I started gaining weight in high school—eating was a social pastime with friends, so rather than listening to what my body actually needed, I indulged more often than not. Despite being on the pom squad with three-hour practices each day, I went from a size seven to a size 12 in just four years. After high school, I began turning to food for comfort—eating while watching TV helped me zone out. The weight kept piling on, until one day, I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror.
At first, I panicked and searched for a quick fix through the latest diets or pills. But each diet I tried inevitably failed, and each time that happened I lost a little more hope that I’d ever reach my goal weight. But all of those diets failed for the same reason: I wasn’t taking care of the emotional issues behind my eating. I hit rock bottom when I saw my daughter mirroring my kitchen habits.
I never deprived myself: For breakfast, I’d have a banana with Nutella or peanut butter (or, if I felt like it that day, a small chocolate chip muffin). Lunch was typically a sandwich with just a few chips; for dinner, I’d stick to a small salad with steak, salmon, or pasta, and if I ever craved dessert I’d have a few bites of something sweet like ice cream.
At my heaviest, it was difficult and painful to exercise; but as I lost weight, I actually looked forward to being active.
Weight loss was different this time because I didn’t just change what I ate—I changed my relationship with food.
Before I lost the weight I was constantly in pain, and I didn’t want to get out of my car to get gas because I didn’t want to be seen. I was worried what people thought of me all the time. I was lonely, depressed, and had lost my personality and who I really was. It affected my marriage and kept me from going and doing the things I really wanted to be doing.