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POSITIVE STORIES

Extreme Mistakes

-By Kent -

Since I could remember, I’ve been chubby. My mom always made huge dinners. Usually healthy, sometimes less, but she always made time to cook for us. I grew up going back in for seconds and thirds on a dinner plate that was almost twice the s .....read more...

Since I could remember, I’ve been chubby. My mom always made huge dinners. Usually healthy, sometimes less, but she always made time to cook for us. I grew up going back in for seconds and thirds on a dinner plate that was almost twice the size of my head. Not to complain, though. That on its own might be fine if I had been active, which I had not been, but my biggest problem was my snacking. I could drink two liters of soda a day and no water in weeks by 10 or 11. I never felt like I had enough.
I remember the first time I cried about my weight, I was probably 12 or so. I was 5’2 and 135lbs. I had just gotten weighed at a normal checkup. It wasn’t so severe, looking back on it, but the doctor had warned me that I had to look after my weight. I had never thought that eating was something I would ever have to think about. I was used to just eating whenever I felt bored, or anything else. Crying in the car on the way home from the doctor that day didn’t deter me at all.
I was probably 14 or 15 when my mom wanted me to go on a walk with her and the dog down the street. Two blocks down, I broke down and walked home by myself because I didn’t want to walk anymore. I cried with frustration the whole way. I was tired. I just wanted to eat.
I went weeks without leaving the house. I topped the scales at 15 when I was 5’4 and 160lbs. Not obese, per se, but it was enough to begin hindering me medically. I could barely sleep, I couldn’t walk upstairs without getting winded, I didn’t go outside for weeks on end. I had already been depressed, but this made it much, much worse. I wasn’t medicated for that, either, so I self-medicated with food. It truly was a vicious cycle.
I tried my best to get healthy at this point. I didn’t know much about nutrition, as a lot of the stuff I learned in school was outdated. Fat is bad, carbs are good. That’s all I knew. I ate the same amount, but I ate salads drowned in dressing, I would count the calories in my big mac, I only drank diet soda. In my mind, that, coupled with walking to and from classes, was everything I could do. I started telling myself that I was exercise intolerant. I thought I just couldn’t lose weight. I started to want to accept myself in my lazy and miserable body. I was convinced I knew everything I could.
This part is very fuzzy in my mind. It feels like I woke up one day and decided to just stop cold turkey. I just stopped eating. It was a complete shock to my body, and my psyche. I was still self-harming but on the opposite side of the spectrum. I was done crying in the mirror all the time.
I’d go days eating nothing but an apple, and tons of green tea. I still can’t drink or smell green tea without feeling sick. It’s like my stomach remembers being empty and rebels against me for giving a sign that I might be starting up again.
I did this for a year. And I lost weight.
But I also lost that entire year. I don’t remember doing anything or caring about anything but weighing myself in the morning. I lost friends, I lost my energy, I lost passion. I lost valuable time with my family. I became irritable and bitter.
Ultimately, I gained most of the weight back. I was back to being lazy and miserable. Like a bouncing ball, I gained and lost the same 40 pounds for a long time.
For a while, I thought starving was the only way I could be skinny. Being outside and nearly passing out because you’re so starving is better than being inside and nearly passing out because you’re too full, I thought.
It makes me upset, how black and white my mind was. Black and white seemed so much easier, but it only caused me pain. I’m 17 now, and I’m still really struggling with my weight and nutrition. I don’t think that I, or any children, should have to learn about food the hard way. Food shouldn’t be scary or traumatizing for anyone.
It’s scary to think of the way I used to eat, the way I used to abuse my body every day. These days, I say, bless the feet that take you to and fro, bless the seeing eyes and listening ears, bless touch. Being alive is something people take for granted. Becoming healthier and putting my livelihood and happiness first was one of the most important steps I’ve ever taken. Why not get started right away?

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