Yesterday, I started the South Beach Diet...again. It was spurred on by a month or so of horrible eating habbits, but even moreso by pain. This time, not the emotional pain I have learned to internalize and shove away for years, but a pain in my knee. I have never had issues with my knees before. This pain, brought on by spending an entire day of house cleaning, then bowling, was clearly a sign to me that I need to start taking care of myself. But, I have been here before. Usually it is the other kind of pain that brings me to this sort of "fresh start", or a death of a friend, or hearing someone's success story.
I am turning 38 at the end of December, and I feel as unhealthy, disgusting, weak, lame, unworthy...you can probably fill in your own words, we all go through times when we are self-loathing. I am 5 feet tall and weigh 189. As I type this, I am proud to put 189 as my starting weight, I have reached the 220's in the past. But with my recent yo-yoing I know that part of the reason the numbers are lower when I am not watching my diet /exercise is because I am losing muscle. I was diagnosed with hypertension and high cholesterol two years ago, when I began having the shakes and was worried that I was anemic or had a degenerative disease. Even when the doctor told me that my blood pressure was high and my triglycerides were at dangerously high levels (upwards of 600, normal is 150 or less) I still argued with him, begging him to check me for anemia. I had no idea high blood pressure and cholesterol could make you feel so weak and sick. The doctor I had at the time put me on a low cholesterol diet. He handed me a hand-typed sheet that looked like it had been in circulation since the 70's, and it just had a few ideas of what I could and couldn't eat. He strongly recommended that I do cardio at least 4 times a week. I began medication for my conditions right away, and with a little bit of effort in the diet/exercise area, my numbers were starting to turn around by my 1 month check. Then at the three month check, they were back up to dangerous levels, I hadn't been taking care of myself. I continued this way until I moved out of state. When I got my new doctor, he told me straight out, that I was going to kill myself, and that I was setting a poor example for my kids. I was immediately put off by that, but on my drive home, I realized he was right. On a prescription pad he had written down South Beach Diet or Zone Diet. I had tried South Beach when it first came out, and I liked the fact that the book really breaks it down into simple terms, what your body is doing and why you are craving certain things and how to break the addiction. So, I opted for South Beach. But I didn't start right away, I of course had to get my bingeing out of the way and get in the right place, mentally. This meant eating everything I knew I would miss once I was in the prison of being on a diet. I started the diet the day after Halloween, 2009. I knew I wouldn't be able to start before that, with all the candy just laying around. The first three days I was miserable, thinking only about what I couldn't eat, and finding I had to catch myself more times than I care to admit, when reaching to put something in my mouth (or even lick off my fingers after preparing food for the kids) without thinking. I found it a hassle to have to be so aware of food, and I was not sure if I could stick it out. But, I was determined to get better, for my son's sake, and was dreaming of being the girl who can buy clothes from any shop I chose. So I began giving myself pep talks. I told myself I could eat whatever I want, whenever I want, that the option was always there. That bit of psychology worked, because denying myself what I was obsessing over made me feel a kind of strength I hadn't felt in years. I wanted to gobble up every last Snickers bar in the kids Halloween bags, but I knew if I did that, I would be putting myself in the same place I have always been, and being in that place has always made me miserable.
I did great on the diet for a month, stuttered a little after indulging in Thanksgiving delights, but got back on track. By the time I had bloodwork done in January, I was 17 pounds lighter and my numbers had significantly improved. My clothes were fitting looser and I was getting compliments. I was on a roll. I felt so good after my doctor's appointment that I celebrated...with McDonalds. And I didn't stop celebrating until July, 2010 when I gave it another try. I had gained back 6 more pounds, putting me at a starting point of 208. This time, it was harder to get the pounds off, but I finally slipped under 200, a huge deal for me. It had been about 6 years since I had seen the underside of 200, and it felt great. Then, a death of a close friend sent me reeling toward the comfort food, and justifying it. I knew I would get back on track, and I had a few more "do-overs" or "first days" again since. Through the summer my husband and I were dealing with the illness and death of his grandmother, and our plans to escape the wintery cold and move back to Vegas came screeching to a halt. My employer was not able to rescind my resignation, so I lost my job in September and have been feeling the harshness of the economy, not only in seeking employment, but in the amount of competition for benefits. I was denied unemployment because I quit for less than "good cause" as deemed by the state and my previous employer. I stress more about money than anything else in life, so you know I was not sticking to a diet during these rough months. This past month especially, I have turned to comfort food. I have been eating a lot of ice cream, popcorn, even finishing off my kid's Mountain Dew (which I hate, but love caffeine) when he couldn't finish it. I was justifying it the same way I always have, and I have been overweight since the second grade, that I know one day I will commit to something and be healthy, and I won't look back. I have been so certain of it my whole life, like it is inevitible. I just have to start, and the time when it is "meant to happen" it will happen. I have posterboards filled with muscular women from Oxygen magazine, with phrases like, 'don't ever give up' or this saying that I love, but don't live up to: Mastering others is strength, mastering yourself is true power. Unknown. I have plenty of time to devote to working out and cooking since I am not working. And, I have an unbelievable secret weapon in my house that not a lot of people can say, my husband is a body builder and knows more about nutrition and fitness than anyone I have ever met! And he is incredibly supportive and understanding. I have all the tools I need, the rest is up to me. Being fat hurts on the inside and out, and I am tired of hurting.