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In the Beginning - W7.D7

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I was thinking yesterday about 25 pounds lost. Which led me to think that this isn't my first 25 pounds lost. Which led me to thinking about what I've done to get here and just how far I've come. (Warning: This is long, and is likely just part one of my "story")

My youngest son was born on April 5, 2002. I'm pretty sure I had broken 400 pounds by the time he was born, and I felt horrible. I was lazy and confused and angry about life in general. Nothing turned out the way it was supposed to. When I was a junior in high school I was preparing for a wonderful college career. I knew where I wanted to go (University of Toledo) and what I wanted to study (computer engineering). I was going to have a bright future. I felt secure in my ability and intelligence and I was ready to get a wonderful and great paying job, buy a house, marry someone who loved me and had the same beliefs as myself, have children and raise them in bliss.

Instead, this "good little church girl," who had made it to the regionals in Bible quizzing of all things, found herself pregnant just before her 18th birthday. I screwed up. I screwed up several times, caught up in the feeling of "someone loves me, I must do whatever it takes to keep that alive" and I broke vows to myself. And then I had to tell my mother. My heart was broken and so was hers. But we dealt with it. We managed. I opted out of the big, fancy college thing and, instead, I applied for community college. I gave birth to my son, Logan, and I was confused again. Life had suddenly gotten so ....big and important. Still, I managed.

I moved out of my mom's house and in with my boyfriend, sure that I was going to do this independent mother thing without screwing everything up. I tried going to classes (which started just weeks after the birth of my son) but after a while I realized that Music Education was not what I wanted to do. I couldn't play the piano and I didn't want to study music anymore. I hated that music was such a serious thing now. I missed having fun with music. And I knew that I would never make the money I needed to fulfill the dreams and goals I had in my head. So I cried a lot and dropped out. I told everyone that I *would* go back, no matter what the statistics said about people like me.

But when I dropped out, the downward spiral began. My life was a living hell. I was sad and angry and upset all the time. All the time. Boyfriend and I fought all the time. Within years, I was pregnant again. I thought about aborting this one. I couldn't take another child and there had been a break up between boyfriend and I and a horrible transition guy that made me regret the past year and wonder of the origin of the child. At the clinic I met with every belief system I ever had and faced the prospect that I would be going against everything I had ever said I believed in. I didn't abort him (thank God!) and boyfriend said at the restaurant later that day, "I guess we should get married, then." We did get married, but I thought his heart wasn't in it.

Depression set in that next year. In 2002 I was told by a CPS worker that I was suffering from PPD, and I believed her. I was disconnected from life. I spent days in bed. I ate and drank whatever I wanted. I did very little to even exit the house, let alone "exercise." I ballooned to nearly 500 pounds and my family voiced their concerns. But they didn't understand. I didn't care what I weighed because I didn't care about life. I didn't want to live any more. Until someone said to me, "You want to leave those boys without a mother?" and it clicked. One day I simply woke up.

I went to the doctor about gastric bypass surgery and weighed in at 466.6 pounds. One year. That's what they told me. My insurance required me to go through so much testing it could take one year to get through this and possibly get surgery. Whatever, I would do whatever it took. And I had learned from my mother's support groups that those who failed did so because they thought they could eat whatever they wanted after surgery. So I vowed to slowly take on the diet I would be forced to follow after surgery. And I went through all the testing for naught, because my insurance company dropped the surgery while I was going through all the testing they required for the surgery. (I *hate* insurance companies!)

I had two choices. Give in to always being fat or try to do what I could on my own. I chose the second option. I found an online group called "Losing and Loving It" and I stuck mostly to similar meals throughout the day. I did Walk Away the Pounds in my apartment living room three times a week. I went from not even able to complete the 1 mile workout to being able to do two or three miles. I used to drive each week to a doctor's office downtown where my sister had set up for me to weigh in on their huge digital scale. And I spent many a 30 minute drive home crying because I only lost .5 pounds that week. Or super excited for a 2 pound lost. I lost the weight VERY slowly, and by the time we moved I was down 80 pounds. Within a few VERY slow months in the new home, I lost the last 20 and I stayed there for one week. I seriously saw the century mark and somehow lost faith in my ability to do any more than that. I went on maintain mode instead.

I tell you all this so that you understand that I am not some insanely motivated person who woke up this April and decided to lose the weight and is somehow now always on. I understand the tools now, and I'm learning more and more through all of my SparkFriends. I don't exercise every day because I love it. Sometimes I do it because I remember what it was like to not move and be slowly dying in that bed years ago. Sometimes I just feel strong or encouraged by the people here. Sometimes I guilt myself into it, and I go through the entire workout yelling at myself in my head and calling myself fat and telling myself I'll never do it, all while I'm working out.

I feel stronger than I have since that junior year in high school. I'm still not sure of my ability to get a great job, but I'm trying to hold onto hope that there is something perfect out there for me. Something that I will love doing most days, something challenging, something that uses my skills of writing and creative thinking, something that allows me to travel, and something that allows me to make the money I need to move into a nice modest home and make a real life for my kids, instead of just getting by like we've been doing since I left my mom's house.

But one thing I get now is that it is life now, not a journey. I'm no longer living for the end. I'm no longer living for what I will be when I'm skinny and fit. Instead, I'm living for what I can do today to make myself strong, brave, bold, and ready for anything. I'm now getting really close to that century mark once more, and this time I will see it only for a week because the next week I will be below that mark. Headed to the second century mark. There is time as long as there is breath in my body, and the more I work out, the more time I give myself to reach my eventual goal. I'm learning as I go. My world is changing because I'm changing it every day. Sometimes I don't live exactly like I'd like myself to, but I chalk that up to living. Sometimes we have to celebrate or cry into a bowl of ice cream (I just make the bowl smaller now).

I'm not superwoman, I'm just learning how to make a better me.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    This is a great entry and an important part of understanding how you got form point A to now. You are strong and brave, and I know you are inspiring so many other people out there who are dealing with many of the same things you are. Keep up the good work!
    3982 days ago
    How wonderful! It's such a great feeling when the goal isn't to be "skinny" or "pretty" according to some unobtainable standard. It's about living. It's about want to be alive to see your kids graduate, to see them marry someone they love and have children of their own. It's about growing old and loving every minute of it and being able to do all of the activities you want to do. YOU ARE DOING IT! You will get to your ultimate goal and I am glad to be a part of it. Enjoy the ride!
    3983 days ago
    Wow Esther. I love you even more now. I just want to hug you and tell you how much you mean to me (ALREADY!) and tell you that you are totally amazing!
    3984 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7009225
    This is a great blog. So cathartic. I hope it helped you to take some of this incredible weight off your shoulders. Your attitude is good and your thoughts are sound. I think with this much strength you are moving in the right direction. I never thought about how hitting the century mark could be frightening but you made it so I can understand that somewhat. When I get there, WHEN, then I will be better prepared thanks to you. I want to give you a great big
    and help you to know that you are loved and you are valuable. Not just to your boys, but to yourself and to your friends here on Spark. You motivate. You inspire. And I am so glad I found you!
    One day at a time, one meal at a time. You are doing it!
    3984 days ago
    Great job on realizing that life doesn't begin at goal weight! You have come so far in gaining strength and confidence. Keep going!
    3984 days ago
  • no profile photo CD1834472
    Now that is one inspirational story.Thanks for sharing. emoticon emoticon
    3984 days ago
    I love the concept for living for the now! It leads to happiness, calmness and ability to accept life at the same time that we are working to improve who we are (inside and out).
    3984 days ago
    Wow you are more amazing, strong and resilient than I ever knew! Thank you for sharing your story, I teared up a little. Just never ever give up. I know with the help of sparkpeople you're going to make it to that next century mark!
    3984 days ago
  • KARVY09
    I hope it helped to get this all out. You are moving in a great direction and there are so many good things for you on the horizon. Thanks for sharing your journey!
    3984 days ago

    Thank you for sharing. I am proud of you. That might not mean much coming from a complete stranger, but know that you have given another hope that she can maybe even lose 50 pounds. :)

    Keep going hon!
    3984 days ago
    I love love loved this blog! You are wonderful!
    3984 days ago
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