Monday, November 28, 2011

Can I Eat Anything I Want?

I remember quite a few years ago someone told me that you can eat whatever you want as long as you work it off the next day.  At that time, was mommy to my toddler son, playing mommy to his father, had two online classes, worked a desk job, never had enough time, and was under a lot of stress.  I literally had no time to workout and barely had enough time to take a short bathroom break between work and school.  The jarring sound of the alarm clock woke me up at 6am only to remind me that I had another 17 hour day; again, to only go to bed feeling tired and defeated, dreading what the morning would bring.  My existence was to be subservient to the social constructs of American lifestyle.
 
At that time in my life, I was my heaviest.  I had always struggled with my weight, but this time it had overtaken my life.  I avoided the scale after surpassing 235 lbs.  I felt miserable, had no energy, and had no self-esteem.  To my dismay, my body started to look hideous, and my hormone levels were out of control.  I started growing dark hair under my chin, started to show signs of diabetes, was winded after just climbing one flight of stairs, and I broke a blood vessel in my cheek trying to get out of bed, which it made a visible, and ugly, red line a centimeter long across my cheekbone.  My doctor started prescribing medications for high cholesterol, diabetes, plus he warned me that he would put me on blood pressure medications.  Overwhelmed with this reality, I managed to carve out time to go to the gym twice a week.

What happened next changed my entire life.  Details of the three week catastrophe are moot now that it has been over three years passed, but I can say that the events which unfolded left me homeless with a young son. Was I lonely?  Yes.  Was I upset?  Hell yeah, I cried almost every night for months afterwords.  But I picked myself up and moved forward.

During those months of hardship, I lost a lot of weight.  It was then I decided that what I was going to do was put me first.  I had spent 7 years tending to the needs of other people, and forgetting about myself in the process.  My son suffered, my family life suffered, I suffered, thus I paid the price.

Back to food!  For most of my life, I ate junk.  Processed, unnatural, JUNK!  When I was in my teens, I just didn't eat everyday.  I lived off of no-calorie seltzer water and chocolate candy bars for several years.  When I moved out of my parents' house, all I could afford to eat was cheap noodles.  I would scour the parking lots near my apartment for change in order to buy the noodles, and of course, if I didn't find enough change, I didn't eat.  Once, I was so hungry, I stole an apple out of the fridge at work and almost was fired for it.  I was rather thin at the time and was able to join the military even though I was borderline in failing the BMI.  Showing mid-drifts was in style at that time and flat bellies were emphasized as being healthy (er...sexy); this in the time Britney Spears was the hottest thing alive.  I, unfortunately, was far from "sexy."  My stomach was always round and chubby, later made worse by my pregnancy and c-section, thus leading to my drastic decision to get a tummy tuck and liposuction.  Still, even after dropping $8,500 my stomach remains round and pudgy.

My food habits did not improve much while I was in the military.  In fact, I dieted with all sorts of dangerous pills (now off the market) and shoved them down my gullet with diet soft drinks.  I was addicted to all sorts of diet crap.  I starved myself, took laxatives, was bulimic when I did eat anything with calories, and ran 3+ miles per day.  Did it work? No, my tummy was still round, and when it all came down to the military's weigh-ins, I was still considered fat.  So on my last day in the military, I went to the fridge and grabbed the last piece of chocolate cake and ate it in front of everyone.  I remember one of the guys saying to me, "So, Rains, now that you are out, that means you are just going to give up?"  I told him yes.  I moved back to Colorado with my son and mooching spouse, starting my three year voyage to becoming the heaviest I had ever been, and eventually finding my world turned upside down because of it. 

Fast forwarding almost seven years from the moment I ate that historic chocolate cake, which was not that good to begin with, my diet changed drastically.  It consists of mostly natural, healthy, and nutritious foods.  Instead of diet pills, I take several supplements and an Oligo multivitamin.  I look back at my history of food abuse and realized that I can't eat anything and everything all the time.  My body just does not like processed junk that I had eaten for 25 years.  I know several friends who would beg to differ, one whose diet consists of hamburgers, pizza, and soda.  However, I realized that everyone is different, and our bodies all respond differently to the foods we eat.  Knowing what your personal diet should be and accepting your body as is is important.  For me, I needed to switch to a natural, healthy, and nutritious diet because my body runs more efficiently that way.  More importantly, I do not deprive myself, I eat things that I crave in moderation and I don't think twice about the calories because they really don't count.  I discovered that it is okay to eat that cookie, but I eat an apple too.  I slowly switched my thinking so that I actually want to eat for the health of my body.  I replaced the soda with water and the cake with carrots.  Lastly, I found time to exercise everyday.  I laugh and enjoy myself; I got rid of the bad and focus on the good.  I learned that you have got to change what is making you miserable, otherwise you end up sitting in your own rut.  It is most important to be grateful, be thankful, and fill yourself with love.

So to answer the question:
Can I eat anything I want?  Yes I can, because what I want is to eat what is healthy.                          

          

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