Within the first six months of Miss E's life, I went from 225 to 140. My husband came home from deployment and I was 15 pounds short of my pre-pregnancy weight. I would love to say that I was feeling great about myself, but those 15 pounds were taunting me. With that said, I had proudly lost my weight the healthy way. I was like a contestant on the Biggest Loser. I purchased a treadmill, stocked my refrigerator with fresh vegetables, fruit and chicken and ate in moderation. I worked hard and wasn't looking for the easy fix. This was a first for me. My daughter was worth it. I had to stay healthy for her.
When Miss E was napping, I was walking. Walking fast on the treadmill for miles and miles. The more I sweated, the better I felt. I was eating for one. I was using portion control. My favorite meal was chicken stir-fry. This dish was safe and became a staple in my diet. Mainly, because I knew exactly how many calories I was consuming. For breakfast, I would eat one serving size of Raisin Bran. I did not snack. I drank 90 ounces of water a day.
If I have learned one thing about our culture, it is that we are an indulgent society. The bigger, the better. If you travel to other countries, you will find that they do not consume as much food as Americans. Our smalls are equivalent to their larges. Other countries tend to cook with fresh foods, we indulge in pre-processed junk full of preservatives. I educated myself on how to eat properly. I educated myself on how to mentally overcome the fear of being "fat." I wish I could say that my newfound education ensured that I ended up making the best decisions for my health, but I can't.
I never sought counseling for my eating disorder. Perhaps I should have, because even though I was armed with the proper education, I once again, fell into the same unhealthy pattern. Once my husband was home, I instantly felt as though I wasn't thin enough. I looked at my flawed post pregnancy body and wondered how my husband could desire me. I had stretch marks, my hips and ribs were wider and I had lost my waist. I was disgusted with my body. I would often cry about the damage the pregnancy had done. Like a broken record, my weight obsession consumed my thoughts. If only I could get to 130, then I would feel confident again.
A certain memory stands out in my mind, just like it was yesterday. UPS delivered a package for me. I was hoping that the box would be delivered before my husband arrived home. Sadly, it didn't. When my husband asked me what was in the box, I considered lying. I was terribly ashamed. Instead, I had to admit that it was Metabolife with Ephedrine. He called me selfish. He berated me (with just cause). He condemned me for choosing to be thin, over being healthy. He questioned how I could gamble with my life, when I had a beautiful child to raise. I wish I could have been strong. I wish I could have pushed the pills aside. I had come so far. I had lost 85 pounds without the assistance of a pill, why would I sabotage my progress? Quite simply, because I was sick with anorexia.
I took two bottles of Metabolife before I had reached my goal weight. Sadly, 130 wasn't a magic number the would make me feel better. 130 didn't bring me happiness. 130 didn't put me in the size clothing I longed for and 130 certainly did not make me a better Mommy. Why wouldn't my mind allow me to prioritize? Why couldn't my mind recognize what was important in life. When I realized that 130 didn't make me happier, something clicked.
My child's eyes were so gorgeous. Her smile would light up a room. Her love for me was grand and unlike anything I had ever felt before. She accepted me for who I was, no matter how thin, chunky or fat I was. Her acceptance was the only thing that should have mattered. I needed to stop dwelling on the insignificant and start focusing on the most important subject - my child's happiness (not my own). My husband was right, I was being incredibly selfish. Light bulb moments are a gift. Clarity is a gift. Learning self-acceptance is an even larger gift.
Anorexia Nervosa: "Anorexia nervosa is a psychiatric disorder characterized by an unrealistic fear of weight gain, self-starvation, and conspicuous distortion of body image. The individual is obsessed with becoming increasingly thinner and limits food intake to the point where health is compromised. The disorder may be fatal. The name comes from two Latin words that mean nervous inability to eat."