My journey to being healthy has been long, and it has not been easy. In my last post about learning to love myself, I discussed how I weighed almost 280 pounds and had multiple health problems. Luckily, I had a good doctor who was able to help me get started on the right path.
After getting set up with the proper medication, I was set up with 12 appointments with a dietician. On my first visit, I was excited but, to be honest, a little frustrated. I didn’t understand what this lady would tell me that was any different from any book or magazine article I had already read. I knew what I was supposed to do, and I knew the problem was that I was not following a healthy diet or lifestyle. I went in and sat down and waited for this lady to tell me all the things I already knew. Janelle was the lady’s name, and she was sweet and soft-spoken. She reminded me of that caring woman who goes to church and takes care of everyone’s kids. I felt like we would clash as I sat in the chair in her office covered in tattoos. She smiled at my husband and me and explained who she was, how she became a nutritionist, and how her program worked. She explained that she would start by evaluating our eating habits and slowly make changes over the next 12 visits until we were where we needed to be. I use this practice in my own business today.
She then asked me to run her through my typical day of food. Easy enough, I mentioned what I had for breakfast, lunch, and dinner the day before. She then asked me about snacks, which I told her I don’t snack or eat that much. The sad thing is that I believed this. She smiled and handed us each a notebook. She told us that we were to jot down everything we ate and when we ate it for the first week. That seemed simple enough, and we were on our way. I left still feeling frustrated as I was hoping for a diet plan to start following, but I did what she said. Over the next week, my husband and I wrote down everything we ate. I slowly started noticing how much I was writing things down. My meals were not a problem, but I was snacking throughout the day and all the way to bedtime. I had no idea how many calories I was taking in, so I started using MyFitnessPal to track my food. My goal was set at 2200 calories a day, and I took in almost 3000 daily. I was shocked as I felt like I didn’t eat that much.
At my next appointment, I showed her my food journal. She looked it over, and to my surprise, she was not judgmental. She asked me what I noticed from writing everything down. I told her that I realized I was eating more than I realized I was. She nodded and continued to look over my journal. She looked confused and asked me, “What is a Hawk Box?” I explained that this was McDonald’s newest promotion and that for $15, you could get two Big Macs, two fries, and two 10-piece chicken nuggets for $15.
She just stared at me for a minute in silence. I didn’t know what to say, so I told her that my husband and I would get it and split it with each other. She looked back at my food journal and said, “I see you are also getting a large soda with it.” I didn’t understand where she was going with this, so I told her it was because the box didn’t come with a drink. She smiled sweetly and said, “Ok, for this next week, I want you to get rid of any soda you have in the house, and if you want a soda to go to the store and buy one soda. Do not buy any to keep in your house.” I was annoyed because I liked soda and didn’t know what else to drink, but I knew I needed to listen to her, so we went home, and since we only had a few sodas left, we decided to finish them up. For the first couple of days, I could feel my body going through withdrawals; I would get headaches and was very cranky. I would eventually cave and drive to the store and buy one 20oz soda. I did this for a couple of weeks until I realized I didn’t want to go to town every time I wanted a soda. I started buying vitamin waters and having those in the fridge. I was so proud of myself. We also stopped buying the Hawk Box even though I didn’t know the problem since we were sharing.
It was time for our one-month appointment, so we booked all three in one day. The first stop was to our regular doctor for a weigh-in. I stepped on the scale, and yippy, I was down to 274 pounds. I had lost 6 pounds in one month, and I was so happy. Jeremiah weighed, and he was down to 265 pounds. He had lost 28 pounds in one month. I should have been happy for him, but suddenly, the 6 pounds that I had been so proud of just moments ago felt like nothing. I tried so hard to be happy for him, but to be honest, I was pissed. Not only did he now weigh less than I did, I knew I was working harder than he was. I had started eating more greens and portion sizing my plates, I only drank soda once a week, and I was working out at the gym. He had cut down on soda and was working out, and he lost a ton of weight. I didn’t understand how this could be possible, and I definitely didn’t feel fair. My doctor tried to reassure me that everyone loses at a different pace, and men typically lose weight faster than women. We headed to the dietician, who informed me of the same thing, but it was not helping. Everyone around me was so proud of the weight I had already taken off, including my husband, but I was discouraged.
The next appointment was with the behavioral health specialist to find out why I was overweight. My doctor explained that I would need to do at least two visits, and I felt like this was nonsense. I didn’t need a therapist, and the reason I was overweight was because of my thyroid condition, but I knew it was part of the program, so we made an appointment. We went in, and Jeremiah went to see his therapist, and I went to see mine. I had met this woman a year ago when my son needed counseling, and I almost didn’t recognize her as she had lost so much weight. I instantly felt better as this woman had been more overweight than me and looked great. Maybe she could be helpful. We sat down, and she told me that she had lost 80 pounds over the last year, and she gave me some tips on snacking.
I felt better already and made mental notes of things to change at home. She started asking me why I thought I was overweight, and I told her about my health issues. She sighed and bluntly said, “your health issues will make it harder for you to lose weight, but they are not the reason you gained it.” I was shocked as I had never been told that before. She started asking me about my personal life and what brought me to the program. I filled her in on my aunt’s death and how I felt about my own life. She was patient and listened to me, and after a while, I realized I had told her everything. She nodded as she took notes, and then she stopped and asked me what I was thinking about at that very moment. I thought this was odd, but I was honest with her, and I told her I was wondering what I would have for lunch when I left. She wanted to know how often I thought about food. That was the weirdest question I had ever been asked, and like a smart ass, I answered, “I think about food when I am hungry.” She laughed and said, “I highly doubt that.” I didn’t know what to say, and I thought she was rude. She must have sensed this because she said, “I don’t mean to sound rude, but I am wondering how often you add food into your daily equations?” She continued by asking me a series of questions like, when you are going to a party, do you wonder if there will be food there? I thought about these questions, and I answered yes to most of them. She put down her pen and looked at me for what felt like an eternity. Finally, she said, “I believe what you have is an overeating addiction, and that is why you are overweight.” I was stunned as I could not believe what I was hearing. How could I have an overeating addiction when I didn’t eat that much? She told me that we were out of time and would pick this up at the next visit, but she wanted me to look up some overeating sites and think about what she said. I agreed and left to have lunch with my husband.
At lunch, I filled him in on what she told me and how I felt like that could not be possible. He agreed with me, but he also thought it would be good for me to look it up to know more about it and at least tell her what I had learned at the next visit. After I got home, I started researching overeating addictions and found multiple articles on signs of overeating, and I marked yes to eight out of eight questions. I continued to read more and more on the subject, and I realized she was right. I did have an addiction and a dangerous one at that. Unlike drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, food is something I need to nourish my body and live. I couldn’t quit it cold turkey, which meant that I needed help. I found this great book on stopping binge eating and more that is helpful, but I finally knew that I needed counseling to get to the bottom of this problem. I called and booked two additional sessions with the counselor. After all, this was the start of my new life, and I was going to do it right.
Stay tuned for part 5 of my journey, My New Life!
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