If I stop to think about it I have a history of disordered eating, and I want to lay it all out for myself, so here we go:
I was overweight as a kid. Not obese, but definitely overweight. When I started getting allowance I spent it all on candy. I was a regular at the corner store and when I didn’t have any money I would search through the kitchen at home for something sugary – frosting, maple syrup. It’s embarrassing to think of it now. Kind of disgusting.
When I was in Grade 6 a chip truck started parking just outside the schoolyard at lunch and I discovered their fries, and then their fries with gravy and then poutine. Grade 6, 7 and 8 were really unhealthy years for me. I don’t think I was paying a lot of attention to my weight at the time, but when I look at my school pictures I can see an increase.
In Grade 9 things started changing. At my high school we had two classes and then a break, and then two more classes and then lunch, so lunch wasn’t starting until an hour after I was used to. I would have a muffin or something at the break and then not eat at lunch because I had usually gone past being hungry, and then I would start snacking when I got home, eat dinner and keep snacking into the evening.
At the same time I got frustrated with the packed city bus I had to take home and I started walking home. The walk took about half an hour, every day after school – more exercise than I had gotten in years.
It wasn’t until my father asked me if I had lost weight that I weighed myself. Without paying any attention I had lost 40 lbs. By the time high school was over I had gained about 10 lbs back, but I was comfortable at 140, I felt good about my body for the most part.
The healthiest I have ever been was probably the year after high school when I was working part time. I walked home from work a lot of days, I was moving around all day, lifting boxes and running up and down stairs, and I didn’t have any chances to snack. I was fit.
And then I went away to college.
Living on my own I did do some cooking, but ate mostly takeout. I kept what I wanted in the house, snacked when I wanted, slept when I wanted. I ate at the cafeteria every day for lunch. I was busy with school and wasn’t getting any exercise, except when I pushed myself to go to the college gym, but I only did that a handful of times because it was embarrassing being the fat girl among the fit people.
The unhealthiest time of my life came when I was working in Northwestern Ontario. I was alone – completely alone – in a strange place, not sure of what I was doing. My schedule was hectic, I was working regular hours to be in the office and then the sporting events I was covering were in the late afternoon and evenings. It was rare that I cooked at home, I was living on fast food from breakfast through dinner. I gained 40 lbs and hit my highest ever weight in the five months I was there. Shortly after I moved back I saw my doctor about my menstrual issues, she referred me to an endocrinologist and the endocrinologist eventually diagnosed me with PCOS, something that shook me up pretty badly.
Once I moved back home and started university I think I realized how bad it had gotten, but I had other things to focus on and my weight didn’t come back into play until Joe and I got engaged. I wanted to lose weight for the wedding, as brides do, and we changed our lifestyle.
We made healthier eating choices and I started riding our exercise bike in the mornings before my classes started. Before we got married I managed to lose 35 lbs – the only time in my life I’ve ever done the right things to lose weight. The hard things.
Right after we got married I lost my job, I moved to Saskatchewan for almost a month trying to find something out there, then I was back in Ottawa, adjusting to a new schedule. I was doing okay with my weight until the summer I spent in Montreal and then came back to work the federal election campaign.
Campaign food sucks. You don’t have time, you don’t have energy, you’re working and sleeping so when someone offers you a meal plan you take it. You start work at 6 am, which means you leave the house at 5, and breakfast arrives at 7, which means you subsist on coffee until then, and when breakfast arrives and all you get are pastries, you go for it.
All the weight I had lost and kept off I gained back through that campaign – and then some.
My weight stayed that way until I got pregnant, and then I gained 20 more lbs.
At the end of my pregnancy I weighed 220 lbs. The highest weight I have ever seen was 230. Right now I sit at 215, willing the scale to move again.
I know I can do it because I’ve done it before. I know I’m an example for my daughter, she’s already watching me. I know that I have the opportunity to make myself a thousand times healthier. I know that white sugar is poison.
I know all this, and it’s still so very hard.