Healthy Living: Samantha's Story

>> Friday, September 10, 2010

Samantha writes:

I've been reading your blog for a short time, maybe a month or two, but it has already inspired me. I am also finding comfort in reading the stories your post about other people. It has brought me full circle (hopefully) with something I have been struggling with for a little over a year now. So, I share with you my story because I want you to know why I'm glad you guys came into my life. (Awww, thanks! We're happy you found us!) Here it goes, with more honesty than I have shared with anyone.

Four years ago, I weighed my heaviest, about 150. I'm only 5 foot 2, so this was a lot on my little frame. It didn't bother me much. I exercised, so I was in decent physical shape. I could really kill it when it came to cardio. I enjoyed exercising. However, I didn't pay any attention to my eating habits, I thought I ate pretty healthy, and I also enjoyed an alcoholic beverage occasionally. (Okay, more than occasionally! I indulged.)

I got pregnant in September of 2006. I managed my weight well, only gaining 24 pounds. I worked out until I delivered, and I was very proud of myself. Once my daughter was old enough to eat the same things as myself, I began to change my eating habits. Mostly because I wanted her to eat healthfully. I was a stay-at-home mom, and if I didn't want Hannah (my daughter) to have chips, then I decided I should not have them while eating with her. I wanted her to eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, so I began buying them more and introducing those as snacks. After I stopped breast-feeding, my new eating habits had become just that, habits. Without ever trying, or even wanting to, I dropped down to 115 with a body fat percentage of 17% over the span of 10 months.

Somewhere in the middle of the weight loss, my life changed dramatically. We moved, across an ocean, then halfway across the country, and into my parents home while my husband went through new job training and we found a home. My family is deep south and there is never a meal where something is not fried. With my new-found body and weight loss, I became terrified of gaining all this weight. Looking back, I see where this lead to a dangerous trend. I practically starved myself.

Then things got worse. Last August I began to gain weight, and it was unexplainable. Over the course of 3 months, I gained 30 pounds and a lot of depression. I began to binge eat. I would starve, restricting my calories to less than 1000 a day. I would over eat one or two days a week, and then have horrible food guilt from it. I would exercise for hours a day, 7 days a week. It was compulsive and if I couldn't work out I would get very cranky. I hated the way I looked. Nothing I owned fit me.

Things got so bad that by December I had covered all my mirrors with black paper so that I couldn't see my reflection. I hated myself. I was, and still am, seeing two specialists for this problem. No one is sure why it happened but I am on medication to try and tackle some of the possibilities.

The covered mirrors didn't last long. My husband put his foot down and insisted I get help. So I did. I started seeing a therapist and a personal trainer in January. My personal trainer, and now friend, was fantastic. I was completely honest with her. She did not have a weight loss goal, of fitness goal for me, but a self image goal for me. She encouraged to pack away all my clothes, so I would stop trying them on to see if they fit. She helped me feel human about the feelings I had. Things began to turn around. I started to loss weight but I still struggled with food guilt. I want to consume as few calories as possible because I wanted nothing more than to lose the weight as quickly as possible. The binge behavior stopped, but the constant thoughts about food/what I was going to eat/what I had eaten continued.

Today, I have not lost all the weight I gained, but I have dropped just over half. My muscle definition is starting to come back, which I'm very happy about. I still meet with my trainer. She still pushes me as hard as ever. She has yet to put me on a scale or take my body fat percentage. Knowing all that I know today, I think my poor eating behavior really jacked up my metabolism. Through reading your blog, and the healthy fitspirations, I began to see that my eating habits are still not what they should be. While they are much better, I still have the random bout of guilt or the over thinking how much I ate.

The good news is I see improvement. I know how to do this. I did it once, without much effort. I still have to remind myself that it's okay to give in to my cravings. Depriving myself only leads down a more destructive path. I am thinking about food, and what I eat, less and less.

So, from the bottom of my heart (and my stomach!) thank you.


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