Aug 1, 2016
In August of 2015, I was at a point where, as I put it, “food had me by the throat”. I had lost a large amount of weight before, and while I am proud of that success, it was clearly temporary. I did not truly address, nor did I understand, my difficulties around food. I had gained a significant amount of the weight I had lost, and was on the path to gain it all back. My days would start by me thinking “today is going to be better” and “I am going to be good today”. Then, after the work day, I would stop at the grocery store on the way home and buy donuts and cookies and candy, re-park the car in a secluded section of the grocery store parking lot, and eat it all. Then I would go home and eat dinner. If I didn’t go to the store on the way home from work, I would have dinner, then eat more and more and more around the house. In either case, I would feel awful (physically and emotionally) for what I had done, and many times cried myself to sleep.
I dreamed of being athletic. I would work out a couple times a week, but my eating habits were completely sabotaging any athletic progress I might have made. I was out of control and I knew it. How had I lost the weight before and why couldn’t I do it again? Finally, one of my late night crying sessions turned into one of my proudest moments. I finally determined: “I need help.” I started searching for weight loss clinics and centers that were not quick fixes, but something that might help me figure out why I was doing all of this damage and how I might turn it around and make it sustainable. I invested in myself, and about a week later, I was meeting for the first time with Amanda.
She did that first weigh-in, we talked about my current eating habits, and started slowly with a very simple plan that laid out what portions and food groups I needed to get at meal/snack times. Over the next weeks and months, she gave me tools to use: journaling when I felt I wanted to binge (I initially hated this, but it has proven extremely useful), evaluating my hunger/fullness, addressing and working through my typical binge foods, and helping me understand macronutrients and calories. The most important tool, however, was the actual meetings with her.
She’s wonderfully spooky sometimes! She can ask me a question, I’ll have trouble putting my answer into words that I feel are coherent, and she will rephrase it as though she plucked it right out of my brain. She gets it. Period. We focus on healthy eating and healthy emotions around food. With this focus, the self criticism and loathing has turned to self love and understanding. She has helped me understand that a number on the scale does not define worth and what really matters is my health and how I feel in my own skin.
Now, nearly a year later, I am 60+ lbs lighter, and consistent exercise has given me the athleticism I have always wanted. Cycling was something I loved, but I was too self conscious and embarrassed about my size to do it. Once springtime came, I was well below the weight limit on my bike, so I got back on the bike and did a ride at Cherry Creek Reservoir. I still remember how amazing I felt, because I was lighter and stronger than ever on the bike. I still remember this like it was yesterday. Flash forward a couple months, and I am doing distance rides and mountain climbs on my bike that I never dreamed possible. When I am not cycling, I have also found true enjoyment in weight lifting. I see muscle definition that I never fathomed possible, and I am still getting comfortable with liking what I see in the mirror instead of loathing it.
All of this truly boils down to having the right people supporting me throughout this adventure. My journey continues, and I know that I will never be “cured”, but will always have certain challenges with food. These challenges are no longer insurmountable, however, but instead, I can take them on with confidence and knowledge. I am grateful every single day for Amanda and this amazing, crazy, educational, rewarding, and yes, sometimes frustrating, journey she had taken with me. She has been kind, understanding, honest, and blunt - all of which were things I needed! I can’t wait to see what adventures the next year holds!