My Eating Life as an Adult: Day 23.2

After moving out on my own, I couldn’t afford much for food, so I ate really weird combinations or at my places of employment. I remember eating an entire carton of cottage cheese with crackers for lunch one time. Cereal and top ramen were often top on my list. At work, I ate fried foods or chips and candy. I built up a taste for salty and sweet. And, nothing was ever what I really wanted. Sometimes, I would cook on my day of, but I was still crafting my skill and it wasn’t Mom’s cooking. I put on weight and I started exercising more. I thought that it was all because of the lack of activity, not that my eating had changed. Not that I had new stresses I didn’t know how to deal with.

After I got married, things didn’t change much because of my work schedule and our incomes. I did cook a little more often – the rich baked casseroles I grew up with because they were cheap and went far. My weight evened out. I only worried about my eating because it wasn’t matching the food rules I had developed.

With my first child, I cooked well balanced meals and made sure that she was given food when she needed it. But I was often tired, and I developed eating out of exhaustion. After everyone went to bed, I would break out the cookies. When the older kids were at school, I’d break out something I didn’t want to share. I had no limits when I was on my own. Then I started getting sick. Every month my body seemed to reject food for a week and plague me with migraines. I’d lose 10 pounds and be so hungry I’d eat like crazy to make up for the week. Oddly, I did lose a lot of weight in a few months and before I knew it, I was below pre-pregnancy weight. I learned that if I ate too much sugar, fruits included, or fats it would send me into this downward spiral. I went a year with no sweets and little fats. Hormones helped.

When we decided to have my second child, I had to go off birth control and it started again. Upon becoming pregnant, the sickness wore off.  I ate fruit like it was going out of style. I couldn’t get enough of it. I couldn’t lose weight as fast as I did with my first pregnancy, so I started doing thing that in the past would have made me very ill. I started eating large quantities of sugars and fats. I didn’t get sick; instead I put on the weight. At that time, phen phen was hitting the market. I decided to give it a try. The weight did come off, not all of it, but enough to make me happy. So I didn’t stay on the drugs very long – I didn’t like how I felt either. The weight quickly went back on because I hadn’t really changed much in my eating behaviors.

This was the start of true diet yo-yoing. I tried many things that I heard about short of shots and further drugs. The cabbage soup diet made it where I couldn’t go out in public for a week. Other diets lasted longer and had better results. But, as soon as I started feeling good about my weight and shape, I’d go clothes shopping.  Within a month, every time, the clothes would no longer fit and I’d be heavier.

I went to gyms, participated in competitions, saw nutritionists, and joined a 12 step group. Nothing stuck. The closest to something sticking was when I began this journey to get better and to hike long distance. I lost a lot of weight, but when the struggle became long with the winters, things went back to normal. Leading us to now.

Now, I am ready to give up dieting. My first step is to let my body know that I can eat what I want and that nothing will be off limits again (except milk for lactose reasons). Writing out my food history was a big help in realizing why I ate as I did and that eating that way no longer helps with them.  Next I will discover what my feelings truly feel like.

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