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FAYETTESIDRA is a SparkPeople Motivator!

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Oh, where to begin. This must be the 15th time I've rewritten this lovely introduction. Let's start at the beginning.

All of my life, I was overweight. That is not an exaggeration. I was wearing an ADULT size 14 in fourth grade. Obesity is not uncommon in my family, and I grew up watching my mom struggle with her weight. Without meaning to, my mom made it very clear to me at an early age that being fat was not okay. So I grew up with poor eating habits and extremely low self-esteem. All throughout middle school and high school, I would wait until the rest of my family was asleep and then raid the kitchen. I've been a closet-eater most of my life. During my freshman year of high school, I had my first run-in with an eating disorder; I starved myself for a short time. I dropped a couple of sizes, but not surprisingly, it didn't last. Throughout high school I was around a size 18/20. My mom put me on Weight Watchers at one point, but I didn't last more than a couple months on it.

In college, my weight didn't increase much. My eating habits were atrocious, but I wasn't secretly eating anymore...I was just eating all of the junk food in the dining hall along with my friends. I tried halfheartedly to lose weight a couple of times, but never stuck to it. My senior year of college, I had my second encounter with anorexia as I attempted to lose weight before graduation. Again, it didn't stick and it wasn't long before my weight leveled off somewhere in the 260s, where it had been for probably about 6 years.

After college, I moved to NYC and it wasn't long before I just got tired of it all. I absolutely loathed myself. In late 2006, I started starving myself once more...but this time I stuck to it. I also started working out. My first workout routine was focused around running, which as you can imagine was damn near impossible at 260+ pounds. But I stuck with it and got better. As time went on, I supplemenetd my running with various workout DVDs (dancing, Tae Bo, Walk Away the Pounds)

By April 2007, I was down a couple of sizes in time to join my older sister on a trip to the Bahamas. I was elated to be a size 16. The Bahamas, however, introduced me to part of myself I was unaware of before: the binge-eater. My "diet" lasted about 1 day in the Bahamas, and the next five were spend binging out of control on everything I could possible get my hands on. When I returned to NYC, I felt miserable and returned to my stringent routine.

The longer I tried to stick to my anorexic lifestyle, the harder it became and I knew I needed to change things up, so in October 2007, I joined SparkPeople. I loved it from the minute I signed up, because it made things much easier. However, I still wasn't being healthy. On average, I aimed for about 800 calories per day instead of the recommended 1200. But each week, the scale dropped at least 3 pounds and sometimes as many as 7 pounds. Those numbers were too good to change my routine. Meanwhile, I was exhausted all of the time, not to mention extremely moody and unhappy.

I kept up this lifestyle well into 2008. Every once in a while, I'd have a binge episode, but for the most part, I kept my food intake low. In April of 2008, I was down to about 165 pounds and was around a size 10. In April, I moved to Maryland for a career change: working at a college...and living on campus. Once again, I fell victim to the dining hall. My first couple of weeks in Maryland were binge-heavy. I had restricted myself so long that I simply could not handle being around decadent food. I ate so much a few of those days that I made myself seriously ill. It took only those couple of weeks for my clothes to stop fitting, and I became an emotional wreck. Conversations with my best friend helped snap me out of it, and I reverted back to restricted eating. Each day for the next 6 months my meals consisted of oatmeal for breakfast, salad for lunch and dinner. Sometimes I allowed myself fruit to snack on. My weight plummeted, and by July 2008, I was a size 8.

In May 2008, I met my wonderful boyfriend Craig, and I kept my restricted eating a secret. When we'd go on dates, I'd always only order a salad. He just assumed I was a "healthy eater".

My next memorable binge-fest was in August of 2008, when my boyfriend was leaving the area to return to graduate school, so our relationship became long-distance. At the same time, we were training our student staff, so tempting food was everywhere. I spent about two weeks eating everything in sight before I started restricting once more. The restricting, however, got much worse. As Autumn wore on, I was desperate to be thin. I wanted to look good in a Halloween costume, and even better when Iw as to meet my boyfriend's parents for the first time around Thanksgiving. My calorie intake dropped to about 500 calories per day. I would have an apple for breakfast, plain salad for lunch, and vegetables for dinner.

By November 2008, I was 145 pounds and a size 6. I was receiving compliments from everyone. However, when I looked in the mirror, I still saw fat. It wasn't good enough. I wanted to be a size 2, which on my body frame is damn near impossible. I was perpetually exhausted but I couldn't sleep at night, I was extremely moody, I was unmotivated to do my job...simply put, I couldn't function on so few calories. So while I loved the comments and loved that I could buy size 6 jeans, I was too tired to actually live.

Everything crashed and burned in December 2008.

In December, my boyfriend and I went to spend the Christmas holidays with my family. I spent 10 days binging. My size 6s became unbearably tight in just 10 days. For NYE, we were back in Maryland with plans to celebrate with my boyfriend's friends. That night, I had my first panic attack about my weight. My size 6 jeans simply would not get on my body. I completely panicked and almost didn't make it to the party. After an hour of consoling me, my boyfriend convinced me to go. Once at the party, I binged some more.

In January 2009, I decided enough was enough. After 2 weeks of binging, I was back in my size 8s, and I wasn't happy to be there. I tried restricting again, but try as I might, I couldn't get it to stick. I was binging multiple days per week, and I started sneaking food like I did as a teenager. Panic attacks became a regular occurrence as my clothes became tighter and tighter. That spring, I joined Weight Watchers once more. When I stepped on the scale, they told me my weight was over 180. In just 2 or 3 months I gained FORTY pounds because of my binging. I cried for hours after that weigh-in. I stuck with the Weight Watchers plan for only a month or so, and the binging still continued. In March, I travelled to Ohio for a graduate school interview, and my size 10 suit was terribly snug.

After I fell off the Weight Watchers bandwagon once more, I didn't have any sort of plan. My lifestyle was chaotic. Eat healthy some days, binge others. When my boyfriend moved in with me in May, we began working out daily together. This helped a little, but the binging never ceased. But now that I was living with someone, I had to hide it. I'd wait until he fell asleep and then get up and raid the kitchen. Or I'd go for a walk and raid the vending machines. Mentally, I was not in a good place. i felt like i had no control, and I didn't know what to do.

In July 2009, we moved to Ohio for graduate school, and for a while, things got much better. My binging decreased greatly and my workouts increased. However, I was restricting again. I would never allow myself to eat a food I labeled as "bad" so it wasn't long before the binging remerged. The binging frequencies were much lower, but they were still there. I settled in around a size 10 for quite a while, but was having panic attacks nearly every morning when I got dressed. I don't know what I would have done if my boyfriend wasn't there to support me. No one had any idea what I was struggling with except for him. i'd go to class, go to work, and hang out with friends as if I were living a perfectly normal life, but everything was chaotic behind closed doors.

In Fall of 2009, I came across the book "intuitive Eating" as was hopeful that I found the solution to my problems. And for a long while, it did work. However, old habits die hard, and it wasn't long before my restricting-binging cycle came back. By Spring 2010, I was a size 12.

During the summer of 2010, I was in Rhode Island for an internship at a University. For my first 8 or so weeks there, I was back to restricting without binging, and soon my size 12s were far too big. However, by late July, the binger was back and my size 12s were snug once more.

During fall 2010, my restrict-binge cycle continued, and I decided it was time to get help. in October 2010, I met with a counselor on my grad. school's campus and was diagnosed with binge-eating disorder. However, I was completely dissatisfied with my counselor, and stopped attending sessions in November. Still, it was somewhat comforting to know that what I was going though is a real disorder, and not something I suffer with alone.

In December 2010, I rejoined SparkPeople with my boyfriend (unhealthy eating in grad. school has made his weight go up quite a bit, too). At first, I fell back into old habits and was only eating around 1000 calories a day. Over the holidays, I binged out of control and gained about 10 pounds in ONE week. After the holidays, I got right back on Spark and those 10 pounds came off fairly fast. For the first three weeks of January, I stuck to about 1000 calories per day and did cardio one hour per day. In 24 days, I lost 14 pounds. However, when I stepped on the cale on January 24th, and I had less than one pound of weight loss, those feelings of panic came back. It was then and there that I decided enough was enough.

I'm 26 years old. I am TIRED of struggling with these issues constantly. My desire for quick-fix weight loss through extreme calorie-restriction has gotten me nowhere these past two years. This life style is unhealthy physically and emotionally. I can't live the rest of my life being ruled by the number on the scale or the size of my jeans instead of focusing on health.

So here I am, at the beginning of 2011, with a few lifetime resolutions that I am making to myself.

1. No more restricted eating. These past 2 years have shown me that eating too few calories doesn't work. Sure, I might lost 5 pounds in one week, but once that inevitable binge comes, I'll gain about 10 back. Every day, I am going to hit my calorie range for the day.

2. No more exercise-purging. In all of my years of binging, I never purged. But I would workout "extra hard" to make up for "indiscretions." No more. My body needs rest. Working out for one hour per day, seven days per week, was driving me into the ground. Depending on my energy level for the week, I will be taking one or two days off from workouts.

3. No more off-limit foods. This was one of my biggest struggles the past two years. Peanut butter is my favorite food, and I would never, ever allow myself to have it because "it has too many calories." No wonder why I would eat half a jar during a binge! Now my favorite foods have a healthy place in my life.

4. No more binging. This one is going to be especially difficult. You can't just shut an eating disorder off. However, if I actually eat the number of calories I'm supposed to every day, and allow myself to eat the foods I want to, the urge to binge should decrease. If I do have the urge to binge, I will seek help from others to get me through the episode.

5. Enjoy myself. When a person without eating-issues goes out to dinner, do they panic over the menu? Of course not! They enjoy themselves and move on with their lives. When a special occasion comes around, I am going to enjoy it and not fret about the calories. You only live once. This is a lifestyle, and one meal doesn't change a lifestyle. This will also take practice, as I have a tendency to allow special occasions to turn into binges.

6. Be kind to myself. This is perhaps most important. When I was overweight as a teen, I wasn't particularly happy, but my weight didn't make me miserable. Ever since I lost weight, I have been completely miserable obsessing over calories, sizes, and numbers on the scale. No more. I am a good person. I am a hard-worker. I take care of the people I love. Now it's time to take care of me. I need to stop beating myself up and realize that I am only human. I am allowed to make mistakes. I need to stop expecting myself to be perfect, because there's no such thing as perfect.

So there it is. The very long story of how I got to where I am today. I share this with you, Sparkers, because I don't want anyone to repeat my mistakes. it's a miserable life. I also share for those of you who perhaps have the same struggles as me. I want you to know you're not alone.

Member Since: 10/18/2007

Fitness Minutes: 8,996

My Goals:
Be happy. Be healthy!

My Program:
Workout 5-6 days per week and stick to my calorie-range!

Personal Information:
Originally from CT, transplanted to NYC, then to Maryland, and now living outside of Cleveland, OH.

Other Information:

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