Getting to Know Me: When Food Becomes the Enemy

My blog is usually light-hearted and filled with pictures of Annabelle, compression socks, and ice cream.  This post is the complete opposite of that, but I feel it is important to share my story in the hopes that it could help somebody who might be caught in a similar struggle.  It is very hard to share all of this, but I hope it can help you or someone you love.

Childhood

I was an active kid growing up.  My parents enrolled me in different sports like soccer, basketball, and gymnastics, but I found “my thing” with baton twirling.  I started at the age of seven and twirled for the next 10 years.  Many people don’t know much about the sport, but we practiced a few times a week during the winter months and every day in the summer leading up to the national competition held at the University of Notre Dame each July.  Since I was young, active, and blessed with a great metabolism, I NEVER paid any attention to what I ate. 

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Can you tell which one is me?

My first “diet”

During the Spring of 2000, I was a senior in high school and prom was quickly approaching.  My friend Kate and I decided that we wanted to lose some weight before the big dance, so we began a diet.  The diet consisted of three parts:  (1) No more cafeteria food (2) Lunch would consist of a sandwich, graham crackers, and a granola bar.  Every day, Kate packed two sandwiches for us and I was responsible for bringing the crackers and granola bars (3) Eat a healthy dinner.  We stuck to it and we felt pretty darn good come prom. 

The Freshman Fifteen

I began college in the Fall of 2000 and I did what most other college freshman do.  I took full advantage of my meal plan and the dining halls!  Not only did I enjoy soft ice cream after almost every meal, my roommate Kirstyn and I loved to order late night pizza and Chinese food.  No, we weren’t up late partying, we were busy watching Conan and playing on AOL Instant Messenger.  It was really fun for a while, but towards the end of the school year I looked in the mirror and I was not happy with what I saw.

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Me and Kirstyn in 2010

The Turning Point

Right before leaving college to go home for the summer, I started trying to eat healthier.  My form of eating healthier equated to eating less.  I noticed that eating less made my stomach flatter, my clothes fit better, and my body get smaller.  During the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college, I continued to alter my eating habits and I started to lose a lot of weight.  Since my parents worked during the day and were not able to monitor my habits, it was easy to hide for a while.  By the time I went back to school, I was much smaller then when I left…and I was thrilled.

What did I eat?

During the Fall of 2001, I pretty much ate the same thing every day.  My high school friends that I saw during the holidays, referred to my diet as the “water and fiber” diet.  They didn’t know what I was eating or the severity of the situation at the time, but they did notice the continued weight loss.

Breakfast:  Nutri-Grain Bar or granola bar

Lunch:  Yogurt

Dinner:  Turkey on a wheat bagel and a small diet coke

Wow, I really didn’t realize how little food I was consuming.  The diet coke was my “treat” for the day and I only had one small fountain soda per day…never more.  I even stopped chewing gum because those were a few more calories that I didn’t need.  I didn’t eat chocolate for over a year.  My “diet” kept me from going out to eat with friends and I missed out on a lot of fun opportunities because I was a prisoner in my own body.  PS seeing this in writing is quite overwhelming.

My Body

I am close to 5’8” tall and I weighed close to 130 pounds in the Spring of 2001.  By the winter of 2002, I weighed in at 102 lbs.  I lost any and all curves that I had and my face and eyes were dark and sunken in.  Most alarming to me now, is that I didn’t have a cycle for one and a half years…one and a half years!

The Road to Recovery

One day in the Spring of 2002, my mom came to me and said, “I’m going to take you out of school and get you help.  I can’t help you if you are here (at school) and I am at home.”  For some reason, this really hit home.  My mom and I are best friends and always have been.  Seeing her worried and upset and to the point of removing me from school, really got to me and I knew that I needed to make a change.  I would be lying if I said it was easy or if I didn’t have my setbacks and reoccurrences, but this was the beginning of a healthier life for me.

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I started to add more to my diet and tried to eat three balanced meals a day.  I started slow and stayed away from unhealthy foods like pizza and dessert.  It took a while, but I started to gain weight and the color came back into my face.  I attended fitness classes at the campus gym and I even tried out to teach the classes. 

The Struggle Continues

I can honestly say, that I have maintained a healthy mindset and body image for the majority of time since 2002.  However, I have also experienced my fair share of setbacks and challenges along the way.  Every now and again something will happen (sickness, injury, stress, etc.) and I fall back into dangerous habits.  NOTE:  I have not had a setback in a very long time and I am in a really good place right now, so please don’t worry. 

  • Excessive exercise:  Exercise is a great thing and great for the body.  However, sometimes I feel like I need to exercise a few times a day and put in a few more hours because I had a piece of cake.
  • Eating less…and less:  At times, I just eat less (unplanned on my part) due to my job, busy schedule, or a sickness.  Sometimes I just continue to eat less because I liked that I lost a little bit of weight or I enjoyed not feeling so “full” all of the time.
  • Abusing laxatives:  I don’t remember exactly when I discovered these, but I found freedom in eating a large meal and knowing I could “get rid of it” in a short amount of time. 

I don’t think I will every fully be “cured”, but I do know how to handle the situation and I am a much stronger person because of it.

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July 2008:  Heavier but happy 🙂

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December 2009:  Skinnier (healthy skinny) and still happy.  From the left:  Kristie, Kate (high school diet partner), Lauren, Me, and Amber

Where I am today

I am very happy with my body and my body image.  I can tell you the very most important thing that keeps me on track and healthy…my baby girl.  I absolutely loved being pregnant and I knew that I was responsible for growing a healthy human being and I did everything in my power to do that. 

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July 2012:  3 months pregnant and super happy

I now have a beautiful almost 10 month old and I know that I need to stay healthy and strong for her.  The last thing I want is for her to inherit a negative body image and I am going to do everything in my power to keep that from happening.

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Thanks for taking the time to read my story and please pass this on to anybody that might need to know that they aren’t alone.

I hope you have a happy and healthy day.  🙂 Linda

 

Getting to know me: We are having a baby! – Part 2

Did you miss Getting to know me: We are having a baby! – Part 1?  Check out the Baby AB page too!

It was Saturday, January 12th and I decided that I wanted to go look at buy some cars.  Well, just one car really…the Subaru Outback.  I have always wanted one and they are very roomy and perfect for a growing family.  Chris and I along with my parents ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel (yes, I eat there way too much and we have a waiter who considers us regulars) and then headed to the Subaru dealership.  Long story short, my dad is a super negotiator when it comes to buying cars and I ended up getting a great deal on an Outback.  Since Chris was trading in his truck and we had not brought it with us, we planned to pick the car up on Monday night.

First reason why this weekend was the best weekend in the history of weekends:  Subaru Outback!

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We headed home and prepared for the next part of our day.  At 4 pm our beloved Baltimore Ravens were taking on the Denver Broncos in the AFC Divisional round of the playoffs.  The Ravens were underdogs and this was going to be a tough fight.  Before the game even started I remember telling my mom that I wasn’t feeling well.  Since I was 37 1/2 weeks pregnant, I assumed I would probably not “feel well” for the next few weeks.  This game proved to be the most exciting and stressful game I can ever remember watching and I kept going from laying on the couch covering my eyes to jumping up and down cheering.  It was about 6:30 pm and something happened.  I’ll spare you the details, but I lost the plug and I started to panic.  I quickly texted my good friend who is a physician’s assistant and she assured me that this was normal and it did not mean that I was going into labor.  Often times this happens and the woman does not give birth for days or even weeks.  I felt fine when I went to bed so I assumed all was well and I was planning to hit the gym the next morning…lol.  Oh yeah, I packed my hospital bag before I went to bed…just in case.

Second reason why this weekend was the best weekend in the history of weekends:  The Ravens beat the Broncos!

This picture was taken at the Ravens game the prior week.  I was happy that I could squeeze into my Ray Lewis jersey in honor of his last home game!

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At 3 am, I started to feel some light cramping.  I was pretty much thinking that this was it, but since I had never experienced it before I really had no idea.  I was able to sleep for a few hours and kept checking the time when I woke up in pain.  I was only waking up every 45 minutes so there was plenty of time between contractions.  This would not last long.  By 6 am I was in a lot of pain and had to get out of bed.  I started timing my contractions with the Full Term Contraction Timer app and I was having a contraction every 3 to 5 minutes.  The picture below is a sample and not actually mine…I wish the duration of my contractions were only 13 seconds.  I was experiencing many that were 30 seconds to a minute in length.

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I called my mom and she of course told me to call my doctor.  Since I had just been to the doctor two days prior and I wasn’t showing any signs of progress, she told me to get comfortable at home and see what happens.  I decided to get a shower and then reevaluate the situation.  By the time I finished showering, I was stopped dead in my tracks when I had a contraction and I was actually getting sick with some of them.  I was in a lot of pain, exhausted, and dehydrated because I couldn’t keep down any fluids.  I woke Chris up and told him to shower and pack his bag.  We headed to my parents apartment because they live very close to the hospital.

On the way to the hospital, Chris stopped at 7-11 to get gas….and a buffalo chicken taquito.  The smell of that thing was gross and I was having enough trouble as it was!

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While he was inside buying this nastiness, my water broke…or at least I think it did.  It was not that gushing bucket full of water you see on TV, but I was convinced that it was time to get to the hospital.  We arrived at the hospital around 10 am.  It was a very busy morning in the labor and delivery department and I had to wait a little while to be checked.  I was finally checked and I was 3 cm dilated.  Since it was so busy, we stayed in this “check to see if you are really in labor” room for quite some time.  At this point I was in so much pain.  The pain was so much worse than I could ever have imagined.  My contractions were coming one right after another and I didn’t have any time to catch my breath.  I was sooo ready for an epidural at this point and I couldn’t get one fast enough.  I was really bummed that I NEEDED one because I really wanted to try and do this naturally.  I just couldn’t imagine having to feel that pain with no breaks for who knew how much longer.

We were finally transferred to the delivery room and they gave me the biggest one because I had been waiting for a while.  It was a little while longer before I was given the epidural (2 ladies were ahead of me), but I finally got it and it did not hurt one bit.  The anesthesiologist (who was gorgeous, lol) was finished in a matter of minutes and I started to feel some relief.  The labor and delivery nurse checked me once again and I had progressed to 9 cm!!!!  I progressed from 3 cm to 9 cm in very little time and this is why I was in sooo much pain.  My doctor was amazed and she was glad that I ignored her advice and got to the hospital.  I was at 10 cm a short time later and we started pushing!  After 2 hours of steady pushing, Annabelle was born at 3:05 pm weighing 6 pounds, 3 ounces!

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Third and by far the most important reason this weekend was the best weekend in the history of weekends:  Annabelle Grace was born.

She is a happy and healthy baby girl and we are so blessed to have her!

I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it.  I am one proud mama :).

Getting to know me: We are having a baby! – Part 1

We found out that we were pregnant last May right before Memorial Day.  Chris was at work when I found out, so it was a very long few hours waiting for him to get home.  This was certaintly not news to share over the phone :).  It was an amazing day and we were thrilled beyond belief.

At 8 weeks I went for the first sonogram.  Since I couldn’t see her (no baby bump) or feel her at this point, it was such a relief to see that she was there and to see her little heartbeat on the screen.

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At my 12 week appointment, we heard the heartbeat for the first time.  I could not help but tear up when I heard how strong and fast it was and I was so amazed that I was growing a baby inside of me!

This picture was at 13 weeks and was taken on our family beach vacation.  At that time I thought that I was REALLY showing and I couldn’t stand when people said, “you don’t even look pregnant.”  Looking back on it, they were right!  Chris is laying on the bed in the background and I’m sure he was annoyed at how long I was taking to get ready to go out for dinner ;-).

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17 1/2 weeks.  This was the first of several pictures I took in the bathroom at work.  People joked about taking pictures in the mirror, but I thought everybody did this?  Am I wrong???  I was wearing spandex on this day and decided that there was no need to wear any other type of pants…ever again.

21 weeks.  I have to point out that the I am wearing the spandex again…and in the bathroom again.

23 weeks.  Ok, so this is another bathroom picture but at least it as at home.  Oh look at that, the spandex again!  I really did not wear them everyday but I guess they became my picture taking pants.  I took this as we were leaving for a beach weekend to celebrate Chris’ 30th birthday.

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Here is a picture from that weekend.  We watched the Oriole’s who were on their way to the playoffs!  I apologize for even posting this…it is really a terrible picture.

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34 weeks.  Even though it looks like the famous spandex again, I was actually being stylish and wearing my Heidi Klum maternity skinny jeans.  Chris and I were headed to our holiday dinner with our friends Matt and Kirstyn.  I wish I had a picture of what they wore to dinner…Kirstyn was in an ugly Christmas vest that she decorated herself and Matt was in one of his mom’s tunic length ugly Christmas sweaters.

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35 week.  This picture was taken on Christmas Eve.  We had family dinner at our house and I completely forgot to get a picture of me and Chris together.  Therefore, I had Chris take my picture in front of our tiny tree.

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37 weeks (4 days before delivery).  I actually had my coworker Kelly take this picture.  I admit that I did take the bathroom shot before asking her to take this one.  This dress is not a maternity dress but I thought it worked perfectly…over spandex.  I absolutely did not think I would give birth within a few days of this!

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Stay tuned for Part 2, the birth story!

Getting to know me: Our Wedding!

Chris and I met in April 2006 while working at Damon’s Grill.  After dating for two years, Chris popped the question while we were on vacation in Cozumel, Mexico in April 2008.  While we entertained the idea of a local wedding, we decided that a destination wedding was the right choice for us.  Since we both love Vegas and we had vacationed there many times, it was an easy decision.  On May 10, 2009, we were married in the chapel of the Mandalay Bay Hotel.

Before the ceremony!

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Bridesmaids!

Pictures outside!

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The cake!

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Dinner at Rum Jungle!

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Drinks at Mixx on the roof of Mandalay Bay!

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