I became aware of my weight at the age of 10 – a fellow dancer commented that I was looking “chunky” in my leotard. Nice, huh? I vowed then and there that I would not be the “fat” dancer; I put fat in quotes because I wasn’t overweight at all, just a bit larger than the average dancer. After discussing the comment with my mother, we went on our first of many joint diets. I maintained a lean weight throughout middle school and high school by avoiding carbohydrates and restricting my intake. Protein and vegetables were the only “safe” foods. Looking back, it was extremely unhealthy and I think I had some body dysmorphia going on – I fixated on the tiny layer of fat on my thighs but wore a size zero.
Once I left for college, the floodgates opened. I realized that I liked carbohydrates and fat…a lot. I would alternate between barely eating and eating whatever I wanted. Add self-imposed pressure to make good grades and you have a recipe for binge eating. I put on 10 to 15 pounds each year of college, but would lose about 10 every summer. By the time I graduated, I was 20 pounds heavier than my high school weight. Not technically overweight, but very close.
I maintained my weight throughout my dietetic internship, but stress eating resulted in a 20 pound gain during my first year at the hospital. I didn’t want to walk down the aisle like that, so I lost 15 in a month or two on a low-carb plan. Of course, the second I touched that wedding cake and reintroduced carbs, the weight returned. I regained the 15 plus 10 more over the next year to top the scales at a BMI of 29.7. Not only was I overweight, I was bordering on obese – while working at a weight loss center! I knew exactly how to motivate others, but couldn’t seem to get my own act together.
Something had to change – I couldn’t be happy counseling others on weight loss knowing that I was fighting a losing (or gaining, perhaps?) battle every day. I hired a counselor of my own to address the underlying issues behind my eating and I started running. Those two things, combined with proper eating have steered me in the right direction. My BMI is finally headed towards a healthy range…