Wednesday, March 21, 2012

My Relationship with Food, Pt. 1

I'm nineteen days in, which means I've only two left to go. I've never done anything like this before. The only fast in which I'd ever participated before this Daniel Fast was a 24-hour fast from everything but water. To be honest, I've never even counted calories for longer than two months at a time.

My commitment to this fast has required me to take a long, hard look at my relationship with food. I've been overweight my entire adult life, my (non-pregnant) weight ranging anywhere from the 150s to 205 lbs., my pants size 11 to 16. Exercise (particularly waiting tables) and breastfeeding have taken me to the lower end of my weight range moreso than healthy eating habits.

Honestly? For the most part, I've been perfectly comfortable in my own skin. I'm known for saying (and meaning) things like: "I look in the mirror and see extra weight, and I tell myself: those Peanut Butter M&M's were totally worth it!" And--if I'm to be completely honest with you--my extra weight has made me feel mostly a Morgan mare I used to ride.

Things started to shift a little, though, during my pregnancy with Clementine. I was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, and--although it wasn't technically a severe case--I've never in my life felt so sick. The nausea was bad. The dizziness was worse. For months, I cooked and washed dishes while sitting on a stool. I passed out in a Dollar Tree, one day, while shopping for Cade's school supplies.

Interestingly, after Clementine was born (weighing 9 lbs 7 oz), it became evident that--even though the scale hadn't said as much--I'd lost weight in carrying her. (Thanks, I'm sure, to a healthier diet.) I was back in my old jeans two weeks after she was born. In two weeks more, I was wearing clothes I hadn't worn for years. Because I was breastfeeding, my weight stayed down until nine months after Clementine was born, when I got pregnant with Charleigh. I didn't suffer from gestational diabetes during that pregnancy.

Still, in the last couple of years, I've felt less physically reliable. I experience dramatic sugar highs and lows. I've been lethargic more often than not. Also, I've the sense that sugar (especially chocolate) is calling me. I used to smoke, and my cravings for sugar are at least as intense as my cravings for nicotine used to be.

And then there was the miscarriage. Now, don't misunderstand: I've no reason to believe my miscarriage had anything to do with my weight or my eating habits; however, for the first time, I realized my body's capability for failure. My body had always done what I'd asked it to do. Even with the gestational diabetes, I'd gotten myself a beautiful, healthy baby girl.

(To be continued...)

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