Over the past few years, I have become more and more intent on being healthy. In all aspects — mind, body, and spirit. It has been quite a journey that started out slow and has been gaining momentum.You see, I lost my mom in 2009, and she was only 68 years old. That’s too young in my opinion. Her issues all stemmed back to being overweight pretty much her entire life. Her father also died at68.
He too was overweight most of his life. I have two young children, and I am an older parent. It hit me one day – I can’t die at 68! When I’m 68, my children will be in their very early 20’s. I need to be here to see them graduate college, to get married, to have children of their own.Seeing my mom and grandfather be so overweight was always scary and frustrating for me as a child. I couldn’t understand why they didn’t just lose weight. Why they didn’t take better care of themselves. I was always afraid they would have a heart attack and die. Well, neither of them had that, but both dying at such a young age is directly related to their poor health. As an adult, I did learn that it’s not that easy to ”just lose weight.” They had their struggles, and I’m sure they wanted to feel better. But I did not understand that as a kid, and it led me down a path of always trying to be skinny. To me, skinny means healthy.
I didn’t want to be like my mom and not be able to sit in a booth at a restaurant because I wouldn’t fit. Or have to use the extension on the seat belt in an airplane. Or not be able to touse the tray in an airplane because it wouldn’t lower. Or barely be able to reach the pedals to drive because the seat had to be so far back to fit in with the steering wheel. Or not being able to play outside with my kid’s due to no energy and being in pain.Skinny was my key to not dealing with those things and so many other issues they encountered due to their size. To be skinny, I drank diet soda (started in middle school in my early teens), ate very little food and did a ton of sit-ups. Hitting 100 lbs. Was my worst nightmare and I worked hard to avoid that number as long as I could. I was 5’9” in middle school and was significantly underweight. No one said anything. Back then, no one talked about being healthy.
No one worried if you were too thin. I felt good when people would say, “you have always been so thin.” But I was definitely NOT healthy. I have fillings in my teeth where the enamel never formed. No cavities, but holes in my enamel that could have led to cavities. I had extremely low blood sugar and would pass out. Later in life, I was told my bones were “soft” and seemed to bend (not sure what that was about). Just really not healthy. I struggled with this throughout high school, into college, and in my early adulthood.
I would also yo-yo on my weight. I’d feel bad being so skinny and know I wasn’t healthy so I’d try to gain weight. Then I ‘d gain too much and be overweight and not feel good about myself, so I’d go back to old habits to lose weight. This would happen about every two years – be underweight by 10 to 15 lbs., get back to a healthy weight, go beyond that and gain an extra 20 to 30 lbs., lose that back to a healthy weight and then go lower and start all over again.Honestly, I just got a real handle on it when my daughter entered my life. That’s when it hit me – I need to be HEALTHY to be here for her, to see her grow up and all that she will accomplish! And then our son came into our lives and it is even more clear to me that I need to be healthy. I can’t die at 68!!!