~ I’m Not That Way Anymore (Part 1)

1

Me and my “second mom,” Mary Garcia, August 2010, South Phoenix, Arizona

I used to have to hold the camera way above my head and look up at it in order to hide my double chin and get that glamour shot. Who did I think I was kidding? I used to buy my clothes in the Women’s department at Macy’s, or at a store that specialized in plus sizes. I wore a size 18, but I’m not that way anymore. I am a work in progress and I’m making steady progress.

I went home to Arizona in August, 2010, and I was embarrassed to let people see me with my sausage arms and moon pie face. If they loved me, it wouldn’t matter, I told myself. Yet, it mattered to me. The woman that I knew as me was somewhere inside of the unrecognizable body, locked in, trapped by fat.  No one would ever guess that I was a talented artist and writer, that I had danced from age 3 1/2 until I graduated college. I was obesely invisible, my potential masked by my outward appearance. To make the idea of trying to lose even harder was the fact that I knew as much about nutrition as I thought a lay person could, and after several visits to various nutritionists and dieticians, everyone concluded that I was eating the right things and the right amounts. Maybe my fat wasn’t my fault.

The doctors checked my thyroid. An endocrinologist at UCLA told me to drink two Slim Fast shakes during the day and eat a normal dinner. When I complained that Slim Fast was a form of nasty fats and other toxic junk disguised as food, he replied that I really didn’t want to lose weight. I got angry. I cried. I lost some weight. I gained it back. I went gluten free. I read every book about nutrition that I could get my chubby hands on. Actually, my hands were never chubby. All the weight was centered in my grotesque upper arms.

On that visit home in 2010, I went back to see the first and best nutritionist I had ever consulted, Debra Landau West. When I first knew Debbie, she was fresh out of college and charging something ridiculous like $7.00 a consultation. Now, she was living in a lovely home in North Scottsdale that was decorated in many shades of white. We spoke in her den/office, and with her plan and encouragement, I dieted myself down a size and a half on a low carb diet. I didn’t like eating that way. I suffered from heartburn and “irritable bowel.” Tons of meat was like bricks in my stomach, and I often felt sluggish. Consuming so much animal protein didn’t match my philosophy very well after having been grossed out by a documentary which showed how Hormel treated and processed the pigs we consume.  I wanted to find a better method for losing weight, but I knew that my body loved carbs so much that it wanted to hold onto all that I let pass my lips. Someone suggested I might have a problem with gluten, or dairy, or both. I asked to be tested for food sensitivities, but my concerns were met with the usual answers from medical professionals, “You simply eat too much.”
It became obvious that I wasn’t going to get help or understanding from the medical profession. If I was going to lose weight, I had to do it on my own.

To be continued…

I’m Not That Way Anymore (Part 2)

I’m Not That Way Anymore (Part 3 – Adjusting)

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