Sunday, June 17, 2012

From Starvation to Gluttony

I was born in England.  My dad was a blue collar worker.  Back in the 60's this meant that he wasn't upwardly mobile as far as class and work went.  He even took elocution lessons to loose his working class accent so that he might, MIGHT, get promoted in to a management position.  Hence he wasn't paid much.  Blue collar work pays poorly in the UK.  We were also house poor and barely making the monthly payments and taxes on the small house we were living in.

So my first memories around food are not having enough of it.  I remember my Mum putting out a nice dinner for me and my sister and when I was finished I was still hungry only to discover that all the food was gone.  There were no seconds.  And this happened a lot.  I remember eating jam sandwiches to fill in the holes in my tummy.

When I was older I found out that my Dad insisted on eating steak every night even though we couldn't afford it so my Mum would often skip eating the meat or the dinner so that us kids could eat.  Beans and eggs on toast was a fairly common dinner when I was growing up.  As well as boiled ground beef with peas and carrots served over pasta.  But mostly I ate steak and potatoes.  Just not a lot of it.  I was tiny and skinny.

After we moved to this country we had money for a while.  Dad had gotten a really cool job and we were relatively rich.  Rolling in to the US in the 70's meant Wonder Bread, Sunbeam Bread, Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies and Dunkin' Donuts.  We were in food nirvana and I almost immediately got chubby.  I had lots to eat and, what seemed to a seven year old, an unlimited supply of sugar.  Mum tried her best to keep our desserts to a reasonable number.  But daily candy/chocolate, lunch dessert and dinner dessert were daily occurrences with an occasional box of donuts that would be consumed in a few hours by three of us.  Of course back then this was considered normal.

By the time I got to high school we were poor again.  But now I could work.  As soon as I could, I started paying for groceries so that we had food in the fridge.  By this point I had a very bad body image.  Looking at my pictures now I wasn't that overweight but at that time, when the girls either had eating disorders or were on diet pills, I felt huge.

My mum had done a wonderful thing and taught me how to cook.  She made sure we had lots of fruit and veg available and fresh meat.  She tried very hard to limit our sweets.  She also let me loose in the kitchen at a young age so that I could experiment on my own.  To this day I learn to cook via cookbooks.

The 80s rolled around and fat was bad.  I watched as fat got swapped out for sugars and artificial sweeteners in processed foods.  100 calorie packs were invented.  I was poor again since I moved out and wanted to make it on my own.  This meant pancakes, oatmeal and lots of eggs.  Chicken was the only meat I could afford.  My weight had settled down to a nice chubby 225lbs on a 5'2" frame.

In the 90s, still overweight, I caved and went on my first official diet.  It was based on science so I had some confidence in it: high carb, low fat.  I learned a different way to cook.  I lost a lot of weight. I think I got down to 150lbs.  I was within my goal weight of 130lbs.  Didn't last long because I got pregnant soon after.  I ate healthy during my pregnancy which went well.  The birth was a bit of a cockup but that is a story for another day.  Lets just say I ended up with a week long stay in the hospital when they originally wanted to toss me out the next day.  I was five pounds lighter after giving birth than before I got pregnant.  Woohoo!!

Then the postpartum depression set in and I could no longer get to the gym for my weight lifting and aerobics sessions.  Heck I was spending 3hrs at the gym several days a week and that just isn't sustainable with a newborn and work and husband.  I gained all my weight back.

It has stayed put, hovering around 220lbs, for decades.  Didn't matter what I did.  How much I swam/stairmastered/treadmilled/weightlifted. What I ate.  I was stuck at 220lbs.

Now I'm at 260lbs.  Yup.  That is a big number.  But I'm also stuck on the couch.

It is a scary number.  However, like I said last time, I have to be patient.  I'm using diet to heal.  It is working all be it slowly.  I can work on the number later.  I have to get my body working right first.

But given my sordid history with food, is it any wonder that I'm obsessed with it!?!

Plus I'm bored off my nut and it is one of the few things I can tinker with and explore as a chronic chick.

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