Jill’s Weight Loss Adventure
Our adventure in life begins long before we are able to consciously decide what we will choose to take with us and what we will choose to release. Our childhoods are the beginning of the definition of who we are and who we are going to be. Our family position also has much to do with how we perceive life. I happen to be the youngest of six in a family that also included many foster children. And my adventure began.
I am also the only one that looks like my dad’s side of the family. The Davis side was the “heavy” side. My father’s sister was both beautiful and morbidly obese. During my childhood everyone commented on how much I looked just like her and we did have many features in common. However, as a child, I was unable to connect to her beauty, but instead I connected to her weight. As long as I can remember I felt a little bigger than everyone else, even though I wasn’t. The thought that I was fat was deeply imprinted in my soul.
Somehow I went from being a little girl, growing up in the foothills of Colorado, playing, swimming in the creek, climbing trees, climbing mountains; I went from being a normal little girl to a woman who weighed over 255 pounds.
There are so many reasons why we carry extra weight; medical reasons, emotional reasons, trauma based response, and more. I started struggling with my weight when I hit adolescence for two significant reasons.
Around 5th grade, I did this crazy thing and I got really, really big and tall. I went from five foot tall to five foot four, in three months! I went from 85 pounds to 105 pounds in four months. Although I wasn’t really that big, it happened so fast my mom began to worry about me.
My beautiful mother, who loved me so much, was a true 60’s/70’s mom. She was born in 1925 and she grew up with the concept that thin women are happier, and more importantly, thin women get married. So when she saw her precious little girl get so big so fast, she put me on a diet. I was one of those weight watching kids. I was put on a 770 calorie a day diet. We know now that 770 calories a day is not enough to subside on. It’s just not enough for a little girl who loved to run and play and dance to live on. In 1972 that was not common knowledge.
At the time our small elementary school had a wonderful cook that prepared all the students’ lunches in the school kitchen. It was not the mass food that is now served in schools. Not only was the food delicious, it was also nutritious and well balanced. I could smell and see the wonderful food, but because skinny was so important in my world, I began to starve myself. I was a “good girl” who followed the rules, it never occurred to me to ignore my mom’s wishes and eat the food at school.
I had now entered the world of women participating in the great famine of dieting. I maintained my weight through 10th grade by fighting down the desire to eat nutrition and by lots of working out. The summer between 9th and 10th grade was a difficult one with lots of personal and family transitions. I spent lots of time on my own that summer and learned to mask the pain I felt with food and sugar.
Over that summer I “ballooned” up to 140 pounds. My mother offered me a $200 shopping spree to lose the weight. My mother really did want the best for me and tried in the only way she knew how to motivate me to be skinny, which was her version of healthy. So back I went to a new kind of diet bars, “slender bars”, and diet coke. I starved my way back down to 120.
I kept my weight between 110 and 120 throughout high school. The actual number on the scale depended on how many diet pills I was taking and how obsessive I was about exercising. I actually made it all the way down to 95 for two weeks by not eating and taking diet pills three times a day.
After high school, I maintained 120 pounds until I got married. I weighed in at 118 on my wedding day. I was sure this was a good omen. Although the number on the scale was a good weight for me, I wasn’t healthy nor was I eating in a healthy manner. However, healthy didn’t exist in my world, only skinny.
After 24 years of marriage, 5 miscarriages, 4 babies, and a life of trying to pretend everything was good, I really did balloon.
It was slow, I started gaining weight six weeks after the wedding and I would go up a bit, then lose a little bit back down through self hatred and starvation. I continued to force my body into famine on a regular basis.
As the weight gain and self-loathing increased, my cycle of self- abuse continued. I consistently went on some major diet, lost most of the weight and would keep it off for at least 6 months, sometimes longer. No matter how old I was, if I lost the weight my mom rewarded me with shopping. My mother was intent on me being little. She saw me as more valuable, and happier, if I were skinny. Again, she wanted the best for me, but just didn’t really know how to provide what I really needed, which was self-acceptance and self-love. No one could provide that but me. Healthy had never been a part of my life, mentally or physically.
As I continued to hide the truth of the abuse in my marriage and deny the sexual abuse of my teen years, I always put the weight back on plus a little more. Eventually I gave up. I convinced myself that my obesity was due to genetics I didn’t have a chance against that. I told everyone I was fine with my size, I wore cute clothes, wore my makeup beautifully and always had my hair done. In truth none of this masked the pain inside, it was only an attempt to hide it to the outside world.
I finally quit checking the numbers the day I stepped on the scale and it said 255. I just couldn’t accept 255 pounds on my 5 foot, 4 inch frame. I quit weighing.
5 months later (and most likely at least 10 pounds heavier) my marriage finally imploded and within 3 months I was 180 pounds. In 6 months I was down to 160 pounds and a year later I was down to 155. I had lost a total of 100 pounds.
I felt good, I was dancing (my favorite form of exercise) and all was right with the world. I had achieved a version of skinny and knew that must mean I was happy.
Two years later, even though I KNEW I would never gain back the weight, I was back up to 180 pounds and climbing. I had fallen back into the place of not honoring what I wanted and needed. I had allowed someone else to fill the place of acceptance and love, rather than giving it to myself. I had to make some tough life decisions to head back to myself as I was created to be.
I took a look at my world and made the decision to take back my life. So much of my life had slipped away from me, AGAIN. A year later I had lost 40 pounds, and made the decision to confront the personal demons that drove me to filling up my emptiness with food. I did it. Each day is still an adventure in finding my authentic soul and heading into my authentic body.
My final weight is around 135. My total weight loss is at least 120 pounds but most likely closer to 130 pounds. I still have days where I would rather eat sugar than face what’s in front of me. I have developed tools that help to move me past that place and into self-acceptance love and peace. Tools that help my to have courage, clarity and confidence to take on life on life’s terms.
I am learning to love to move my body in many ways. I have adventured back into the great outdoors. I am now moving into true health and discovering my true authentic body, which is the home in which my authentic soul resides.
The most important part of the loss of weight is the reclaiming of my life. I chose to figure out what was inside me that kept me fat, the emotions that drove me to try to fill up with overeating, and to learn to stop eating my pain and emptiness. I continue to discover more and more about me every day.
I am excited to be able to guide you to finding the joy in your true soul size. Please contact me at jill@jilldaviscoaching or through my website www.jilldaviscoaching.com. I wish for you all the joy that comes with being YOU! Blessings on YOUR journey!