This is probably one of the most uncomfortable things I have ever written but, I do feel that I need to be honest. Confession time…..I have this IG account (@eternalworkinprogressgal), and now blog. I post Inspiring Quotes, Positive and Motivational Memes, Whole30 Meals, Whole30 Advice, and information on Meditation and Mindfulness. Do I talk the talk without walking the walk? The truth is, I do all of those things. But, this is a newfound lifestyle for me. In reality, I am obese. I am not a fit Cross-fit Junkie. I am not a Soul Cycle Queen or Hot Yoga Expert. My path has taken me on all sorts of wild twists and turns. I find myself here, in my early 40’s ……trying to get healthy and figure things out. The IG Account and now Blog have been a huge part of my inspiration to continue on this journey for health and continued happiness on MY Terms.
So the truth is, I was not always obese. I did however have health issues (continuous) stemming from when I was younger. For each of those things, we treated symptoms and never really got to the root of everything going on. I yo-yo dieted for as long as I can remember even joining Weight Watchers at the ripe age of 17. I wore a size 8 then. The pressure to be perfect and keep up a certain image stemmed from lots of things, culture (my family was from a culture where image matters, nose jobs and plastic surgery were the norm, and women were well educated, and excelled), peers, clothing trends, etc. I was never thin. In fact I developed very early which was very confusing and scary for a fifth grade child. By the time I hit Middle School, I was in a C cup bra. Because modesty was expected and my family was so strict, I often words 2 bras to conceal things. Buying clothing was very difficult. My sense of body image was very distorted.
The next part is very hard to admit. My family life was very stressful. I know that happens with a lot of adolescents and many are able to deal. Many act out in other ways. Mine was with food. I was a binge eater at a very young age I was always the first one home after school, sometimes in charge of making dinner. I would take a little bit of so many things and stuff myself, making sure that I did not take enough that anyone would notice. I often would do this, graze on a bunch of different things, and them eat a whole dinner afterwards. I also would purge, making myself throw up if I thought it was too much and didn’t want to gain weight. I did this a few times a week for a few years.
This stopped when I reached college. In college I gained weight. I drank a lot, partied a lot, ate terribly, dieted here and there….but, I was active. It was not until after college that I really began to gain weight. Part of it was depression dealing with family issues and relationship issues. Part of it was from two bad car accidents that I was in one after another. I had steroid injections for a long time that were reeking havoc on me. Food became my “happy”, my crutch, my sense of pleasure. Until it didn’t. Around 2003, I started to have chronic pain and other mystery symptoms (inflammation, joint pain, insomnia, hair loss, weight gain, bloating, gynecological issues and surgeries, rosacea, other skin conditions..and so much more). I went to doctor after doctor trying to figure it out. Each year that would pass, I would become more inactive due to the pain, and depressed that this was how things were going to be. I have a very physical job so I would get through the day; on the inside in so much pain, and then come home and immediately rest and go to sleep. Tying my shoes was effort, rolling over in bed was effort. It was awful.
Two and a half years ago, everything changed. I continued to have major gynecological issues. I needed my gallbladder out. During the post-op appointment after that surgery, the surgeon told me that when doing the endoscopy during surgery, it was apparent that my stomach lining and intestines were fragmented indicating damage. He asked if I had allergies or reflux. It was at this time, that I began to investigate things myself, researching like crazy. I finally met with an allergist who “got it”. She spent an hour and a half with me writing things down in a notebook. I cried the entire time. I told her about all of the symptoms I had, all of the symptoms I had as a kid, the illnesses I had etc. She documented everything. She ordered extensive allergy testing. She ordered some testing that I paid out of pocket; some genetic testing looking for some specific markers, and some vitamin deficiency testing. The vitamin deficiency testing was very telling. I was anemic, I was deficient in most vitamins and significantly deficient in Vitamin D and B12. I also had poor adrenal function. My cortisol levels were off. My thyroid levels were off. My allergy testing came back and I was virtually allergic to everything in the environment and then some specific foods. Gluten was tested and one test came back positive and the other negative. I had already had the endoscopy from the surgeon and the doctor suggested that I try a gluten free diet for three weeks and I could see if things improved.
I went gluten free cold turkey. Within a few days, my debilitating joint pain was better, my stomach was not as distended, and I was no longer wheezing. When gluten was re-introduced, I got immediately sick. It felt like I was swallowing razor blades, my lips were a bit swollen a bit, and I got violently sick to my stomach. The consensus at my follow up appointment was that I had an autoimmune disease called Celiac Disease. Based on symptoms and my reaction re-introducing gluten, I could not tolerate it. An endoscope and re-test would be pointless because at this point, I had been gluten free for a little over a month.
Here is the thing……I do not know or care if I have Celiac Disease or just a gluten intolerance. I do know that I have been sick for years. I have had chronic pain, anxiety, depression, and most of that is now gone. I have the weight left to lose….a lot of weight. I do believe that I am on the right path to overcoming my food addictions, and do believe that the weight will come off slowly in a healthy way. I have found some success with the Whole30 lifestyle and do believe using that, along with some other tools (meditation, self care, incorporating some exercise again) will help me with that. I am truly “An Eternal Work In Progress Gal”. I am good with that. I more than likely will always be. My goal with this blog is to have a platform to write and in the process maybe sharing my story will help someone else. I am sure that there are people out there who maybe can relate to my story. Or, maybe nobody will read it all. I am good with that too!