Health & Food

What does every person associate with the south? Besides football…I’m sure you can figure it out within 2 guesses…. since I just gave you football…yep it is food. And they have every right to associate the south with food. We have the BEST food. Biscuits, homemade ice cream, casserole galore, and fried EVERYTHING!!! I mean we have fried chicken, fried pickles, fried green beans, fried zucchini, fried cookie dough, fried Oreos, fried cheese…I could go on. OH! and let’s not forget the staple of the south, sweet tea…which runs through my veins. So, being from Alabama, I know all about this food…and so do my thunder thighs and my waistline. We have food for every event. Wedding – best food you can find plus two amazing desserts, funerals – enough food to feed you for a month…at least, new baby – lets bring you food, you just got engaged – let’s have a BBQ, you just got dumped – I’m on my way with the ice cream…. you get the picture. I have a love hate relationship with food. I wish I saw food as what it is…energy to survive. However, I appreciate food for the taste instead of the contents. I think about this as I sit here snacking on my Chuychanga with creamy jalapeno sauce (yes, it is fried and delicious).

I have just agreed to compete in a diet bet with some friends I work with. One is getting married in October and she wants to shed some pounds before she gets her dress altered. The two others are in the wedding – another good reason to shape up. Then there’s me – I just like to try to do these things. Key word in that phrase is try…I always give up…I don’t want to say fail because I feel like to fail I would have to finish it and not quit. That is my problem…I am a quitter…when it comes to losing weight, as are most people. Losing weight is hard! It is a slow and uncomfortable process. You must limit junk food you like or cut it completely. You start eating food you do not like, and you feel like you are suffering. When you get on the scale after a week of this “suffering” and the scale is down 1lb…I don’t know about you but it makes me want a cupcake. Really, 1 lb. and I only ate green food all week? Ugh! This isn’t going to work – enters gas station and buys chips and coke. Cycle continues.

So, here’s some background about me and my weight/body image struggle. I have always struggled with weight, as did my dad and sister. My dad’s struggle was hard to watch – his weight eventually made him sick – heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and he eventually had a heart attack and died. I decided that I didn’t want my life cut short either – I had tried diets, but I couldn’t stick to them, I had tried diet pills and they work, until you get off them – then you gain the weight back. I decided to do weight loss surgery – so in March of 2013 – I had the gastric sleeve procedure done. For those of you who do not know – this is when they go in and cut out a portion of your stomach. You are left with a stomach about the size of a banana. I was 220lbs when I had this surgery…lets fast forward 6 years later…I am now 28, 1-year post-partum and back up to 200 lbs. I am only 30lbs from my pre-surgery weight. Do not think that, oh she had a baby, give yourself a break. No – I did not gain 50 lbs. during my pregnancy. I gained 15 and I lost it all before I left the hospital. I had gained back up to 180 before pregnancy.

I tell you this, so you know that the surgery only works if you change your life. It did, for a while…but then I went back to eating whatever I wanted. Now…I’m unhappy again. I feel sluggish, lethargic, tired, lazy, any other word you can think of that is not good. If you ask me to describe myself…I will tell you about how fat my legs are, how flabby my arms are, how my hips are wider than my husband’s – therefore his jeans don’t even fit my hips, how my stretch marks are growing, how I can see my cellulite through my yoga pants, etc. That’s how I feel and that is what I see – so anyone who rebuts me, and I am being too hard on myself. Trust me – I know. However, this is how I feel – I don’t care what words you say to me – you will not change how I see myself. Only I can change how I see myself. That is what I am trying to do – change.

My husband was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis this year which is an autoimmune disease that effects the large intestine. When he has a flare up everything makes him sick. This started on Christmas Eve – he missed my family Christmas because he was in the bathroom for hours…without coming out. This went on for weeks. These weeks were very hard on him and on me. On top of taking care of our 1 year old, I was having to take care of him as well. He would get home from work and go straight to the bathroom and so many nights Mike and I would go to bed and be asleep before he ever came out. This was becoming an everyday thing and he finally got in with a gastro doctor. He was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. He was in the middle of a flare up, but they said it was healing so that was good news. However, if he did not change his diet, flare ups were going to last longer and be more common. Well lets fast forward to 6 weeks later – nothing has changed. He knows he needs to change his diet – but he hasn’t, therefore we are in the middle of a flare up again. He literally just text me and told me how bad he’s feeling from eating the BBQ they catered in at his work. We talked about it this morning and I reminded him that he ate that a couple of weeks ago and had to leave work early because of how sick he got. His love for food…not loves…more like obsession for the taste and the fulfillment is taking over his need and want to take care of himself so that he will feel better. A BBQ sandwich is not worth 5 hours in the bathroom. However, I can say the same thing to myself – Savannah fries and ranch are not worth the feeling you are going to feel when your pants don’t fit next week. We choose the food over what is best for our body.

Food is energy that we need for survival. Would you fill your car up with gas that would make it run slower and cost you more money in maintenance? No, you wouldn’t. So why do we do that to our bodies? My goal is to fill my body with gas that makes it better, not worse. Yet I keep finding myself going back to the bad gas. I don’t understand it – but it is a bad habit that I am trying to break.

If you want to change your body – then just do it. Y’all, we only have one life. ONE! God has blessed us with this body – it is our job to take care of it. Yes, it would’ve been nice if he would’ve made it to where our metabolisms were awesome and being overweight or underweight could never be a thing, but I really think that was meant for the 7th day and God decided he needed a nap. And we know what happens with naps – we forget what we were going to do before we took the nap. Anyways – yes, it is hard – but it is doable. If you want to lose weight, burn more calories than you consume in one day. It really is that simple. Yes, there are other ways out there too, but if you are saying it is too complicated, then just count your calories. Download a food tracker app and count your calories. It does the math for you. We literally have no excuse. We are surrounded with ways to lose weight. The marketing for it is insane. It is just if we decide we are going to put in the work. I am telling myself this too – as I start my diet bet on Monday. Savannah – food is energy – it is not a treat, it is not an emotional support system, it is not a bad thing either. It is energy – that’s it – choose wisely. Wish me luck.