Happy Halloween! Meet My Little Demon.

I’ve never been obese. Yet, I come from a family of rather obese people. There wasn’t anyone in my immediate family who struggled with obesity…perhaps they were a little overweight at times in their lives. But there have been Aunts, Uncles, and cousins, who typically I only saw around holidays, funerals, or special occasions. It’s hard to say as to whether it was their influence that kept me very mindful of my weight or whether it was something different.

I can remember specific times in my life when I was overweight. In fact, overweight enough that it affected my lifestyle. And, I can also relate those periods of time to specific moments where I completely lost faith in myself.

The first of which as a year into college. Of course, everything changes when you are away from home for the first time ever…and at such a young age. You could call it the Freshman 15 and you wouldn’t be that far off base. As many college freshman learn, there is a life outside that small hometown where you were born and raised. There is a melting pot of people and cultures in a college campus. The ones who you are chosen to share a room with aren’t necessarily the ones who become your lifelong friends. Sometimes, you have to venture beyond the four walls of the college dorm as well as the boundaries of your home town to determine where you fit in.

Me, on the left with the bottle.

Me, on the left with the bottle.

When I look at photos of that time, I cringe. I clearly had a problem with weight for the first time in my life. It could have been eating related, or drinking related, or a combination of both. Who is to say?

But I must have had the foresight to fix it as fast as I could, because just a year later, I had new roommates, new friends, and a whole new figure.

Another time I remember gaining a significant amount of weight was in my late 20s when I was involved in a relationship that was obviously going nowhere. I lived with a guy who always had his cake and ate it, too. Besides that, he spewed out lie after lie about everything from where he was all day (supposedly working a job that I was embarrassed to find out he quit three months earlier just by placing a call to him at said place of employment), to explaining a local hotel charge on my American Express that was made on a night he claimed he slept at his mother’s house a few minutes away. I could go on. Suffice it to say, when I slowly realized I was being had, then the number on the scale went up and up. Moving out and leaving that relationship again gave me the foresight to fix my wicked ways and drop the weight I had amassed over that year (or two).

Me, my boyfriend fat, and my daddy.

Me, my boyfriend fat, and my daddy.

Then I worked in the public eye. Keeping my weight steady was a must, since I had a wardrobe of clothes that just had to fit day after day, week after week. I had a gym membership, and I jogged too, back then, along the Greenways of Charlotte, NC. I never really struggled again until a few years into my marriage.

Preggo with twins...

Preggo with twins…

Having my girls was easy. Although I gained 52 pounds, I lost them quickly and was actually lighter a year after having them than I was when I got pregnant. But as they grew, and as we grew and changed as a family, and as the step-kids got older and handed us problems of their own, the years of being a stay at home mom started taking it’s toll on me. I was doing nothing except maybe walking on the treadmill while watching Dave Letterman, which I taped on the DVR every night. It wasn’t working. I wasn’t sleeping. I cried everyday for no apparent reason. I’d run errands and forget if I did what I was supposed to. I’d even have to think back at stopping at a stop sign or a traffic light. I didn’t remember crossing that intersection at all! That is when it got scary. And when I was popping buttons on my jeans, well, it about stopped me in my tracks.

At a scrapbook convention.

At a scrapbook convention in 2008.

Today, I’m probably in the best shape of my life. But I’m also at a point where I’m pretty sure I know who I am. And I know who I’m not. I also know what I can change and what I can’t change.

And I know what I’m capable of.

My husband says I’m weight obsessed and exercise obsessed. That might be true. I’m everything obsessed, to be honest. If I read about something, or try something that is intriguing and peaks my interest, I have a tendency to dive right in head first, and not come up for air unless it is completely necessary. It is an invisible force that keeps me motivated to stay on track, no matter where the course might lead. These days, I’ll pass on the Friday night margarita, but I will allow for a shot of vodka if I’ve burned enough calories on my morning run. I’ll double check the carbohydrate count in a serving of  bottled salad dressing and make my own if need be. I’ll weigh my food, if  I have any question of what the serving size is, and I’ll wear certain clothing depending on whether I’m having a fat day or a skinny day. It must be obvious, because even my husband can tell what kind of day I’m having by what I choose to wear any particular afternoon.

I remember I had a college roommate (that dreaded freshman year) who once told me, “You know, Theresa…you have a pretty decent figure, but you are NO beauty queen.” That stuck with me all these years. I know I don’t have a beautiful face, and I can’t necessarily control that. But I can control my weight by staying motivated and walking (or running) the straight and narrow.

So, am I weight obsessed? I guess I just might be.

Meet my little demon.

I don’t believe I will never not be weight obsessed. Just today, in fact, I had a pre-op physical and I was disappointed in my weight. I have gained a few pounds since my step-daughter’s wedding last month. I could stress about it, or I could accept it as what it is…a few pounds. I know that I have the determination and the sheer willpower to get back to where I was when it is necessary…like before a high performance run, or an event where I want to look good. And I know that I will face criticism from those I love. They’ll say, “Oh, just have bite. You can afford it!” or “C’mon…a few drinks won’t kill you.” But in the end, I know what I know. And I know who I am.

And I know what I’m capable of.

I’ve grown fond of my little demon. He doesn’t make me starve myself, or binge eat. He doesn’t insist that I don’t have a treat now and again. But he does help me from getting out of control. And he gives me a little something to believe in when it almost seems like there is nothing.

Myself.

It’s the best thing to believe in.

Me, happy and in neon.

Me, happy and in neon.

Do you have a demon, or a guy that sits on your shoulder and haunts you? 

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