I have learned a lot about myself since I started this competition prep journey, and I have learned a lot about others. I have found that my addiction to food is slowly being overcome. I am still an addict and there is a sliver of that, which will probably never go away. I often wonder when I became an addict if I would have been able to stop it. I also wonder what will happen when I have the freedom to eat things, if I will. By freedom, I am simply implying carbs, things that I once would self-indulge in without even blinking an eye. This transition to no gluten and watching my body transform has been a blessing and a curse. Before I could lose 20 pounds without a problem, however it was in the unhealthiest way possible and I simply just stopped eating. There are probably multiple people that are close to me that would never have guessed that I had such an issue.
When I was growing up, I had the typical grandparents on both sides of my family that would include in every meal a meat (usually red), potato (usually mashed with loads of butter), some kind of vegetable (corn or green beans), a roll, and some pasta salad. After all of that, there is dessert to come. Something homemade, something carb loaded and waiting to be devoured because it was my favorite. At home, my mom ran a daycare and she would have to follow this meal plan for the state for the kids but when dinner came around it was either something like I just described or something out of the box, hamburger helper or otherwise. There would be the weekends that we would get my step brother and sister and my mom would make my grandpa’s famous recipe of lasagna (my brother Jon’s favorite). Again with the carbs. However, let’s not mistake the brief period that my mom lost 100 lbs and in that time everything was low-fat or fat free in our house.
I was a pretty active kid. I was in 4-H, had a horse that I would save myself to on weekends and any break from school I could take. When I was home in the city, my brother and I were always outside doing something. High school came and it was sports and still my horse and family drama ensued, along with a few things, like me being molested from the age of probably 10 until 14. In high school, I had made friends and had the pressure of always being skinny, staying the same size. Every single girl talked about her size, all the time. Having to fit into this, making weight for that and I was right there with them. I was always the bigger girl in middle school and high school no matter how hard I tried not to be.
High school was the most damaging portion of my life. I was taking a pill that would keep me awake and not wanting to eat food during school hours and it would wear off just in time for me to go home and consume from the box or carbs. Lots of carbs. Most days I would grab a pop tart on the way out the door in the morning, or something from the convenience store to tide me over until dinner. Metabolism? What was that? I ruined it. Junior year, my adopted dad and mom got a divorced; we had to move in with my grandparents. Breakfast completely stopped, lunch was nothing and dinner was the “typical” meal with the grandparents. My mom finally bought a trailer house back in the city and we moved there. She started working two jobs and I had gotten a job working with her at the fruit market after school. Eating was pretty nonexistent and when it did occur, it was dinners at my grandparents, binge eating on the weekends or during my break at work.
When I graduated, I moved in with the grandparents to go to college and like any other college freshmen, the college 15 piled on, and on, and on. Living there briefly, I shifted from home to moving completely out with a guy who didn’t care what I looked like, told me I was beautiful just so he could have me pay for his stay and he could pretend he had this lavish life. After a weekend of finding him in bed with another girl, I moved to my own apartment. I had sworn that I was going to get my eating habits back together and I was going to lose this weight. Right, that happened for a good month. Lost 20 pounds easily (for the 50th time) and met my daughter’s father. From then on, I had control of what we ate (he didn’t care as long as he was fed). I topped out at 230 pounds when I was with him. When I got pregnant my weight sky rocketed to 250 and I left the hospital weighing 229. Everything was surrounded by carbs, junk, boxed, and maybe a vegetable here and there. Enough was enough and my sister came home from the army and got me into running and doing HIIT.
When I married I weighed 185 and it climbed from there. Abuse and unhappiness of living miles and miles from my family pushed me over 200 again. Still binge eating, still starving me to drop the weight. This roller coaster was long and wasn’t stopping because I didn’t want it to. I was comfortable with what I was doing because right then, in that moment, it was working for me. It would let me lose the weight.
FINALLY, I moved home and divorced. During that time, I was back and forth with him, but was convinced by my sister to start losing the weight. A gym membership, classes, and healthy eating once I moved in with my friend Liz would start to repair me right? Wrong. It wasn’t until I met A, that I was really happy. He was personal training, lifting, eating well, and surrounded himself with the fitness world. He lost 100 pounds and I was smitten. Usually when those things would go sour, I would cave and resort back to my bad habits but during this time, I made a wonderful friend who was on a journey and I armored myself with her help to lose and do a figure competition the right way. To live my life the healthy way. Once I made the move to a completely different city, it all began and A has been nothing but my biggest cheerleader and right next to me every step of the way.
My addiction to food, needing it for the wrong reasons in life has damaged my soul, my mental capacity, and my physical appearance. Using food as fuel has formulated a different way that my brain thinks. I am surrounded by the most positive people that I can have in my life because they aren’t talking about needing to fit into a set of jeans, instead they are talking about being healthy, loving themselves every step of the way.
My mental capacity was lacking nutrition by always sucking the life of who I am out of me. I have not allowed that to happen anymore. Instead, I fuel it with knowledge and a wealth of knowledge on the reasons why 4:30am is good for me and why I am going to be where I am.
When I am feeling down emotionally, food no longer tells me that everything will be ok. Food no longer harbors my feelings in every carb I put into my mouth. There are no carbs; there are no feelings to latch on to them. There is only me, the good food, my water jog, and the gym. I am a totally different person than the one in my past. Why? Because I don’t live there anymore. I live in the present and fight for the future. I have a 7 year old girl that will need her mother until the good Lord takes me. She loves meal prepping, the smell of chicken, and even, as weird as it sounds, the smell of cooked broccoli. To her I have made the promise to be the best that I can be, because I and her are so worth more than the carbs and the box.