Occupation: Retired Teacher
Sometimes it seems I have been dieting most of my adult life. The reality is I have been! Not in one straight line, but intermittently with many peaks and valleys. A graph of my weight over the years would probably remind one of a bear and bull market.
For as long as I can remember, I have had a weight problem. The interesting thing is that for the most part, I never thought of it as a “problem”. When one grows up above the desired weight for age and height… chubby, it becomes who you are. You either embrace it or let it bring you down with a poor self-image. Consciously or unconsciously, I embraced it as who I was. I was never obese in my own eyes, but always 30-40 pounds above my “ideal” weight. Living most of my adult life in Wisconsin which has more than its fair share of overweight women, I didn’t feel that “big”. While I was moderately active, food, especially sweets, were my rewards for just about anything and everything—a bad day at work, a fight with my spouse, a good golf game, a bad golf game, etc. They were my addiction!
Many people were not aware of my “weight” problem. That is because I was a subtle overweight person. I prided myself on never wearing tight clothes. Sometimes I would try a fad diet to get down not to my desired weight, but to where I had been. Other times, and more likely, I would go out and buy clothes that would fit me and hide my weight. Over the years I had a wardrobe of three different sizes, ladies 14, 16, and 18. When the size 18 would get tight, it would internally sound an alarm and off I went looking for a diet to get back to where I was. And the roller coaster would begin—up and down, up and down. I think I have tried just about every diet there is—the grapefruit diet, the protein diet, counting calories, weight watchers, eating right for your blood type etc. With all, I would lose weight, but just as research on fad diets states, the weight would slowly creep up. A pound here, a pound there, and then I was off and running. Of course I knew the reason was I didn’t change my eating habits and as soon as I returned to my “old” ways I would gain.
It was only when my husband developed heart problems that my eating habits permanently changed. Not by my choice, but in order to keep him healthy, I had to prepare well-balanced low-fat meals in measured portions. Eating out became a once a week event, not every other night. Doing that allowed me to lose weight and remain a fairly steady weight—but still overweight. I convinced myself that where I was at my comfortable normal. I was in a size 14 and that is where I would stay. That is until my husband called me out on the perpetual array of sweets I was consuming. I would willingly pass up a meal to have a great dessert, or two or more. I too was aware that I was eating way too many sweets and decided as a New Year’s resolution to go cold turkey off sweets. Being a strong-willed Irishwoman, I threw away my candy, cakes, cookies (Oreo’s) and just stopped. For about 20 days, I really missed my sweets. (I craved them). But, after that and with the reinforcement of losing weight, my body stopped craving the sweets. It was not easy, but I was duly impressed with the outcome. After about a month, I could look at sweets and be very objective and tell myself I wasn’t interested. I decided not to become fanatical about it and didn’t remove foods with sugar in them from my diet, but I looked for foods very low in sugar. Within 4 months, I lost 25 pounds and went down to a size 8-10.
I now view myself as what I call a “sweetaholic” and realize that I shouldn’t eat the sweets or I will begin the cycle all over again. I have abstained from sweets and usually don’t crave them anymore, but like all “olics” I am always a dessert away from going back. My new skinnier wardrobe is growing. Am I cured forever? I hope so, but evidently not totally since my “fat” clothes are stored in the basement. When I have the courage to donate them to St. Vincent’s, I will know I am cured!