Calories and Diets and Scales, Oh, My!

I wrote this particular post to give me perspective. Please feel free to join me in reading it.

I have no idea how much I weighed at birth, and the certificate is tucked away in a little lock box and not relevant any more than you knowing how much I weigh today. This post is not about any number other than the 1,367,432 times I have started a diet. Following is my journey.

Stephanie’s grandfather use to tease her saying she ate chicken and dumplings the day she was born. When the doctor told my mother she could now introduce food, I know I threw down the bottle and cried for a buffet! Right away, food and I hugged tightly, and we became inseparable, and I became chubby, which was shown even by the tag inside my clothes.

We grew up in a food house – meaning Mom enjoyed cooking and baking, and we enjoyed what she cooked and baked. Everything her family liked, she made, and we really liked cakes and cookies and fried chicken and homemade ravioli and pork roast and potatoes and stews. Did you spot any healthy foods in that list? Food equated to love, and my mom loved us.

My first serious diet came in high school. Low-carb was the craze. I had the little pocket carb-counter book, and I lost around 40 pounds and kept it off for a few years. Too busy dating, dancing, working to think about food, my infatuation waned, food became like an old magazine, and we took different paths. Unfortunately, we met up again when I was 20 and newly married.

My life dream was being a housewife and mother, and, like taught, food speaks love, and I loved my husband, and I loved to cook. My crown of jewels came from the meals I prepared and the desserts I baked. We blissfully ate all hours of the day and night. I still remember my first meals at Taco Bell and Arby’s. Fast-food was so darn yummy! I had my man. I had my home. Putting on the pounds was not a concern, and not being able to fit into my bikini became alright as a married women shouldn’t wear a bikini anyway.

When I became pregnant, I immediately quit my 2-pack a day smoking habit, and tried to be more aware of what I ate. I did well, and after delivering a 9 pound 10.5 ounce baby, I soon returned to eating . . .

Somewhere in my 30’s I woke up, looked down at my plate, and decided I didn’t want to do this anymore. At that moment, everything changed. I set up a gym in the garage, counted calories and lost weight. I was back in a size 12, and it felt wonderful – until, overnight, losing weight went to the back burner when I started having serious pain in my arms, hands and wrists.

I backed off of the weight lifting but my pain only increased. After seeing my family physician and being referred to a neurologist, I received a diagnosis of Lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. This misguided physician predicted, by analyzing my blood test results, that I would be in a wheelchair in 10 years. Depression, mindless eating, toxic medications, steroids, tests, oral chemotherapy, and many trips to a St. Louis rheumatologist followed.

After riding this roller coaster for too many years, I found myself at over 300 pounds, sickly and defeated. I was terribly unhappy.

No one knows me like I do. When something is out of sync in my body, I know it. I felt that I was being over-medicated, and I intended to steer myself into remission, which I did. With my doctor’s input, I ceased all medications, followed the healthy eating plan as outlined in What Would Jesus Eat by Don Colbert, and gradually my head cleared from the fog, much weight dropped off, and I felt empowered for having taken control of my life.

This was about 9 years ago, and today, I am preparing to take the next road of this healthy-living journey. The pantry is cleared out, the refrigerator is stocked, my resolve is set . . . . There is nothing complicated about making the right choices, but it takes, for me, determination, motivation, and preparation. One meal at a time, one mile at a time, one pound at a time. This can be my only sane approach.

Having studied nutrition and read hundreds of articles on the relationship between what we eat and anti-inflammatory diseases, I am equipped with the knowledge, and friends offer the encouragement I need, but practicing becomes more difficult than the preaching. Feeling defeated by the past failures will not further my cause, so my motto is “To be the BEST I can be today“.

Everyone struggles with something, I believe, and everyone understands defeat. It is in the triumphs that we encourage others to experience their own victories. Coming out from behind the curtain is the first victory with many more to follow. Wish me luck! I will keep you posted.

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