A New U: When Determination meets Discipline

February 3, 2014
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By UniQue Webster

How did I allow myself to get to a whopping 300 plus pounds after losing 150 pounds five years prior? I’ll tell you how, through depression, anger, and bitterness.

I was emotionally attached to food. I sought out refuge in fast food and chocolate. It provided a sense of comfort when all else failed. I didn’t realize that my negative outlook on life or just my skewed perception of life held me in captivity.

I felt a sense of entitlement; as if life owed me something more than what it owed the next person. I didn’t realize that this negative thinking perpetuated a vicious cycle that left me dependent on food. It became the metric for measuring my self-worth. The strategy it took to hide my addiction and commitment to binge eating was uncanny.

There were mornings I would enter a restaurant with a plan to hide my addiction from others and yet somehow “trick” myself into believing my eating wasn’t any different from anyone else. My weight was a result of life’s many burdens placed upon me. Boy was I fooled! I would order an egg, bacon and biscuit meal with hash browns and eat it in the restaurant. Then I would order a “safe” meal (French toast bagel with strawberry cream cheese and a fruit cup) for my “friend” to go.

Sadly I would take the “safe” meal to the office and eat in front of my cohorts. No one could understand why I was so overweight. The façade I created was not only effective but also detrimental to my well-being. Sure I lost the weight before; however, I failed to learn the “healthy” approach to weight loss. I starved myself, took over the counter appetite suppressants, water pills, fat burners, tried the low-carb diet, no meat diet, Cabbage Soup Diet, Lemonade Diet…you name it, I tried it.

This disturbing behavior started at the tender age of 14. No one was aware of the pain, anguish and confusion I felt as I hid behind laughter, jokes and my smile. My affinity for food was a direct reaction to my biological mother abandoning me at birth. I wasn’t able to make a direct correlation between the two until recently. In retrospect, I discovered that the abandonment affected me greatly. Relationships whether intimate, family or friendships were hard to endure. The one between my father and me was that of an emotionally abusive roller coaster.

Fast forward.

I was sitting in my new doctor’s office. Having switched insurance I was due for my routine woman’s check up. Going over my blood test results conducted weeks ago, my doctor told me “Your test results came back that you are pre-diabetic.” I was shocked and asked her “How could that be? “ I have always been healthy.” She replied “Why are you so surprised? You are vastly overweight.” Insensitive, the doctor refused to go into details regarding my results until I scheduled a follow up with her office. I stormed away from her office into my car, sat and cried. How could I do this to myself? I thought. Determined not to feel defeated, I took matters into my own hands. I purchased a Blood Glucose Test Strips home kit and started conducting home exams. I knew I needed a second opinion! I called another doctor and scheduled an appointment. I was told to abstain from eating 8 hours before the test.

I remembered eating a king size chocolate bar one hour before the last blood test I took. I wasn’t sure the effects it had on the test, so I didn’t bother mentioning it to the first doctor. I remember thinking what a long exhausting two weeks waiting for the results. What would I do if I had Diabetes? What would my life look like? Even though the results of my home kit were negative, I wasn’t convinced I was in the clear. Then I received the call. My results came back normal and actually the doctor wanted to talk to me about my Vitamin D levels.

At that moment I felt a sense of relief! I thought what’s next? Roaming the Internet a picture of Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson popped on my screen. It was a hyperlink to her Weight Watchers’ video. I thought this couldn’t be. She had just experienced serious adversity with the death of her mother, brother and nephew. How could she find time to worry about losing weight? She looked so happy and rejuvenated. After reading her story, I became instantly inspired! “I must take my life back!!!” I lamented!

I called Weight Watchers’ (WW) customer service and remembered asking the rep so many questions. However it was the answer to one question in particular that piqued my interest. “How are you different from the rest?” I quizzed the rep. “We aren’t a diet.” He responded confidently.

He was right! I could eat what I enjoyed and still lose weight. The first couple of weeks the weight was falling off. I managed to eat candy, pizza and other “unhealthy” food and lose weight as long as I stayed within my Points Value. I realized I wasn’t improving my health much. It wasn’t until my WW Leader conducted a session about making healthy choices in our food intake. She showed the class a chart that compared a full course meal to a buttery croissant. Same point value but the full course meal had more nutritious food.

That class piqued my curiosity for improving my health. I realized I had to break this vicious cycle of viewing food as my abusive spouse. One I loved but hated vehemently at the same time. I was misinformed all these years. During this pivotal moment in my life I was at a crossroad. It was time to deal with the demons of my past that haunted me; that held me back, and isolated me from living and enjoying my life. Week after week I started making healthier decisions in my diet. I went from consuming a medium pizza for lunch to cooking baked tilapia, steamed broccoli and brown rice. I went from gorging myself with second and third helpings to eating the serving size, weighing my food and measuring out my portions.

I took pride in my health. I started incorporating exercise into my daily routine. No longer did I make excuses for not wanting to exercise. I started with just 15 minutes on the Elliptical to challenging myself weekly. I joined Weight Watchers online challenges to keep myself motivated. I joined other message boards and became completely involved in improving my health and wellness. I researched, studied and became thrilled at my results! I mean after all these years of abusing my body, I finally discovered the secret to weight loss! And that was, EVERYTHING IN MODERATION!

Having lost 170 pounds, standing a proud six feet tall, I reached a “happy” place in my life. I’ve never been as committed to improving my life as I am now. Being able to celebrate the good, understand the bad and find ways to embrace the challenges of life is paramount. I’ve severed ties with emotional binge eating. I am healing from my past struggles and continue to triumph adversity. One thing is certain, I’ve not only gained a sense of self-worth but I’ve acquired a strong commitment to helping others in their struggle! It motivates me to see others take control of their lives!

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

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