I am an entrepreneur. I am the sole owner and operator of Amanda’s Pet Sitting. A good portion of my days are spent walking dogs. This week I had the good fortune of being able to walk dogs right past my childhood home. God I loved this house. In it’s walls contains the memories of my youth. Sometimes when I sleep and dream of a “home” scenario, 1473 Arthur Rd is still the place that appears in my subconscious.
The current owners have let the garden outgrow itself, planted a new tree in the dumbest spot I can think of and cut down the best grape vine canopy you’ve ever seen, but when I look at it, I instantly get transported back in time. My weight gain began in that house. Months ago my mom asked me if the divorce of her and my Dad was the reason I emotionally ate. It’s a fair question. I could imagine that for a lot of people, a divorce that affects your entire family structure at the age of 11 could very well lead to an unhealthy relationship with food. But that really wasn’t the case for me. However, having just one parent to supervise me during a typical Monday to Friday made it much easier to sneak food and form the start of poor eating habits. So in a way, my dad leaving home had a small impact on my weight.
I also think that people in general like to be able to pinpoint a singular reason for life events. Probably makes it easier to understand said events. Having less variables can make a problem seem more manageable and a solution easier to find. Weight gain doesn’t work that way. Not many things do I imagine. For instance, what brought you to my blog today? What device are you using to read this and how did you acquire it? What is going on in your world that gives you the time at this moment to click on this specific post of mine. See – many variables in play.
Another variable for my weight gain was my jacked up view of portion control. The whole plate just HAD to be full of food, and like many children, I was told “finish your plate before you can go back out and play.” Lucky for my generation, the whole digital world hadn’t exploded yet, so kids still played outside until the street lights came on. It was during puberty that the weight began to creep onto my body. I remember it being pointed out to me by a relative that I was looking a little “bigger” these days. I was 12 when I heard that. I can still remember exactly how I felt. Ashamed, embarrassed. Helpless. What did I know about weight loss at 12? I didn’t even really think about how much control I had over my body. I was at the mercy of hormone changes and becoming a young woman. And now I got to have the joy of a body complex. Which to be honest, would’ve come anyways with society’s view of what young girls should look like pumped into media images. Not to mention the fact that I was subject to bullying every day of my life from Grade 1 until 8. But hearing it from a loved one hurt more.
Over the coming years I developed binge eating habits and I never really took an interest in cooking or preparing foods, much to my mother’s disappointment I’m sure. However, I could whip up a mean grilled cheese and my Kraft Dinner skills were off the hook. (In case you’ve missed the trend, there was also a strong addiction to cheese developing.) It was a serious run away train.
Around the age of 18, I was told by my doctor that I had a benign pituitary brain tumor. I was told that it screwed with my hormones, but pop a pill and life would go on as per usual. Leave it to me to get my hands on one silly internet report that losing weight MIGHT be difficult with my condition and BAM! That was all I needed to know and I pretty much gave up on myself and assumed that life was as good as it was ever going to get. Doesn’t matter what I consume on a daily basis, it wouldn’t change the fact that I had this tumor. So I had better get used to what I see in the mirror.
Flash forward to about 2 years ago. I had a suspicion I had a proposal coming from my boyfriend and I knew I didn’t want to be a “fat bride” so I joined weight watchers. It worked for a bit, I lost about 30 lbs and was fairly impressed with myself. But every pound I lost, I would keep thinking “Well this must be as far as I can go, having that brain tumor and all.” And when I hit a small plateau it gave me further assurance on that fact. Despite my doubts in my weight loss abilities, I had a wonderful wedding. I looked like a million bucks and felt incredible. Then the honeymoon. Some of the weight came back. And while I was disappointed, there was a VERY small voice in my head that said “You lost weight once, why don’t you try it again?”
This time, I reached out to a client of mine. She was engaged to a body builder type character and in excellent shape her self. She was even a black belt in Karate. Pretty impressive chick. I figured between her and her significant other I could walk away with a few pieces of information. I asked a couple small questions and she basically took the bull by the horns. She saw through my silly bullshit questions and got to the heart of my issues in a snap. She gave me clear, concise instructions and told me that someday soon I will reach and exceed any goal I want. She gave me self confidence I had been lacking for so long. I thought if a near complete stranger had this much faith in me, then I ought to give what she’s telling me a shot.
Soon, the thought of having a brain tumor limit my abilities all but disappeared. The only limitations we have in life are the ones we place on ourselves. I had this power all along. FEAR held me back. Fear of failing – failing in front of loved ones especially. Fear that the weight would all come back. Fear I couldn’t keep it up. But here I am…about 10 months since the day I reached out for help. Nearly 130 lbs lighter. I still feel confident. I still feel empowered to keep gaining new skills and new information and bettering my health. I still work at it every day, but it has become more of a lifestyle.
I am often asked if I could, would I revisit my youth and do things differently? Eat differently? Would I want to be this healthy from an earlier age? Would I chose to have this confidence? The answer is so simple. No, I wouldn’t. The strife and tough moments in my childhood helped shape me into someone with an insane amount of determination. Someone who looks for the answers she needs and has the strength to keep at it even when things go wrong. The woman who had the courage to choose change is someone I respect. That woman is incredible. Without her, I wouldn’t be here today. I am forever grateful.