Guest Post (Kinda): Overcoming a Family of Dieters

24 Jun

This is a guest post, but not one of mine. Rather, it’s a guest post that I wrote for Mish, which posted on Eating Journey on April 27th, 2010. It’s much more raw than I usually can bring myself to write, and I’ve had a hard time putting all out there over here. Since I’m currently in the Holy Land and living outside my comfort zone, I think that I can share this now.


I don’t remember much of my childhood.

I can’t tell you what I wore on my 5th birthday, the name of my best friend in 2nd grade or my first trip to Disneyland. In fact, I can’t really remember much of anything before my 10th birthday. Except that I can remember my now-divorced parents having a fight over butter pecan ice cream in the middle of the night.

I can remember my first taste of a fat-free, sugar-free, taste-free baked potato chip.
I can remember the first time I understood what being “fat” meant.

I don’t remember much, but what I do remember is the food. Not the occasions that involved food, or the times spent around it, but the food itself.

You see, I come from a long line of amazing cooks, but also one of dieters – folks who just couldn’t achieve their ideal, no matter what diet they tried.

My mother, grandmother, father, aunt, cousins – name a diet, and I could point you to which branch of my family tree had tried it. Bubs, my grandmother, who made the most amazing kugel, spent years and years on Weight Watchers, losing and gaining and losing and gaining the same 10 pounds. My dad, an amazing marathoner, would have weeks involving pepperoni and mushroom pizza (well done, thin crust) and a pint of haagen-daz every night. Other weeks would be spent on the cabbage diet, eating only bananas and skim milk on day four, and being “allowed to stuff” himself with as much cabbage soup as his heart desired.

At some point, food became both the enemy and the prize; it was good or bad, and I was eating either too much or not enough. The word “diet” became almost like my imaginary friend, keeping me safe from being fat. As long as I was dieting, I felt good. People were nicer to me. After all, I was trying.

And I tried; I tried Weight Watchers, Butter Busters, nutritionists, fat camps, calorie restriction, Atkins, and even one where my dinner consisted of two 1/2 pound hamburger patties, 2 cups of white rice, and one cup of broccoli. Every night that I went to sleep with an empty stomach, my soul felt emptier still, and so I looked for ways to feed it. Not through activities, hobbies or friends, not through learning or playing. I filled my stomach with what I missed most: food.

I ate often and in secret.

A couple of boxes of chocolate here, 4 hamburgers there. If I was alone, you could bet that I was eating, and if I wasn’t alone, I was thinking about being alone to binge. I ate for every moment I surpressed, every calorie I was denied, and everything that I wouldn’t let myself feel. I was numb, dragging through life. I went from being hungry all of the time to not knowing what being hungry felt like. The years and binges flew by, and I went from being a sad, chubby kid to being a clinically depressed and dangerously obese adult.

And guess what?
I still wasn’t full, and my soul was emptier than ever.

Even at my worst, I wanted to be better. I wanted to be fun, loved, happy and free-spirited. I wanted to be skinny, and I wanted to be good. G-d, did I ever want to be good.
No matter what I did, no matter what I tried, I was never good enough, pretty enough or perfect enough. I dropped out of school, withdrew from my friends, abused my body, and abused my spirit. Because I just couldn’t be good.

I don’t know when it changed, when I changed and it all stopped being so black and white. I have a feeling it was the day that I met my husband, and saw that I could be loved, really loved by someone good. It may have been the day that I realized that size 26 was getting a little too snug, and I was 6 measly pounds away being 300 pounds.
Whatever it was, one thing was true: I was sick. Sick of the roller coaster, the yo-yo, the ride, the disease that was controlling my health, my relationships and my life.

So I did.

It’s 15 months and 75 pounds later, and I’m binge-free, working towards getting into a dietetics program, and married to the most amazing man who loves me no matter how much I weigh.

My life is piecing itself together, and for the first time in my entire life, I can look in the mirror and see a beautiful person.

And all it took was putting down the yo-yo, dusting the dirt off of my shoulders, and choosing my future over my past.

I move more, eat less and am finally, FINALLY full.


4 Responses to “Guest Post (Kinda): Overcoming a Family of Dieters”

  1. Mish June 24, 2010 at 7:04 AM #

    I still love this guest post…it just makes my heart smile

  2. jenferlouise June 24, 2010 at 1:52 PM #

    You are gorgeous! And strong! The new attitude may just be the healthiest part! 🙂

  3. E June 24, 2010 at 11:43 PM #

    Everytime I read this post, I find another reason to add to my list of why I love you.

  4. Dawn July 3, 2010 at 10:06 PM #

    You are beautiful and strong– and I’m proud to call you my friend ❤

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