There is No Secret to Getting Fit

My Journey to Fitness

I blame my mother!

on October 17, 2013

A few months back, I saw one of those motivational quote pictures.  The quote was, “You are not responsible for the programming you had in childhood, but you are 100% responsible for fixing it as an adult.”  This quote really resonated with me.

I started out as chubby baby and by three years old, my mother had me on a “diet”.  I remember, I wasn’t allowed to eat ice cream, and as I got older, everything in the house was “healthy” (or so she thought) “diet” food.  This led to an obsession with food.  I would sneak food when she wasn’t around and over eat when I got “treats” I normally wasn’t allowed to have.  I remember wanting to go home on play dates with friends with the number one agenda of being able to score a snack of cookies or some other treat I was never allowed to have.  I’d play with one of my neighbors and always ask if we could have a snack, knowing it would be a Little Debbie snack or something like that.  As I got older, on the way home from school, I’d stop at the local ice cream store for milkshakes or the convenience store for candy bars or junk food.  I was addicted and obsessed with food.  I could make junk food out of just about anything in the house.  Give me 2 eggs, some white flour and butter (actually, margarine) and I’ll make a puffy oven pancake and top it with more margarine, sugar and fruit cocktail (or the lite pancake syrup that we sometimes had in the house).  I’d even crack open a can of peas and eat the salty, green, mushy peas straight from the can if there wasn’t anything else in the house.

One year, I got the E-Z-Bake oven as a gift (SCORE!).  I was so excited and had always wanted one.  I think I was allowed to use it once or twice, but since my mother didn’t want me eating my baked creations, I wasn’t allowed to buy any more of the mixes to make new goodies.  Keep in mind that the little cakes the oven created were probably smaller than the size of a cupcake.  I loved that oven.

I’ll never forget, when I was a bit older,  the night I heard something under my bed.  I had hidden cookies under my bed and a mouse had found its way in the house.  I was woken up to the sound of the crinkle, crinkle, crunch, crunch.  I realized almost immediately that a critter had found my stash.  I was faced with the dilemma of yelling for help and having my secret cookie stash exposed or lying there awake and frozen with the fear of this little critter (in my mind it was most certainly a huge rat or a large-fanged-mutant-cookie-eating-killer-squirrel) under my bed.  I eventually gave in and faced the embarrassment of exposing my sweet secret.  This wasn’t the first or the last time one of my secret stashes had been exposed, but it was one of the most memorable.

As I headed off for college to live on my own, I had the freedom to eat whatever I wanted… and I did!  My Freshman 15 was probably closer to a Freshman 25.  My unhealthy obsession with food didn’t get any better, but now I had more freedom to eat what I wanted, when I wanted to.

It wasn’t until just after college that I went on my first real diet and first attempt to lose weight.  I met someone that had success with Jenny Craig, so I gave it a whirl and it worked!  Jenny Craig did teach me about portion control, eating throughout the day and eating lots of vegetables.  Of course, they still offered sugary, low fat desserts and lots of processed junk, but the smaller portions and lower caloric intake worked to help me drop weight at first.  After getting down to a size 14 (the smallest I had ever gotten before), the weight loss stalled.  I wasn’t exercising during this diet and I eventually went back to my old eating habits.

This yo-yo continued through my 20s with a variety of diets, pills, and other weight loss fads and methods.  Sometimes I’d incorporate some exercise and other times I’d just rely on the diet change.  Every time I “dieted”, I would always tell myself that I couldn’t deprive myself of the things I enjoyed like sweets, ice cream, breads and pasta.  I convinced myself that this “deprivation” always led back to my old habits.  In every diet I tried, I always looked for the substitution for my weaknesses.  I’d eat Frozen Yogurt instead of ice cream, and “diet” versions of things I enjoyed, mostly highly processed foods.

This time around, things changed for me.  I finally took responsibility for “fixing” my eating disorder.  I finally realized, there’s no one to blame any more.  I’m an adult and I need to take responsibility for my own health because no one is going to do it for me.  I finally came to terms with understanding that there is no “easy” way to get healthy.  The way I was so used to eating was clearly not healthy.   I was trying to find some way to eat like I always had but call it healthy because I changed it up a bit.  I decided to try something drastic, something much more mentally difficult than anything I had ever done before.  I completely eliminated sugar from my diet for more than 3 months and I eliminated white flour and processed foods.  After about a month, it became much easier, and my palate completely changed.  I now crave fresh fruits and vegetables and protein.  I rarely eat grains, and only occasionally have sweets (no processed junk though).  Yes, I had a cupcake on my birthday (but it was made from scratch).  I have ice cream from time to time (but it’s real ice cream without all the added junk).  I’m not on a diet.  There’s no plan I follow.  I don’t count calories or points, because for me, that never worked.  I do read all food labels and am fully aware of the foods I put into my body.

When I hear people say they don’t want to “deprive’ themselves of processed foods like chips, candy and sweets, I know exactly what they are saying.  But, in my experience, there is no easy way to do it.  There is no “cheating” way to do it.  But, I can say for sure, there is no deprivation either.  I have never regretted not eating that pint of Ben & Jerry’s or that donut or chips or other foods I have passed by.  However, there have been plenty of times in the past that I have regretted choosing to eat them.  I try to remember that saying (and I hear it in Dolly Parton’s voice from Steel Magnolias), “A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.”

I’ve been “eating clean” for over a year now and I still feel great.  I never feel deprived, not even a little bit.  Sure, there are times I’d love to sit down with that pint of Ben & Jerry’s, but I look at how far I’ve come and I never want to go back.  I’m more than satisfied with the foods I eat.  I have a lot of variety now and I actually take the time to really enjoy my food rather than the mindless eating I used to do.  Food tastes better to me now, and I can immediately taste a difference if I have anything highly processed.  It no longer tastes good to me.  I’ve taken responsibility for my health.  This is all on me.  I have no one to blame but myself for my health and how I take care of my body from here on out.

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3 responses to “I blame my mother!

  1. MS_AimeeC says:

    Woman! SAME story! My goodness. It is like I was reading a post I would have written myself!
    I was a member of “the clean plate club”, but my “clean plate” was with shame – all the guilt of eating anything, so hiding my choices. Taking control of myself in college meant eating and drinking whatever I wanted. It was the only way I ever rebelled against my parents – by gaining an obscene amount of weight.

    • k8lin0516 says:

      I think it’s a really common story. I’ve never shared any of my “secret habits” before, but I feel it’s good for me to get it out there and hopefully it will resonate with other people dealing with the same issues. I like how you put that… Rebelling by gaining weight! So true.

  2. […] little of this, a little of that and wahlah, a yummy creation.  As you may have read in my “I blame my mother!” post, I have been concocting recipes for a long time, but now my focus is on healthful foods […]

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