As I’m working through my issues of insecurities, inaccuracies and failure, I am realizing a lot of the feelings I feel are because of gaining the weight in the first place. Part of the reason I am struggling with not feeling good enough is because I am embarrassed about how big I got. I am mortified that I let myself gain so much weight, and I am humiliated that I can lose a large amount (50 lbs!) and still have so much further to go.
When I was 18, I was easily impressionable – as most teenagers are. People (especially guys) had never boosted my self-esteem, and I was really unhappy about the person I was. I met a wonderful guy, named Shane, who changed my life.Shane had pretty strong religious convictions and political views – regardless, he showed me the meaning of unconditional love. He believed in me, he believed I was “worth it” – he helped show value in me, total compassion, and unmatched kindness. He was my first “true love”, and I loved and respected him to the moon and back. He really changed my life.Shane was my boyfriend for part of high school and the first year and a half of college. He was a Marine, and had been actively deployed in the military. Before his deployment, we broke up (a mutual agreement because of the distance), but maintained close contact through letters, pictures, and the occasional phone call.
During my sophomore year of college, Shane’s humvee brigade was on patrol, ran over a landmine, and he lost his life. I was absolutely and completely devastated.
I cried for days.
I ate, and ate, and ate until I was numb.
Then I cried some more, and then I ate.
For weeks, I cried and ate myself into a deep, dark hole of depression. My friends and family were as supportive as they could be – what do you say to a young 20-year old woman whose life has been shattered?
I sought professional advice – to talk about my feelings and begin medication to help regulate my emotions. I was walking in a shell of the person I had once been. All the love, all the life had been drained out of me. I didn’t even know myself. I failed a few college classes, I lost friendships, and I lost myself.
In the two years following his death, I gained 50-75 lbs. Anytime I would think about Shane or his death, I would eat. I would immediately erase any feeling or emotion I had regarding his life or death. I ate myself sick – but I didn’t care. Being sick from food was a better feeling then being sick with grief.
As I neared my senior year of college, I finally found the courage to address his death and let it go. It was the most saddening and freeing experience – undoubtedly, it was a necessary experience. I no longer think of myself as “the girl who had the boyfriend who died”, but as “the girl who had the fortune to know someone who changed her life”. I am thankful to have known him, and I am grateful for the influence he had on my life.
Acknowledging the source of why I gained the weight will ultimately help me move past the negative feelings I have in my life. It’s shameful to admit “yes, I’ve lost 50 lbs” because that means I was atleast 50 pounds bigger than I am now. I used food for years as a way to cope with a horrible tragedy. And long after Shane is gone, I am still fighting the same feelings that he helped erase when he entered my life.I have since grieved and accepted Shane’s death many years ago, and am happy to say I am married to a wonderful man who provides me with even more support, compassion, kindness, and unconditional love! My weight is a constant reminder of avoiding my feelings for a very long time, and telling my story here is another way to continue to let it go.