That title is a nod to an American classic, Friends, and also my favorite cinematic universe, Marvel, and it’s proponent for origin stories. As I promised in my last post, I will be dedicating this entire entry to explaining my major weight gain and what started me on my weight loss journey a year ago. As a fair warning, this post is of a very personal nature and will be dealing with some more serious events and periods of depression in my life. The one good thing is, you know that it will have a happy ending because I’m sitting here telling you all about it and how I successfully turned my life around! But I should stop babbling and get on with the serious stuff I suppose.
When I was 17 years old my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, stage 3 (though I didn’t know this at the time). I was a few days post high school graduation when my parents dropped this bomb on me, and also informed me that they weren’t going to tell my younger brother until we got back from Disney in a few weeks after his 15th birthday. I was absolutely devastated by this news, not only that my mom was sick but also that I couldn’t tell anyone about it. Those of you who don’t know me aren’t aware, but my mom was my best friend. We were as close to Lorelai and Rory Gilmore as you could get while not being a single mom who had her kid at 16. You’ll notice that I started using the past tense when referring to my mom, and that’s because just 4 days after my 21st birthday she passed away. My mother fought against cancer for 3 years, but unfortunately she didn’t ever get to be a survivor like so many.
Me and mom at our favorite place, a pin event at Disney. This was something we did every year.
My entire world had come crashing down in a matter of months, as my mom’s health took a sharp decline ultimately leading to her passing. This was almost 4 years ago and while each day it gets easier and long ago I reached a point where I’m comfortable enough to talk about it, I still miss her every single day. For a while after my mom’s passing, I was just going through the motions living each day but never actually doing anything because I honestly didn’t know what to do. This is something that not a lot of people understand, the emptiness that occurs when you lose your parent. I was lucky enough to be dating someone who had also lost his mother to cancer around the same age, and was able to help me deal with things even if it wasn’t in a healthy way at the time.
This guy, my boyfriend of only 4 months, had an immense amount of responsibility hefted onto him as I fell apart and needed someone to piece me back together. I thought he was up for the task, but as it turned out he was not the one who would be able to make me whole again (I didn’t meet that man for several years after but we’ll get to him later). Over the course of our relationship which ended up being 2 years of ups and downs, I gained weight. A lot of weight. I went from being the curvy kind of overweight to being dangerously close to being categorized as “morbidly obese” by my BMI. Now I don’t blame him for this, as it was ultimately something I let happen due to a number of things including the fact that I was depressed and didn’t recognize the signs. He tried to get me to lose weight, but never went about it the right way. He would tell me flat-out “you need to lose weight” and would invite me to go on walks with him and if I couldn’t keep up or didn’t want to go as far he would mock me and make fun of me for being “weak”. That is never the way to get someone to lose weight, people need encouragement, not to be kicked while they’re down. I had always been at least somewhat athletic, so hearing this kind of negativity about my fitness made me feel like absolute garbage about myself. This of course was a vicious cycle, I felt bad about myself so I ate to feel better which only made me feel worse and he would continue to knock me down a few pegs.
I reached the point where I was only still in the relationship because I didn’t think anyone else would want me. The worst part of this was that he wouldn’t even acknowledge that we were in a relationship. After the first time he broke up with me, about 3 months after my mom passed, he started referring to our “arrangement” as friends with benefits and nothing more. He encouraged me to try to date other people and I did, but I always ended up going back to him. I told myself that even if he didn’t say he loved me anymore he still did, because otherwise why would he still be here. By the time we decided there was nothing left for us to do but end things I had put on close to 40 pounds, I was a shell of my former self.
So I was still a total goon for the camera, but I was the heaviest I had ever been and pretty depressed on my own.
I spent the next 7 months working on myself and my self-esteem before I met the most incredible man (spoiler alert: he’s the one who helped me be whole again). I had started working out for a few weeks before I met Chris, my current boyfriend. Chris was able to remind me that I could love myself even if I wasn’t perfect. He loved me for me, my personality, my sense of humor, my nerdiness, my many quirks, and just all of the things that make me who I am. Being with Chris made me feel so good about myself that I made a huge decision to start trying to lose weight. We had been together for about 8 months when I told him I was going to start this journey and he was nothing but totally supportive of me. Chris loves to cook and even offered to adjust his recipes to make them fit into my meal plan, he was that great supportive boyfriend that you read about and see on TV but don’t actually believe exists. He has been my rock throughout this journey, always supporting me even if it’s my decision to have a cheat day and make buffalo chicken pizza. Chris is the reason I’m able to keep going every day, because I love nothing more than hearing him tell me how proud he is of me.
January of 2015 and April of 2016, we’ve both made changes but we’re still so happy together.