In spite of never being particularly thin, I never dieted a day in my life until I was 24 years old. On April 13, 2004 I made the fast and furious decision to follow my mom’s lead and join Weight Watchers because, as the ads promise … it works.
As many of you long-time readers know, my journey wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. The first eight months on WW, I lost 35 pounds — dropping from a size 12 to a size 6. I did this through simple diet changes, learning about portion control, and upping my fitness ante. I loved my new body, but feared it was on loan. So, in an effort to stay thin at any and all accounts, I began a slow spiral into the secretive world of disordered eating. Because I wasn’t super-thin, no one assumed I had “an issue” … and furthermore, as a chewer and spitter, I always ate and never actually purged. So if I wasn’t anorexic or bulimic, I was OK!
But I wasn’t OK … I was a disordered eater. And my head was a mess. I became obsessed with food and fitness — borderline orthorexic, talking about food, calories, justifying my every food decision … you name it. I drove everyone around me nuts with my zealous, holier-than-thou ways. I hated myself for it … but yet I didn’t stop. Couldn’t stop.
And on top of the food issues, I began over-exercising … two workouts a day, not stopping til I hit X calories on my Polar F-6 heart rate monitor, skipping social functions to work out. I was living proof of how too much of a good thing can be bad for you.
In time, instead of maintaining my weight, I gained weight. And grew more anxious. Cognitive behavioral therapy and blogging helped me get my act together but it took a year — including lots of set-backs — to get there. As of March 2009, I’ve been “sober” from my disordered ways. I don’t worry about going back … but it is a conscious decision to not always listen to the nagging inner voice that might encourage me to engage in unhealthy ways again.
These five years, I’ve experimented with journaling different ways, trying intuitive eating … I’ve gotten pregnant, embraced the changes, and lost the weight — gaining the best gifts of all: my two beautiful children.
And what I realized today is I’ve been consciously — or subconsciously — dieting for the past decade. In fact, I’ve documented pretty much every day of my life: be it on WW.com, Sparkpeople, a pen-and-paper journal, or my current fave: the MyFitnessPal app. Whether on vacation or a work event, pregnant or nursing… my philosophy has always been, “if you bite it, write it.” And I have. It’s just part of what I do each day — like showering and brushing my teeth.
Though I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum — over-eating and restricting — these past five years, I’ve been all about moderation. Because truthfully, that’s what works best. It’s what allows me to live a normal life and, most important, enjoy the life I live.
And for that, I’m eternally grateful.