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Inside the Dark World of an Addict

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

In December of 2009, my doctor told me that my EKG moments ago seemed to show I'd already had a heart attack. At 328 lbs., I had feared that exact thing for a long time, but never enough so that I'd do something about it. I had been morbidly obese for 30 years since my last attempt at weight loss in 1979-80, when I'd lost 100 lbs. Of course that weight was back, along with a few more pounds. So even though subsequent follow-up tests with a cardiologist proved my heart was fine, I remained determined to drop some weight. I had no goal in mind back then, I just wanted to regain my health. I was 59 years old and decided that by the following year when I would turn 60, I would get below 200 lbs.

(I was looking through pictures this morning and found this photo from 1996, when we took a trip to South Dakota, I never want to look like that again!)

I made that goal with a few months to spare and went on to reach my happy weight of 150 lbs. in the summer of 2011, losing 178 lbs. I felt so good and stayed at my goal weight by continuing to practice what I had done to get there. I moved more and ate less. I logged into Spark daily and blogged often. I tried to do a lot of walking and eat light and I was able to maintain for a couple years. I even got to go to New York City where my weight loss was featured on the Today Show in November of 2012. What a thrill that was, we stayed a few extra days and got to see so much of New York, walking to Times Square, Fifth Avenue, we took a water taxi to see the Statue of Liberty and took in a Broadway play (Annie) and even got to see the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. It was the trip of a lifetime and we still speak of it fondly. I'd like to say that's the end of the story and I lived happily ever after at my goal weight. I think part of the reason we remember that trip with such love, is that it was a few months later that Duane was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer (incurable, but treatable), and our lives changed forever.

Joy Bauer and I, the day I was on NBC's Today Show!

Still I was determined to keep the weight off, but since it was no longer the over-riding concern in my life, I started a slow ascent back up the scale. I didn't binge eat like I do nowadays, but I ate the wrong things and in portions which were much too large. By the Summer of 2014 I was up to 180 lbs., so I got back on track and managed to get back to my happy weight of 150 lbs. in a few months. Of course my resolve to maintain THIS time dissolved and sure enough by the Fall of 2015, I was back up to 185 lbs. My youngest son got engaged that Fall and the wedding was scheduled for October 2016. I was determined to get back to goal before then. I was so heavy for my older two sons' weddings in 2005 and 2006, and I had resolved to NOT be fat for my third and last son's wedding. I joined WW on-line and got back on track, managing to get back to my happy weight of 150 lbs. before the wedding. I felt so great that night at the wedding reception, proud of myself as I danced the night away with my son and husband.

The dress I wore to Chris's (youngest son's) wedding, I weighed 185 when I ordered the dress on-line, but went on to lose 35 lbs. before the wedding. I can't believe the difference losing those 35 lbs. made!

Duane and I, in our wedding finery.

But the holidays were shortly after the wedding, which is always a tough time for me. I LOVE the holidays and always cook way too much and then consume what I cook, in vast quantities! Vowing to get right back on track after Jan. 1, 2017, before my weight got out of control just never happened once again and I found myself weighing well above 200 lbs. (a place I had vowed never to return to) by the summer of 2018.

Several members of my high school graduating class started contacting me asking if I would be interested in helping to plan a 50-year reunion for the following summer of 2019. I was hesitant, not really interested in the work of finding addresses and arranging for a dinner, etc. But then I re-thought it, and realized if I was in charge of the Reunion, I would perhaps be motivated to lose my regain once regain. I had planned our 20th reunion in 1989, and then didn't go to it, because I was so ashamed of my obesity. I vowed I would lose the weight, and even though I weighed in at 239.8 in August of 2018, I managed to lose 40 lbs. by the end of the year, and was well on my way back to goal. Once again Christmas got me off track, and I was struggling to get back on track, when I met an old friend for lunch in late January of 2019. She is a WW Lifetimer and was struggling herself with a regain, although I thought she looked great. She told me, "I just can't do it alone." Her words struck home with me, and on Jan. 31, 2019, I joined WW and began attending the meetings and even though I weighed in at 226 that first night (I had regained most of what I had lost the previous Fall), I managed to hit my goal weight just after our Reunion in August, weighing in at 149.8 on Sept. 20, 2019. I have joined WW many many times over the years and never hit my goal before, so that was a huge thrill, and when I made Lifetime on Nov. 1, 2019, I decided I had it all figured out. Never again would I regain any weight. I continued to attend weekly WW workshops with my friend and was even invited to give a presentation at a WW Open House, talking about my successful weight loss journey.

My WW buddy and I (we are also high school classmates) at our 50th Reunion last August. Even though I wasn't quite at goal, I fit into my goal jeans for the Reunion!

Giving my presentation at the WW Open House with my wonderful Workshop Leader, JoAnn! Love her!

I made it through the holiday season last year, and even weighed in within my lifetime leeway (2 lbs. either side of goal weight) in February this year. Then we traveled to Washington, D.C. the end of Feb., for a Zero Prostate Cancer Summit. It was a great trip but I started slipping away from my healthy eating habits, devouring almost an entire pizza the last night of our trip. When we got back I returned to my WW workshop in early March, but was afraid to weigh-in, knowing I would be over my 2-lb. Lifetime leeway and they would charge me. I was sure, however, if I kept going to meetings I could get back to my goal weight, NO PROBLEM!

You all know what happened next! The whole world was in a Pandemic, meetings of any kind ceased and without the accountability of those weekly weigh-ins, I completely lost my way. Yesterday morning I finally got back on the scale and in the few months between the end of Feb. and the middle of June, I gained 40 lbs. now weighing in at 189.8. How does this happen? I know how it happens. You eat everything in sight, and you eat constantly and without ceasing. You eat junk, and it's like you can never get enough. You eat even when you're stuffed. you buy the food you know you can't resist at the grocery store and when you can't get to the store, you order it on-line from Amazon. I tried to hide it from my husband, because I was so ashamed. For the first few months of 2020, I had been waking an average of 13,000 steps every day, joining Step Bet after Step Bet to keep me motivated, and then my left leg started killing me, and I was sure my knee which I had replaced in June of 2019, had gone bad. I had heard you can get an infection in the new joint and if so, you would have to have the knee replaced all over again! I tried to get into see the Orthopedic doctor but since it wasn't an emergency I couldn't get in until June 8, several months down the road. But the more I thought about it, I wondered if I didn't have shin splints. My son, the marathon runner has had them and I called him and talked about his symptoms. He said he gets them when his running shoes get old. I realized most of my steps were inside my house and I always walked in my stocking feet. I never wore shoes inside the house when I walked and realized shin splints could be my problem. Sure enough as soon as I quite walking so much, the pain subsided and the knee was actually still fine. That was a relief, but I was afraid to start walking again and the lack of movement coupled with so much uncontrolled eating, along with lack of WW meetings to hold me accountable (even though I continue to attend the weekly WW Zoom meetings--it's just not the same), I once again regained weight. How many times is it now? I can't even count that high! I know this Pandemic is unprecedented but somehow I felt like the Fates just had it in for me. I was not meant to be at a normal weight and somehow whatever was working for me would be messed up. I know that's crazy talk, but that's how I felt.

Every time I hit my goal weight, I feel so good, both physically and mentally. Monday night, after a day of binging, I sat in my chair watching TV, and my heart was pounding. I checked my Fit Bit and even though I wasn't even moving, my resting heartbeat was 100 beats per minute. I knew that was not good, and my body was probably working extra hard trying to digest all that food I had eaten. My blood tests in March had such good results.....bad cholesterol was low and good cholesterol was within the proper range. I know eating this way was going to lead to the cholesterol going wonky again, not to mention blood pressure and blood sugar levels going way up! The scale Tuesday morning, (189.8 lbs.) along with my pearl ring no longer going on my finger were the deciding factors which got me back on track. I did great yesterday, even walked 11,000 steps (my first time over 10K since the shin splints episode), and am doing well again today. Maybe someday I will have this figured out, but I'm afraid I will never conquer this addiction and it was always rear its ugly head just when I think I've overcome it.

Now I've got another incentive to get me back to my goal weight. On Sept. 4, 2020, Duane and I will celebrate 50 years of being married. This very special day has been in the back of my mind for years, maybe from the very beginning of my weight loss journey. I knew whenever couples celebrating their 50th anniversaries had their picture in the paper, they were not obese. I realized that obese couples often don't live that long....and I made it my goal that if Duane could make it to our 50th (in 2013 when he was diagnosed with cancer, they told us 4.5 years was the average life expectancy), I was going to be by his side and we would have our picture in the paper! So I need to get back to goal weight for that!!!

September 4, 1970

And on the plus side, I dropped enough water weight in one day yesterday, that today my pearl ring fits. I'm on my way back to goal!!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    You are SO STRONG!! Keep at it. I also can't have the "bad" stuff in the house.
    289 days ago
  • EFFECT25
    thanks for sharing
    295 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    Here’s to September and your anniversary! You can do it!
    313 days ago
    Hang in there Pam! You are a success. You have never regained all of your weight. It is a common thing among most of us who lose weight. Going up and down is not healthy but in my opinion it’s got to be better than a consistently obese weight. Lots of advice out there. Take what works for you and apply one day at a time. I have had a similar experience over the years. Special events can be good motivators and I often use that incentive. But we must remember that health and well being are the utmost reason for doing what it takes to maintain a healthy weight. I have gotten down 25 lbs lighter being barely in the normal weight range but cannot maintain there so I upped my goal in a sense. My main goal is sane eating most of the time decreasing the frequency and intensity of binging and going off the rails. Keep fighting the good fight. Seek help and support. Keep moving! Keep Sparking!

    So happy to hear from you!
    314 days ago
    Your losing and gaining takes up all of your time. I think you need to talk to someone outside the family to get at the root of the issue, just saying you are a food addict isn't enough emoticon
    314 days ago
    Your blog has shown me the light and I can do this! 😉
    314 days ago
    Wow your struggle sounds like mine. Up down up down. although I have only made it to goal once all the other times I get under 200 and give up. People tell me you look great, life gets in the way or I just get lazy. Now I am at my heaviest
    314 days ago
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