April 23, 2018

Work in Progress

I call this blog, Work in Progress, because that’s what I am. My weight-loss work started in college which I refer to as boot camp. In so many ways college was life changing as I’m sure it is for everyone who attends. By graduation day I would’ve encountered every eating disorder and self-esteem problem possible. I would dabble at having my own bouts of low self-esteem and eating disorder attempts. We’ll get to that later.

My second year of college I moved into an apartment with three friends. In preparation for the school year, my best friend and I, drove to San Francisco to shop for the day. Clothes fit better, and I looked better in them.  It was going to be a good year. I vowed to dress up for school daily and get myself a man. Mind you in Chico a guys idea of a date is I’ll buy the 12-pack of Natural Ice, AKA Natty Ice! Not really sure why I wanted a man!

It was 1999, and the Atkins diet was gaining popularity, so I jumped on board. Atkins was my first attempt at dieting. I also joined a local gym. My friend joined the same gym. The popular workout at that time was Tae Bo. We were motivated, attending a Tae Bo class daily. I kept running and added in the StairMaster.

After a while, on Atkins, I realized it wasn’t for me.  My new drink of choice was Gin and Crystal Light, yuck!  I’m fairly certain Gin was the only alcohol approved on the diet. I ate asparagus for breakfast. My George Foreman grill cooked up boneless skinless chicken breasts seasoned with Mrs. Dash. I did well sticking to the diet as witnessed while trying to do my usual 30 minute Stairmaster workout my legs felt like lead weights, too heavy to lift.  Not to mention, Gin and Crystal Light seriously!!! WTF!!! I hated Gin! Underage college students cannot be so choosy with what they drink either. You drink what you can get your hands on.

After trying Atkins, I switched to Weight Watchers. It was the points system, and I remember logging everything I ate on a little trifold booklet. My days started out well, but by the end of the day, I’d blown my points and then it was time to go out and party.

At this point, my roommates were totally irritated with me. They were sick of my dieting, talking about food and obsessive working out. One afternoon I walked into our apartment with my Weight Watchers name tag still on my shirt (accidently), they asked what it was. Once I told them it was from Weight Watches they both said, “Oh brother” rolling their eyes in irritation.  I was beginning to learn one of my rules.

The conversation of ones’ diet and exercise regime is not an interesting topic of conversation. The biggest problem with constant diet talk is it hampers our ability to lose weight. Have you ever heard a slim person say they need to lose weight then you think well if they think that about themselves what must they think of me? See what I’m getting at? It’s useless, boring and toxic.

I didn’t stick with Weight Watchers either. I was exceeding my points daily, what was the point. Weight Watchers wasn’t a total waste of time I learned a valuable lesson while in it. Standing in line outside Weight Watchers waiting for the weekly meeting and weigh-in I overheard a woman behind me tell another woman,” I don’t know why she’s here,” as she gestured towards to me. She went on to say that I shouldn’t be allowed to be there because I didn’t need to lose weight. I wish I had turned around and told her, “you have no idea how I used to look so don’t judge me.” Instead, I said nothing.  Here’s the lesson: you don’t know people’s past so don’t judge.  That rule applies to everything in life. For all, she knew I could have lost 100 pounds using Weight Watchers and was continuing to attend meetings to maintain weight loss as many people do. I’d lost around 20 pounds by this point. Albeit not from my failed attempt at Weight Watchers. But what difference does that make? None!

Years later a friend of mine would be a Weight Watchers meeting leader. I learned there are lifetime members who attend meetings to keep themselves motivated and motivate others on their weight loss journey. That rude comment made by an insecure woman turned out to be a great teaching tool for me. We are all on our own journey through life. It’s not our place to judge others. When you stop judging you stop feeling judged.

I’m going to say that again!

When you stop judging, you stop feeling judged.

It’s just as much for the other person as it is you.

While busy waging war against my body. One of my roommates was caught up in her own battle with bulimia. As many of us had suspected in the dorms, she was bulimic. While we ate in the dining hall, she would load a plate with more food than any one person could eat. She would eat it quickly then make up a story about going upstairs to see a friend. We all knew she was throwing up because that friend she went to see would pop up in the dining hall at the same time she was supposedly visiting her.

Those same roommates who rolled their eyes at my Weight Watchers stint were plugging their ears while our roommate threw up an entire sub sandwich, large can of soup and half a box of cereal. It was painful to have a friend that we loved in such a bad place. It got to the point when we could predict, by what was going on in her life, when she would binge then purge.  She denied the whole thing if we tried to talk to her about it. Bulimia was a far bigger problem than we were capable of dealing with. She had been doing this much longer than I’d known her.

I must admit at the time I was grossed out with the bulimia. Hearing your roommate throw up is yucky. In retrospect, my heart goes out to her and others dealing with this terrible disease. I hope this blog can be a small help to those suffering from eating disorders. I’m not a doctor or expert on the subject. However, I want my message to contribute to an overall less hostile environment for women in regards to body image and weight.

Remember it takes a village. I hope to be a part of your village.

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