I can't begin to know the number of things I've tried and the number of things that didn't work for me through the years. At 66, the number's pretty huge. Thankfully, none of my errors were fatal; yet I can't believe I didn't pick up on clues (and act on them)--clues that could have changed my life.
As a child--a fat child--I was teased and made fun of from the time I started school. By the time I hit high school, I was good enough at some things that I no longer had a major target on my back; but the pain that came from datelessness was unpleasant, at best. While in college I applied to Mountain Bell who refused to hire me because of my weight. I know that wouldn't "fly" today, but it did back then. It wasn't enough to encourage me to do something about my physical condition.
I hung out with friends, some married and some not. While they cared about me, they never really saw my pain and, deep down, I wasn't all that sure they really liked me. My dad believed overweight was a sign of being healthy, thus there was not really a need to change something as superficial as my weight.
I married at 24, topping the scales at 210, and was so deliriously happy that, by fall, I was up to 235. My husband was overweight also. At work some were dieting and that's when I discovered the Stillman Diet--unhealthy at best--and lost 100 lb. I'd really not addressed any real issues behind the weight and, when I quit smoking, I gained half of it back. The clothes I'd just bought no longer fit.
A teacher friend joined OA and I went along. Fortunately, I did address some buried issues that were triggers for me and I, very slowly, lost the weight from my last gain. I was able to maintain that for a couple of years before it started creeping back and I discovered bulimia. Of all the things I tried, bulimia was the most disgusting. I have a few close friends who know about that, most of the people in my life do not. I knew that in order to get better, I had to be willing to be fat again. It was hard, but I knew that the bingeing and barfing had to end when my young son almost caught me vomiting.
I continued with OA for a period of time and was honest about my bulimia--that cost me some friends. I lost again, but this time I dropped to 120. I was thinner than I could ever remember being--I weighed 149 in 5th grade (when they called it across the room for everyone to hear). My calorie count was insanely low, I was walking at least 4 miles a day and swimming two days a week. I looked pretty good--except to my dad--and my periods stopped. I gained back to 135 and then higher still. Divorce, going back to school, moving to another state--all of these brought on more stress and more pounds.
Jenny Craig ('92) let me drop below 200 for the first time in a long time. I plateaued, they lost my records (twice), and I couldn't afford to continue. You guessed it--the weight came back. WW came next, but I was totally unhappy that I was paying someone so I could lose weight; it just didn't make sense. Three separate times it didn't make sense. The last time I joined I was at my highest weight 286--and I'm 5'3". I lost 50 lb., had to get another car, and didn't have enough to continue with WW. Some of the things I learned there have helped though. Would you believe I gained weight after that? Slow learner maybe? That was at the end of 2009. I never made it back past 250 because, while flipping (vigorously) through channels I heard "SparkAmerica" come out of someone's mouth on "The Doctors" and decided to check it out. Thus my journey began yet again--this time at 249.8.
What I love most is how readily available support is all the time. I have some remarkable Spark friends who provide friendship and support that I don't have to pay for. I've joined several teams, missed only 1 day of not spinning the wheel (broke my streak too), and no longer feel "broken." Every day I'm encouraged to do better, be kinder, and live! I don't think I'll be leaving, and I know that, through the years, I've heard things that still resonate with me. I'm good; I'm better: but I'm not done!!