I think I'll get some autobiographical stuff out of the way as an introduction and apologize in advance for my verbosity--I'm a wordy cuss, and I don't want to bore the Vibrams off of anybody. Or maybe I do. Barefoot is better anyway. Oh well. I can't wear them myself because my toes look like salad shrimps. Where do I start?
(Northeast Philadelphia born and raised, in front of a tv is where I spent most of my days...erm, maybe not)--I was born a small baby and stayed skinny until I hit puberty. No. That isn't right. Puberty hit me. My body went through dramatic changes and suddenly I was curvy--almost like I went to bed an 11 year old and woke up in a late-teens' body. I wasn't athletic before, but I went from just being the slow-ish girl picked last for sports in gym class to a total, painful awkwardness. When I ran, I felt like my schoolmates were staring (maybe they were, maybe they weren't, things were said), and I couldn't deal with my own sweat. It felt like a foreign corrosive substance watering would-be zits and probably shooting out gross teen hormone-smells. If asked at the time, I genuinely think I could have begged off on doing any kind of physical activity until I was through my "awkward stage".
It's just as well. I'm still in one.
Anyway, I was quite comfortable being inactive, and my diet was about as typically SAD as it gets. I was raised on starch and boxed food and had snacks in arm's reach, but I wasn't really a big girl. Nope. Just a not-especially fit kid. I graduated HS at about 150 on a 5'4" frame.
In college, about my sophomore year, I actually decided to get fitter. Well, a handful of things happened--my boyfriend at the time moved to a house about a mile or so away, so I was taking long walks to his house and around my college campus. My parents got a Nautilus machine. And I got a small diet book about low-calorie snacks and basic calorie-counting. And I dropped thirty pounds, then that boyfriend, picked another boyfriend up, and found myself in some slightly disordered eating. In the low 120's my immune system was weak, I had heart palpitations, and my hair might have been thinning (it's hard to be sure--in the 90's there was an awful lot of bleach and hairspray involved.) And after college--I put it all back on.
And then some. I got married, got a full-time job in retail (some 50 hr + weeks) and discoved booze. Oh, yes. I liked living on my own and being able to drink what and when I wanted, and after a long day, with aching feet and knees, I felt like I deserved a good time. So I ate out whenever I could and had plenty of beer and got up to about 190. And that number, when I saw it on a scale, scared me crapless, because I did that gain in about two years. I had other things going on, but as I teetered on the edge of a divorce, I found something I could do to get control back--
I went vegetarian. I cut back on alcohol. I took long walks. I left my apartment to return to my parents' house twenty pounds lighter, but I also found a new friend--diet supplements. I liked ECA stacks. A lot. They worked quickly and gave me energy that I didn't have on a vegetarian diet. In a year, I got back down to 150. It wasn't a smart way to do things. So when I ended my fling with vegetarianism (I was headed into vegan and probably orthorexia--although I shudder to think I once considered vegetable-oil-based cheese substitute a wholesome food, or that I kept myself running on chemicals as long as I did) and relaxed into a new relationship, I slipped into all of the old ways, booze and crappy eating included.
Oh, and did I mention I still hated physical exercise for the most part? Because that was still true. Did not like it. But as I climbed up to 220, I liked it less as my knees, ankles, and feet rebelled. I guess that was the mid-00's. And there I stayed. And for the most part, I wasn't motivated to do something. My life, my body, my choices, my feeling like I didn't want to keep screwing my body up even more because my past weight loss experiences were fraught with emotional baggage and, well, you know. I might have to stop drinking to do it properly. And maybe even sweat some. E-gads!
Anyway, my husband turned me on to Primal Blueprint and Taubes' books about why we get fat and I started looking at this whole thing differently. And this is going to sound really weird, but another thing that changed my mind was the fatosphere. I'm a feminist (I don't mind using the word despite the baggage that goes with it) and I really feel strongly that every person's body is to be respected, and their choices and where they are in their lives and their health is in no way my business to judge--especially given all I've done to my body and where I've been in my use and abuse of it. But by the same token, my body and my choice to get healthy is something I've got to do for me, and I'm no longer hung up on the numbers on the scale or as desperate to shed weight fast and foolishly as I once was. I used to see fat as an enemy, and then I came to see it as just a part of my body. As I've read more about nutrition from the primal/paleo side, I think I see fat more like a symptom of my disordered way of eating and living. I want to resolve my health, and if weight comes off, well, that's probably a good sign of progress. But I'm going to try a little tenderness with myself. Rediscover physical activity as play. Get outside. See food as my medicine, not medicine as food. In the meanwhile, while I may have a fat body, it's just not a reflection of my worth or even how much I like myself. Fat or thin, I just want to feel healthier.
I've been sober (well, I allow myself the least bit of wine with meals, only--it's a "sometimes" treat now instead of a nightly obligation) since the end of March. I sleep better, and more. I haven't pushed myself a lot, but I am down to 212. I think it might come off slowly because I have done some crap to myself, and I need to probably resolve some nutritional deficits. My husband insists I need to eat more--especially protein. I'm journaling how I'm doing and my perceptions about changing my lifestyle because that strikes me as the best way to keep myself honest--kind of doing it "in front of" people.
Welcome VP, you are very fortunate to have a husband who has helped you find this lifestyle and is encouraging you to keep with it. With the right information and attitude I am sure you will be able to turn your health around. Best wishes.
Annie's Primal Highlights
What Annie Did Next