I wasn’t always a fitness enthusiast. I didn’t always eat a well-balanced diet. In fact, I was a heavytarian. This is what you call a vegetarian who mostly lives on complete crap. THAT WAS ME!! French fries? YES PLEASE! Biggie size em! Grilled cheese made in butter with 3 types of cheeses? EVERY day.
I was also depressed. Clinically depressed. I had no idea at the time that my ADHD coupled with my PCOS and PMDD made my life hell. It wasn’t until I got my diagnosis that my mom took me and had me put my happy behind on birth control that my life changed.
My life changed, but the habits I had developed over many years, hadn’t. On top of that, I had recently moved from Ohio to NYC and was attending college. Being in a city where I had few friends, and going to school at the same time meant my weight ticked up to an all time high of 310 lbs. You read that right, 310 lbs.
That’s me and my mom. Apart from my size, notice the eyebrows, HELLO, 2004!! When I got these pictures back, I realized something had to give. I felt huge. I looked huge. I felt ill all the time. I weighed more than linebackers! Something had to change. On top of all that, my weight put me squarely OUT of the arena of stage/screen actor and into the “voiceover actor only” arena. It was more than disheartening, the one thing I had always dreamed of doing, I was preventing myself from achieving. No one wanted to meet with me, no one wanted another “fat-girl friend” actress on their roster/on their show/in their commercial. I would look in the mirror every morning and hate what was looking back at me. I couldn’t take it anymore.
The next week I made an appointment with a bariatric surgeon specializing in gastric bypass. This was my biggest mistake and the beginning of 2 years of hell and many more of complications.
In March of 05 I had my surgery. It wasn’t two days later that I wondered if it was a mistake. I couldn’t keep anything down and was switched to IV nutrients only for 7 days. I still could barely keep anything down. This lasted 6 months. Also, a good amount of my duodenum was damaged and so I could no longer produce and store sufficient amount of B-12, and without that, your body doesn’t get enough iron, without iron, you pass out-a lot.
Around 1 year after my surgery, I really started to work out and eat well. I went into the surgery thinking all of this weight was just going to fall right off and I wasn’t going to need to work at it, I was wrong. I did need to work, and I did need to exercise, and I had to quit making excuses. Eventually I went down to 138lbs-this I found to be too thin for my near 6′ frame. I now vacillate between 143-147.
Then, I discovered running. I discovered that I could challenge myself every time I tied my laces. I knew that I could make it that it would never get easy. There was always another mile, another hill, another turn. I could do it anywhere. I didn’t need an expensive gym membership or a ton of equipment. I just needed feet. Luckily, I had a pair. Even if it was a very large (sz 11) pair. I also discovered that eating healthy didn’t have to taste like crap. It could be delicious. Foods, as they are, from the earth, can taste great. What a concept. I also discovered I had a passion to share my love of food and running and fitness with the world, so maybe one more overweight person can realize what’s possible.
After running and eating and fitness came babies. Once again, my life changed. I found myself taking bites of my son’s food, and sitting at home more instead of walking. I found my time crunched and my butt getting bigger. My regimen needed to change. I needed to learn that being good to my kids also meant being good to me. It’s been hard, and I’m still figuring it out.
What I do know is that eating right and moving my body makes me a happier person and therefore, a better mom. I know that I feel awesome in my own strength, and I want others to feel the same. It’s easy to go around not changing anything, and change is scary, but damn, is it ever worth it.