The time has finally come for me to post this. It is incredibly frightening for me. But I hope that it will help.
You guys, I’m fat. Not like “oh-she’s-a-little-pudgy” or “she’s-over-reacting” fat. Like, fat as in obese. Actually, as in morbidly obese.
I’m not asking for pity. I did this to myself. Years of not dealing well with stress (other than by eating) and seven pregnancies (including two miscarriages and the stillbirth of our fourth child) have not helped.
I’m tired, so tired, of living like this. Unless you’ve been in this position, you have no idea how horrible of a prison this is. Not only physically, but emotionally as well. I can’t stand for more than a few minutes at a time because of the extra weight that pulls on my spine (which includes two fused vertebra in my neck and an extra vertebra in my sacrum, egads). I cannot lean forward to sweep or mop or do dishes without excruciating pain after about five minutes. I get winded going up a single flight of stairs. Sometimes it is all I can do to get up the energy to just get dressed in the morning. Sometimes just the mere thought of something is enough to exhaust me!
But, beyond the physical issues and limitations, I’m stuck in an emotional prison. You don’t understand what it is like to dread having to leave your house. Skipping gatherings because you are too embarrassed and don’t want anyone to see you like this. Not being able to fly anywhere because you’re too big to fit in an airline seat. Not being able to go to an amusement park because you’re too big to fit in the rides. Having to check weight limits on chairs and swings and stool and ladders, because you’re too heavy for most of the stuff you find in stores.
I struggle to make it to church each week. I’m embarrassed and incredibly self-conscious. A group of friends from an old neighborhood is having a get-together this weekend since many of us have moved away and haven’t seen each other for a few years. I will not be going. Not because I don’t want to see them – because I do! I just can’t bare to have THEM see ME. I am too embarrassed. I haven’t been back to any of my high school reunions – too embarrassed. I struggle with severe social anxiety – not because I don’t want to be social, but because I am simply so incredibly embarrassed about how I look. And I know what people tend to think.
You have no idea how terrifying it is to walk into a room and realize you are the fattest person there – by FAR!
I don’t even have many pictures of me to add to this post, because I hate to be in front of a camera! I don’t want a record of being this fat and ugly and miserable.
You see, I’ve hit the 300-lb mark. A weight I NEVER in my life thought I would hit. I’ve battled my weight my entire life. But I never thought I would ever hit 300 pounds. Until one day I did.
I’ve tried just about every diet out there. Some with more success than others.
I lost about 75 pounds about 2 1/2 years ago, but then gained it all back following a surgery. And now I’m back where I started.
I’m sad and miserable and I hate living like this. I hate not having energy to do anything. I mean, anything. The thought of taking kids to watch the Fourth of July parades? Exhausting! We don’t go anywhere or do anything, mostly because Mommy does not have the energy. It’s now to the point where I am having to give up vacations or trips because there are places I can’t go or things I can’t do because of physical limitations that are directly related to my size or my lack of energy. Some days it’s all I can do to convince myself to just get out of bed in the morning. I can’t even take my kids to the pool or the lake because I cannot find a bathing suit that will fit, and even if I could, I would be so uncomfortable going out in public wearing it.
The point of writing all this is not to ask for sympathy. It’s to tell you that I’m doing something about it, or at least trying to.
The only “diet” I’ve been on that has really been successful for me has been eating low-carb. But even then it was very hard to maintain long-term, because I was basically eating the most restricted level of an Atkins diet. And I did it for 18 months, but the last 6 months of that time I saw no change in weight. After regaining all that weight following a surgery, I’ve tried over a dozen, maybe two dozen, times to restart my low-carb diet. I do okay for about a month or two, sometimes less, but then something comes up, a bad day, a holiday, an event, etc., and I go off the diet for what I tell myself will only be one meal, or one day, and that one meal or one day turns into two weeks…and then I’ve suddenly put back on all the weight that I lost in the preceding month.
So, in my investigating and researching, I think I have figured out a few things that are affecting me, and I’m now changing my diet slightly. I’m now eating keto, and so far, so good. Progress is so slow, but I just keep trying to tell myself that any progress is good progress. It took 18 years to get to this weight, it’s not going to all come off overnight. Although I wish it would. How I wish it would!
In the midst of all this, I also have kiddos with special needs. It is demanding, and aggravating, and frustrating, and incredibly isolating. No one quite understands what we go through. Some don’t even try, which adds to our frustrating. Some do, but bless their hearts, they still don’t quite get it.
In an attempt to try some dietary changes to address some of the issues we face, we went on a very strict elimination diet back in December, cutting out all gluten and dairy, and removing all chemicals, additives, preservatives and dyes from our food. I wish I could say it had a dramatic effect and we saw great results for the kiddos. We did not. (Which, by the way, aligns with all the science and studies out there that have concluded that in general diet does not have a noticeable affect on its own on the particular issues we face.) BUT – my husband lost 30 pounds without even trying. His heartburn, which had started affecting him daily, went away almost overnight. No limiting portion sizes. Just eating better, cleaner food, and sticking to minimal gluten and dairy.
The whole restricted elimination diet thing was my idea, and the hubs was actually pretty upset when I sprang it on him that I was going to do this for our family and that I needed him to participate as well so I wasn’t making three different meals every mealtime. He was not happy with me. But I will tell you – HE is now the one who has pushed for us to go back to this way of eating (we had to drop it for a couple of months due to some other things going on) and HE is the one asking that we make this a permanent change! 🙂 Which I’m all too happy to agree with.
So why tell you all this?
Because we’ve gotten to the point where I’ve used up many of my “old” freezer meal recipes that I had prepared for the blog. (Meals and recipes I had already worked on and had already made and shot photos for months ago.) And now I hope you will start to see a shift in the recipes I post. I’m not going to say it will be straight keto, gluten-free, dairy-free meals, because it most likely won’t be. I know not everyone eats that way. I do still have some favorites that I would like to post about that don’t conform to our new diet changes. But those will be few and far between.
We’ve now come to the point where I start introducing freezer meals and make-ahead options that are inline with what we are eating currently. Because I refuse to make a bunch of food for a blog post only for it to go to waste (which it won’t, I will take food to family and neighbors to eat when they are meals that don’t conform to our dietary guidelines), but also because I refuse to post recipes that I haven’t personally tried and fed to my family, and I really, really want to stick with these eating guidelines and don’t want to stray from them too far or too often.
I hope that I will still see lots of you here regularly, and I hope that you will find these recipes useful, helpful, beneficial and delicious! But I also hope that you will, over time, see less of me, so to speak, when you come here because that will mean the dietary changes are working and I’m losing weight and there will be less of my physically to see! Ha ha!
In a nutshell, here are the guidelines my family is trying to follow, and which I will follow in most of the meals I post about:
- NO chemicals, preservatives, or additives.
- NO added sugar. In most cases, I will try to avoid refined sugar and stick with replacements such as honey, dates, or pure maple syrup. There are a few exceptions, but I try to keep those to a bare minimum.
- NO, and I mean, ABSOLUTELY NO high-fructose corn syrup.
- Minimal gluten and minimal dairy. We found that the more we stayed away from this stuff, the better we felt. But our goal isn’t to necessarily be fully gluten- or dairy-free. By minimal I just mean that we try to eat gluten- or dairy-laden meals sparingly, only once or twice a week max (if we can get away with it – some weeks are harder than others).
- Real food. Most of it in its basic form. Canned or commercially prepared stuff needs to adhere to all the guidelines above, and that knocks out 90% of the pre-packaged or canned stuff in the stores.
That’s it. Nothing complicated, just some basic guidelines. So far we have found quite a few meals that we’ve really liked, and we haven’t felt like we’ve been starving or depriving ourselves. The recipes are highly adaptable. I will try to include notes for substitutions and optional methods, so that these recipes can be useful to a broad audience, whether you are eating a restricted diet or not. All of them will be meals that my family is eating. All will be meals that I have personally tried and tested and approved. And I hope that you will agree that all will be delicious and easy to make for you and your family!