Achy Breaky Diet

There are two times in my life I’ve lost a significant amount of weight in a relatively short period of time. Sadly, both of those times involved relationships and the dissolving thereof.

 Contrary to a lot of women I know, when I am experiencing extreme stress, I do not react by plowing through a gallon of ice cream or a bag of chips. No, it’s quite the opposite – I find it physically impossible to eat. Like, anything. The mere thought of food nauseates me and on the rare occasion I do manage to choke something down, it seems to have the taste and consistency of sawdust. And seriously – if the only thing on today’s menu was sawdust, don’t you think you’d find it pretty easy to turn it down?

 The last time this happened was back in 2001, when my marriage took an unplanned and abrupt dump. Looking back now all the signs were there, but of course what is it they say about hindsight? At the time it was quite the nasty surprise and I was in no way prepared for it. Digesting food immediately became the last thing on my to-do list and it wasn’t too long before my clothes started literally hanging off of me and I suddenly had cheekbones where there had previously been none. The first few weeks of this, all I could stomach was coffee (preferably convenience store Vanilla Cappuccino) and those Keebler Sugar Wafer cookies. After that my diet expanding a little to include some other things, but never an entire meal and certainly nothing resembling good nutrition.

 I’m not saying this is healthy; I’m just telling it like it was.

 Within a few months’ time, things were still chaotic in all areas of my life and I felt perpetually in limbo. Everything was temporary: my living arrangements, my job and my emotions, which seemed to change on an hourly basis. Unfortunately, I turned to some unhealthy substances with which to help me cope and I’m sure this also contributed to my amazing shrinking woman act.

 My loved ones started to take notice. And they started making comments. I now know this was out of concern, but at the time, I wasn’t even trying to hear that shit.

 On a ten-day trip to New York with my aunt, uncle and cousin, I was having a really hard time covering up the extent of my unhealthiness. I mean, good Lord, we were together twenty-four hours a day and for part of the time in what I consider to be the food capital of the world, New York City. One particularly hot and aromatic July day, we were out shopping on the streets of China Town. My diet that day had consisted of nothing but Diet Coke and various pills, not that they were aware of that. While standing outside on the sidewalk in front of one of the thousands of stores we’d been in, I abruptly vomited. Right there, in broad daylight in front of my family, God and the good people of Manhattan.

 I later found out this was the beginning of a fairly serious Kim-related rumor. My aunt was convinced I had picked up an eating disorder and put the word out to the family grape vine. Not being able to explain that I simply had no appetite most of the time due to my all-encompassing heartache, I protested to anyone who brought it up that it was silly of her to think that and that it was entirely untrue.

 I’ve never been one of those people who after eating or drinking too much could stick my finger down my throat. Oh, trust me; there were several occasions after nights of doing shots and playing drinking games or ridiculously overdoing it during a holiday dinner that I tried. Not because I’ve ever had Anorexia. More like because I felt like I was in danger of exploding and wanted relief. But there wasn’t one time I was ever successful at it. Maybe this is very lucky in the scheme of things; who knows.

 What I do know is this: eating disorder or not, it’s not at all pleasant to be on the receiving end of so much attention drawn to your weight and/or eating habits. Yes, I was too skinny. (Not that it wasn’t fun to put on my friend Jen’s Size 0’s and zip them up with the greatest of ease…) But why do people feel it’s acceptable to comment on someone else’s weight when it is a case of being underweight that is the problem? I certainly would never have dreamed to retort back with, “Well, you and Uncle Richie are both looking pretty chunky these days – are you sure YOU don’t have an eating disorder?”  

 These days my marriage is great and life is too, for the most part. I’m thankful food tastes like food again and that I currently have no real drama in my life to speak of. (Besides the whole infertility issue, but that’s a whole different Oprah). However. I don’t think I’d be too unhappy hearing someone say, “You’re too skinny; you need to eat!” right about now. I do long for that empty stomach feeling and am looking forward to the day where I feel in control of food again. I guess what I’m hoping for is more of a balance. If I can ever figure out how to be happy AND healthy at the same time, well then that would really be something.

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8 Responses to Achy Breaky Diet

  1. Shari says:

    Are you guys welcoming any guest blogs or did you form this to be just the 2 of you? I’m not writing that in a bitchy way, but it kinda sounded like it. I just feel like I’m in the same place as the both of you and might like to write too. So I’ll just write in the comments. Kim knows me from before, back in the day, when we were all skinny and didn’t have to do anything, except smoke a pack of ciggies and talk for hours, to maintain our ideal weight.

    So fast forward 1 kid and all the happy stresses of adult married life and the weight has crept on. I am 157, although that was last week and I don’t weigh again until tomorrow. I think I might have lost some, but we’ll see. One thing is for sure, it is a lot harder to lose the older you get. I believe the key to reaching any goal is to set a clear intention from the beginning… so I intend to be consistent with my exercise. I intend to be mindful of what I eat. I don’t like “diets” and I don’t do well with them, but I do think I can eat the goodies in moderation during this initial weight loss phase. And I like what you said about balance, Kim. I intend to seek balance. It’s like riding a wave, there is a striving for balance and sometimes even the slightest adjustment can do the trick. I think it is awesome that somehow we are all in this boat together. For that, I give a little shout out to the Universe!

    It’s true that we will all have a different things that work for each of us, but I think it will help getting hints or different things to try. Plus, I think it definitely helps to motivate when you see friends doing it and you don’t want to be the ONE not doing it, making excuses.

    So, anyway, I start where I am with no shame, ready to match who I am on the inside with what I look like on the outside, ready to offer support where I can, and ready to finally do it.

    So, this week, I ran around the block, which is almost a mile, without stopping. This might not sound like a lot, but I am not a runner, and I have the lung capacity of a baby bird, so this was quite a feat for me. I rewarded myself with a new cheapie watch from Wal-Mart that has a stopwatch feature so I can keep track of my times and laps. My goal is to run a local 5K called the Rock and Run in September. I also think it is important to come up with ways to celebrate each step we make. So let me just say how proud I am of all of us for finally doing it, collectively and individually.

    • Kimmothy says:

      Shari – I’m really excited that you want to join us with this project; the more, the merrier, is how I look at it. I think this is a topic near and dear to all our hearts (butts?) right now. And I admire you for running at all; I wish I could do it. Maybe someday?

  2. Shari says:

    The couch to 5k on the sidebar is perfect! Luv it!

  3. Laura says:

    Kim – I’m right there with ya. During my divorce I didn’t eat a pick of anything because it felt like the food would never get past the lump in my abdomen. And now that I’m happy, food is an indulgence that I rarely deny myself. I think people don’t comment on someone being too thin because they figure that’s the condition they want to be in, but they comment if you’ve gained weight because, again, they assume you don’t want to be heavy. We just assume that thin people don’t stress at all about their weight or appearance, and that’s just not true. Of course, I’d love to be concerned that I was too thin and try to fix that, rather than be concerned that I’m too heavy and try to fix THAT. Eh, you know, walk a mile in their shoes, etc.

    Shari – We’d love as many contributors as we can get! I think you’re right to not take the “diet” approach, but to make lifestyle changes that will stick with you and just make you more healthy overall. And, are you kidding??? If I could run a mile without stopping I’d be bragging about it to everyone I came across. Good luck in your training for your 5K! That’s a terrific goal. I’m proud of us, too!!!

    • Kimmothy says:

      I used to call it the Divorce Diet – I’ve known other people in that situation where the weight just dropped off mostly because the person could not eat. It’s dangerous, but highly effective!

  4. Robyn says:

    Wow, guys, great work on the blog and your weight loss projects so far! I am looking forward to keeping track of your progress while I hope to see mine, too. At first I thought it was odd that you all started getting fed up with your weight at the same time as me, but then I remembered the last time I was in a department store, assaulted by a wall of cute little bikinis and knowing that I could make most of one disappear just by putting it on! Guess it’s just that time of year again.

    My problems are the opposite with regards to when I eat, how much I eat and whether or not I can peel my butt off the couch. I just really like to eat. Feeling depressed or sad has never made me not want to eat- ever! But I am finding one thing that does, excessive heat for eight hours a day. Now that summer is here, the daytime temperature in the restaurant I work in tops out around 120 degrees. Even if my stomach is growling and I haven’t had anything but my morning quad shot venti iced latte from Fourbucks, the thought of eating anything while my face is glowing like the coals at the bottom of the char-grill is completely nauseating.

    So then I come home and have my nice cool shower, maybe another latte and chill in the a/c for a bit. I still won’t eat or even feel hungry until three or four hours later. I can only imagine what’s going on with my blood sugar and it can’t possibly be good. But I do know that I’ve lost a few pounds over the past week or so. I know that I need to get some sort of fitness program going, but I’ll have to do it before daylight. That’s a big challenge- convincing myself that the snooze button is not my friend at 4:30am. There’s just no way I will do it after I get home and just got un-sweaty finally.

    I am determined that I will not look like this by October when I go to my class reunion! I remember when I used to run three miles on my lunchbreak and a twenty mile bike ride was no biggie. I see pictures of me back then and I cannot believe how good I looked! And yes, Kim, I thought I could lose a few then, too!

    So, count me in, too! I want my butt back and if you see my waist, tell it that I miss having it around and would like it to come back, please! Keep up the good work!

    • Kimmothy says:

      “Fourbucks” – Hee!
      I think it helps that you have a specific event (reunion in October) that will keep you focused and working on it. It always helped me and before my class reunion, I worked out in a gym for eight months straight. My dress was sleeveless and looked darn good and my high school crush totally hit on me – it made all that hard work worthwhile!

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