:33 am
    10
    taba said,

    beautifully put. you are so inspiring. :grouphug:

    3.27.2008 @ 12:00 pm
    11
    YellowRose said,

    You wrote what many of us haven’t been able to. I have struggled with my weight all my adult life. The ups and downs you mentioned, been there and done that. Tried all the diets, pills, etc. There is no fast fix. Thankfully hubby wants to lose also so we are doing it together, so I have someone here for support. Hang in there friend, you have friends here who are there for you! :hug:

    YellowRose’s last blog post..Thursday Thirteen #90 – ?Favorite 80’s Flicks?

    3.27.2008 @ 1:09 pm
    12
    celticbuffy said,

    It’s so easy to feel alone in the struggle with weight/healthy eating. I have struggled since the age of 14 and even gone the routes of starving myself and learning to make myself purge what I’d eaten. Now as an adult, trying to eat healthy and exercise is so hard, especially when the kids want all of the junk they see in stores and on TV. I guess what I’m trying to say is hang in there. We’re here for you. :thumbsup:

    celticbuffy’s last blog post..So Very Eighties

    3.27.2008 @ 4:12 pm
    13
    Dan said,

    It is so incredibly hard to lose weight. The problem for me is that it just takes so long to lose anything significant. if I could eat nothing for a week and run 20 miles a day with the guarantee that I’d be slim within 7 days then I’d do it in a shot. Unfortunately it’s a long haul and so my motivation wavers.

    3.28.2008 @ 5:21 am
    15

    […] We each have circumstances, experiences and life situations – that influence who we are, how we think and the actions we take. At any given point we have the ability to go inside ourselves to take more control of ‘who we are and what we choose to do’ – There is a great example of someone doing this right now in her brief but very insightful article, (click to read=> The Struggle of a Lifetime. […]

    3.28.2008 @ 11:34 am
    16
    lesley said,

    Great post. I’m with you. I’m always battling with my weight. When I was younger I could eat whatever i wanted without it showing but who knows what I looked like on the inside. Now I really have to watch it. To be honest, since I’ve been put on this gluten and lactose free diet I haven’t had to be so strict with myself. That sounds like a contradiction but it’s strange… it was more of a struggle to stop myself eating something creamy because it would make me fat than stopping myself because I know it makes me ill in other more immediate ways. Somehow I don’t feel as hard done by when I don’t/can’t have a dessert in a restaurant and I don’t crave it anymore. It’s all psychological I suppose. When I accidentally ate some veg the other day that had butter on they tasted so rich that I felt sick. I think my taste buds have changed! The only thing that used to help me when I could eat everything was just not having anything ‘naughty’ in the house. If it wasn’t there, I couldn’t eat it. But I know that’s a massive struggle when you live in a house where not everyone is on the same path. Anyway, take care of yourself. I have a lot of admiration for you. You are a very motivated person and if anyone can do it, you can!

    lesley’s last blog post..new best friend

    3.28.2008 @ 11:49 am
    17
    ivoryfrog said,

    Wow, that so could have been me writting that post. You probably don’t remember me, but I used to stop by here a lot, I kinda drifted away from blogs but have decided to poke my head back into a few. :wave:

    I have struggled with my weight, not for my whole life but certainly for the whole of my adult life. I just can’t seem to shift it at all, and now I have 2 medical problems to contend with – hypothyroidism and IBS. Fun huh?

    Currently I stand at 219.6lbs (5ft 3inches tall) which is a BMI of around 39 – not great.

    I have actually managed to lose a bit – my highest was 235lbs in December just past, I got a stomach bug lost about a stone and am still not 100% from it. Although, I am not sure exactly what 100% is supposed to feel like anymore.

    I wish I could write more like you in my blog, I never seem to be able to put my feeling accross, almost like I am embarrased to put it out there. Need to work on that I think.

    Nikki

    ivoryfrog’s last blog post..My Birthday!

    3.29.2008 @ 12:16 am
    18
    Lisa's Chaos said,

    Our stories are different and yet they are the same. I never had an issue with my weight, I always exercised well and ate poorly. Then, I had kids, a hystorectomy and through all that gained and lost and such.

    When I met hubby 6-7 yrs ago we were both fit, we hiked, biked etc but still we started gaining. We are both unhappy with our weight now and I think I can say we are both the biggest we have ever been. We both want to lose and we’re trying. It is much harder at 41 than it was at 21. :(

    Lisa’s Chaos’s last blog post..Scary Stuff

    3.29.2008 @ 8:03 pm
    19
    Tipper said,

    What a compelling post. You should submit it to the media. I mean it, it is really moving.

    Tipper’s last blog post..Pickin & Grinnin In the Kitchen

    3.30.2008 @ 6:59 am
    20
    Kimberly said,

    My daughters whine all the time about the lack of junk food in this house. They say I am THE ONLY mother like this. I’ll be sending this link to my almost 13 year old today so she can see another mom’s point and struggle.

    Your story is a powerful one, Leanne. And do we want this story or one like it to be that of our daughter’s? I worry that they will blame me later in life for NOT stepping in to promote better eating while they were young.

    Who’s job is it if it’s not mine?

    Kimberly’s last blog post..How Old Are We?

    3.30.2008 @ 8:16 am
    21
    tracy said,

    I want to thank you for giving so much of yourself in a honest and open post. It helps me understand a little of what my nephew is going through.
    He is at a rough age where he is the biggest kid in class, and I know he gets teased a lot for this. Especially since he was to be the star athlete, yet it is hard to do that when you are carrying extra weight with you. I try and help him through this all and be good example of how one needs to live (no cookies for snacks with me). But it is hard for me to totally get his feelings since I have always been very thin.
    Thanks again!

    3.30.2008 @ 1:07 pm
    22
    Nancy said,

    I have found that if you look at exercise and healthy eating habits as a way of life, only put into your body what God put on this earth for us to consume and not processed foods and drinks losing weight is not such a burden, its the reward of taking care of yourself. Living younger, longer is my goal in life. The one thing we can control in life is what we consume. Make it healthy today, and tomorrow will be a good day………………..

    3.31.2008 @ 7:48 am
    23
    Bob said,

    A humble confession, a courageous walk, an ongoing battle that more than you realize share with you (in one form or another). Glad to hear of your triumph’s; modeling them for your children is invaluable.

    3.31.2008 @ 9:45 pm

    Sorry, comments are now closed.


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