I’ve had weight and health issues most of my life. As a child I was known as “thunderthighs” among the taunting peers. I had an emergency appendectomy the last day of elementary school, and that was the first of many surgeries yet to come. At the age of 13, a fall off my beloved horse broke my tailbone and began a series of issues with my lower back that has continued through adulthood.
I was bedridden due to my back the latter part of my senior year, and during that time I gained about 40 pounds. I never realized it since I never got up to dress or go to the bathroom. I tried dieting on and off with some success here and there. I lost 30 pounds in college during a month-long survival course traveling 250 miles on foot and living off the land. That life-changing experience shocked my internal system to change moving my bowels from once-a-week to a daily event. I went on to my first back surgery during college.
I married and had continued health problems during pregnancies. I was bedridden again during my second pregnancy when a disc in my lower back became herniated. I gained 45 pounds with each pregnancy but deliveries were successful. I was plagued with cluster migraine headaches, some of which lasted weeks. I tried every diet that came along: the grapefruit diet, Atkins, Weight-Watchers, Nutrisystem, SlimFast, and many I can’t even remember. I was successful in losing weight with most of them, but the pounds would creep back. I spent hours running at the school track, pushing the stroller and carefully watching my other children on the football field as I ran laps.
My health issues continued as I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, trigeminal neuralgia, rheumatoid arthritis, myofascial pain syndrome, irritable bowel syndrome and degenerative disc disease. I took medication every day to help prevent the migraine clusters that still came if I forgot to take the meds. Many of the side effects of the medications included weight gain, so I had my excuse.
My two daughters developed eating disorders in their teenage years. I tried to convince myself that I had not caused them, but with mom dieting her way through life, the emphasis was definitely there. We shared Weight Watcher meetings together and celebrated successes at losing a few pounds. The girls threw themselves into exercising. I would convince myself that my poor health would not let me run anymore so my life became sedentary. I was tall, so I could carry many extra pounds without looking fat. It was my grandson who asked me one day why I was so fat.