Friday, April 08, 2011

Why I Eat The Way I Do: Part Uno

I haven't always struggled with my weight. I wasn't an athlete in high school (I was a musician, if you must know) and except for marching band, I didn't do many things that took stamina. But I was very tall (I've been 5'10" since I was 14 years old) and fairly thin (size 10-12 has always been my size). I ate like a horse. Voraciously, really. And I didn't gain a pound. Or an inch.

I weighed around 160 in high school. For some, this would seem very high, but you have to remember that I was thin and tall. Thin and tall. I started exercising my senior year in high school because it seemed like the right thing to do. I also remember walking with my buddy, Becky in the summertime. I was a very active teenager --always running around, burning both ends of the candle, you know --but healthy eating/living was really not on my mind. It was a non-issue with me.

When I went to college, I lived in housing that provided a kitchen. I didn't get to eat as much as before because I was poor! But I still managed to do well. I walked all over campus and the 2nd semester, I started exercising again. When I met my husband, dear reader, I looked like I did in high school.

After we got married, the weight started coming slowly. We ate more than we should, I had a desk job, etc. For a while we tried to exercise, and we did walk to campus a lot. But then I graduated and had a baby (actually reverse that: #1 was born 6 days before I graduated). Enter in the worst kind of enemy: Emotional Eating.

I think I've always been an emotional eater (a symptom of Depression, too, dang it!). My metabolism and constant activity as a teen, however, granted permission to eat that way. If I had known then what I know now, however, I would have been mortified at eating the way I did! But I didn't know. I ate the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) and was fine. I was fine.

After a few kids (three, to be precise), I realized I needed to do something. I was getting fatter and fatter and more tired and more depressed. My friend signed us up for a 5K and we did it! We joined weight watchers, I lost 15 pounds, ran the 5K, and then, because I was pregnant, I just stopped.

After my fourth (and our move to California), Brandon and I were both at an all time low health-wise. We loved to be outdoors, but we had no energy! My Depression was the worst it had ever been. We had to make a change. We joined weight watchers together, and Brandon lost 50 pounds in 9 months; I lost 40 pounds in 9 months. I ran another race. We exercised every day! I started a weight training class. This was me, after reaching my goal weight (just one month after moving back to Utah in April of 2008). I weighed 168 pounds:

But then we stopped. I kept walking, but I stopped running and lifting weights. I stopped keeping track of what I ate. I indulged a little here and a little there. I started to eat emotionally, again. And then I got pregnant.

After #5, I figured I could get myself going again, no problem. However, I was faced with many challenges: Brandon in school. Brandon laid off. Five children. Limited funds. Depression (that would require medication). Brandon too busy to join me in the healthy-quest. All of these things paved the way to intense emotional eating. I was NOT taking care of myself.

With weight watchers out of the option list (financial reasons), I started to look elsewhere. Nutrition became an interest to me. What could I do to change or improve the way I ate, and where could I get some good solid truthful knowledge about it that wasn't linked to a fad? I needed something that wouldn't waste my time! I needed something that would make sense, that would have the golden element of Truth about it!

My cousin told me about Jillian Michael's Master Your Metabolism. I bought it. I devoured it. I adopted it. I moved to almost all whole foods and almost all organic. I began to bake bread, make more meals from scratch. I discovered things like quinoa, sucanat, agave, barley, lentils, and leafy green veggies. Without tracking anything, and exercising at least twice a week (doing Jillian's DVD's), I lost 18 pounds in four months.

Summertime came, and with it came vacations. I couldn't focus on what I ate. I thought I was safe. I didn't pay attention. I gained it all back. And then more. And then more...

Around that time (August? September?) my amazing friend gave me two books: The China Study and Eat To Live. My other amazing friend told me about Green Smoothies and gave me The pH Miracle. Like the other information, I devoured them. I read and studied and talked and read and studied. And then I did something I should have done years ago: I pulled out Doctrine and Covenants, Section 89. I read and re-read the Word of Wisdom over and over and over....

I realized that I had not been following the Word of Wisdom. Oh, sure, I had stayed away from drugs, alcohol, coffee, and tobacco. I had/have a Temple recommend, after all. But I hadn't paid any attention to what we are supposed to eat. It didn't even occur to me that the answers for nutrition were found right there. Screw the fad diets, screw all the other information out there pertaining to what people should eat to encourage the best success at weight loss --here, in the scriptures, was the answer!! And had been for over a hundred and seventy-five years. 175 years!

So, just this last fall, armed with scripture, science, and personal experience, I began to take my journey into the craziness. I call it "craziness" because it has been one crazy ride! It's been phenomenal, dear reader. I can't even begin to describe the change it has wrought over me physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. It's caused contention, sadness, frustration, excitement, energy, relationships, and joy.

And I'll tell you why. In Part Two. Or Three. It's gonna take some time to get through all of this!

P.S. Pia was voted off American Idol last night. What the?! It's like when Jennifer Hudson was voted off. Except worse. Pia should have won the dang thing. Too many girl voters! That's the problem...


Emily & Co. said...

Don't leave me hanging!

evitafjord said...

When I saw Pia voted off, my first thought was, well, the demographic she most appeals to is not the demographic most likely to vote. And now I'm wondering, who does vote in American Idol? What are the demographics there? Of the people I know who watch it, I only know of one who actually votes. Hmm, I wonder if Google can help answer my questions.

Laura@livingabigstory said...

Cheryl, thank you for this post. It takes courage to write this honestly - but I'm sure it will help some of your bloggy friends (like me). I look forward to your future posts on this ... it is something I'm struggling with right now. Thank you.

The United Statements of Merica said...

K, this sounds like such a familiar story!! only instead of depression, my issues are autoimmune which lead to prednisone which lead to weight and bouts of depression.. my husband would probably call it bipolar though :) anyway, I am SO wanting to hear the rest, so hop to it!