1998 B.C. (Before Change)
When I look back to my childhood, I remember eating and enjoying almost anything. Except pimento cheese sandwiches. Yuck, yuck, super-yuck! My mother was a single parent raising two children and worked really hard. I was a Cap’n Crunch Berries, Fruity Pebbles, Bisquick pancake with extra syrup, Ramen noodles, Bologna sandwiches, canned vegetables, Velveeta shells macaroni and cheese, Betty Crocker cake mix, Spaghetti-Ragu, sweet tea, and fried chicken kind of girl. I use to believe that Sunny Delight was 100% fruit juice. Salads, yes, salads, consisted of iceberg lettuce, shredded carrots, chunks of tomatoes, cucumber slices, and were drowned in heavy, creamy dressings. Fortunately, my grandfather was a farmer and taught his family how to grow their own food so fresh produce was always available even during the winter, but what’s healthy about deep fried squash and okra? In my neighborhood, there was no such thing as a serving size. Food was measured by the size of the plate or bowl that I decided to use and the same was true for any beverage. Eating meals off of a salad plate was just taboo. Diet program of choice: Slim Fast. Exercise Equipment: The Thighmaster, endorsed by Suzanne Somers. Fitness Icon: Richard Simmons. And he is still my fitness hero. In 1998, at the age of 14, I weighed in at 216 pounds.
By this time I turned away from a lot of the foods I was eating in 1998. My attitude towards food became less about survival-of-the-poor and more about emotional dependency. Food was my medication and I was addicted to it. I needed something stronger and different. It was not uncommon for me to eat three pints of cookie dough ice cream in a day at least twice a week or more. Now I was old enough to get a part-time job and would spend most of my paycheck on junk. My grocery list looked a little like this: 1 box of Little Debbie Swiss Roll cakes, 1/2 gallon of Turkey Hill Cookie Dough Ice Cream, 2 pounds of green grapes, bananas, turkey burger, candy bars, juice, and a few miscellaneous items. I would eat the candy bars before I left out of the parking lot. I would eat 1/2 the box of Swiss rolls before putting up my groceries and right before dinner I would eat 1/2 of the ice cream. I was a binge eater, but that phrase was unheard of at the time. Sadly, my friends and family were on the same unhealthy track. No one seemed to think it was a problem, except my doctor, but deep down I knew he was right. In 2001, at the age of 18, I was 253 pounds. In just three years I had gained 37 pounds.
2002-2007 A.D. (After Diet)
Hellooooooo, college! With the encouragment of my doctor, after reading a few fitness magazines, and meeting with a nutrionist, I started to make small changes. I educated myself about serving sizes, calories, and whatever I thought would help. In college I was able to find the proper resources and fell in love with the gym. In time my eating habits changed and I saw results. I measured my food and stopped drinking soda and eating red meat. I cooked healthier foods and became addicted to reading food labels. I bought more skinless chicken breast, fresh produce, I ate less fried food, and drank insane amounts of water. My weight fluctuated as faced different life challenges, but this was the foundation of healthier eating for me. My weight changed a lot during this time ranging from 180-190 pounds, but I was determined to stay below the 200 mark. At one point I lost focus and reached 210, but I did something about it.
I’ve managed to take off about 10-20 pounds with eating healthier and staying focused, but losing weight is half the battle. Maintaining is a lot of work too. Now my eating habits are a mix of really good and really bad. I sometimes find myself slipping into my old habits. Now I am less concerned about gaining weight, which may not be such as bad thing because I’m no longer stressed about it. However, once again my attitude towards food is changing. I am getting older and decided to focus on being healthier and feeling better. I am toning up and trying to eat less processed foods now. Today, I can proudly say that I weigh in at 168. I am now known as the Skinny Bitch. I guess that’s a compliment.