Thursday, December 29, 2011

My Story! (part 1)

I have had a few people ask me to write more on here.  REALLY???!!!  I find that amazing.  Last night my husband asked me for a favor.  "What???"  I'm always rather suspicious.  "Wendy, I need more Running with Scissors."  "Seriously?"  Well, I have to say I've had this particular story running through my head for quite some time now.  It's actually the whole reason I started this blog in the first place. But I'm a bit nervous to tell this story.  However, I'm asked about it often.  In fact, just the other evening I was at a holiday party and was visiting with a beloved long time friend and a brand new acquaintance.  Some how the topic of diet and weight loss came up and I said I had lost over 50 pounds in the past year and a half.  Its been quite a while since I've seen someone drop their jaw when I say that.  I've forgotten how much I enjoy that.   This acquaintance had to turn to my long time friend and ask if I was being truthful.  She said she couldn't even imagine me 50+ pounds heavier.   I think that's pretty fun! So here goes--here's my story. 

Ewes Not Fat, Ewes Fluffy

Do you all remember that refrigerator pin?  I sure do.  For those who don't, there's a fluffy ewe or lamb standing above the saying.  But let's not sugar coat this please. I'm sure I've applied far too much sugar in the past.  I was FAT.  Nope...not fat...OBESE!!  Yes this is true.  I wasn't Pleasingly Plump nor was a Perfect Just the Way I Was.  I was obese and in serious health trouble.  I have photos to prove it!

These photos were taken in Feb 2010 while on vacation in Utah.  Aren't these totally unflattering?  I keep wondering why the woman who took this one of Jack and me put me in front???  What was she thinking????  However, today I'm glad for it.  Those are size 24 pants people!  I wear size 12 today!!!  And I'm not done yet.  By the way, I included these unflattering photos of me because they were taken just before my transformation.

But, on with my story.  How does someone start out as a skinny ballerina (I'll have to go digging for a photo to prove that) and turn into Humpty Dumpty?   Well, as with many people, it starts with genetics and also with a Dad who wanted a junk food devouring pal.  That would be me!  I have this early very fond memory of the day Dad introduced me to one of his favorite treats,  a Root Beer Float!  I even remember what brand of root beer my dad said was the very best and exactly where I was standing when he shared with me his excitement over this deliciousness.  I had to have been either 4 or 5 years old.  So, let's just say if I wasn't born with it, I was carefully trained and coached to have a sweet tooth. 

I've spent quite a bit of time recently trying to map out the WHYS of my obesity.  I had probably been obese for 18 years at the time of these photos.  I gained 80+ pounds during my last pregnancy and never really lost it.  That number on the scale went down a few times only to go back up again.  I'm pretty sure I'm the heaviest ever in these photos.  I obviously self medicated with food.  Not just any food, mind you.  I was quite selective.  It had to either be chocolate or pizza or cake or ice cream or chocolate or cheese cake or hamburgers or anything with cheese or chocolate or cookies or soda pop or french fries or chocolate covered raisins or cinnamon rolls get the drift.  If life got the least bit stressful or difficult and it most certainly did, I turned to one of my many flavorful best friends.  Some times I turned to 2 or 3 of them in one sitting.  So I self medicated all my blues away.  And I obviously self medicated often.

When my dad turned 50 he married my step mother and found out he had full blown insulin dependent diabetes.  He died 12 years later from a heart attack which was a complication brought on by his mismanaged diabetes.    When I got his death certificate, I was also mailed my dad's father's and his father's death certificate and they all died from the same thing!  Wow!  It runs in the family.  Is this something I get to pass on to my sons?

In 2006, I was diagnosed with borderline or pre-diabetes.  Well, that's fun.  I got scared and went on the current "lose it fast" fad diet.  I lost a bit of weight and later, when stress came along and the fad diet failed me, I gained it all back and more.  I've been there and done that too many times to count. 

I have one other thing I feel a need to share.  In 2003, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and came to live with us.  I thought this would be a warm and fuzzy thing but it most certainly was not.  My youngest was about 12 at the time so I was still raising and home schooling my 3 youngest boys.  Its very difficult to watch a loved one deteriorate like that.  Alzheimer's has been described as the disease that kills your loved ones twice.  I have to agree.  There is a death when they stop knowing who you are and another when they finally leave this frail existence.  I was warned by professionals that my mother's Alzheimer's could suck me into a dark hole.  And it did.  I don't really want to dwell on this subject because its very dark, difficult and very sad.  But I do want to share that I self medicated myself a LOT during the nearly 5 years I cared for my mom.  Somewhere along that road I got it into my mind that I didn't want to put my children through this again when I was aged.  I had decided that I was doing my boys a favor by indulging my sweet tooth and leaving this earth as my dad did with candy and cookie wrappers strewn around the house.  Besides, they were growing up and very clearly didn't need me any more.  I was starting to deal with the empty nest syndrome and after spending the better part of my adult life as a Stay At Home Home Schooling Mom, I no longer had any real purpose to my life.  I had no mission and no real reason to stick around.

I recall one evening having a pain in my chest and wondering whether to wake up my husband or to allow the heart attack I thought I was having to take me.  I did NOT wake up my husband and I told God I was ready.  It was obviously not a heart attack but probably gas from all the junk I ate that day. 

I mention this dark place because maybe someone reading this might be feeling somewhat the same way.   I want you to know that I understand that dark place.  I've been there.  I lived in it and probably wallowed in it for years.  I had let my mother's Alzheimer's get to me.  The thought of going like that and putting my boys through that all over again was destroying me and my will to live.

Today, I want to tell you all that the dark place is a lie!!!!  It was that cartoon devil sitting on my shoulder whispering all those dark lies in my ear.  I never should have listened to him but I did.  When I share the next part of My Story, you will find out about the event happened to totally transform me.  There's nothing quite like facing your own mortality to realize you want to keep living.   Frankly, there are a LOT of reasons to keep living, a new mission in my life and (by the way) my boys still need me.  In fact, its not exactly that they need me so much as they WANT me around, involved their lives and in the lives of their children.   There is a wonderful and exciting life after 50.  Chocolate, cinnamon rolls and pizza are actually NOT my best friends!  Being healthy brings a wonderful GREAT feeling with it!  Its AMAZING!

Now go read one of my other (and certainly more upbeat) posts while I gather my thoughts to continue on with what happened to change everything and give me a second chance at life!  How about reading "Enjoy the Journey" because I gotta tell you, its all about the journey and we might as well enjoy it!  Or "Let's Hear It For SKIN!"  Our bodies are so remarkable!  By the way, I have less skin now than I did when I wrote that.  COOL! 


  1. You are amazing Wendy, and so inspiring! LOVE YOU!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing your story sweetie!!!

  3. Oh, I am in tears right now reading this, Wendy. What a moving post, and I can't wait to read part 2. Thank you for sharing your story, and it's such an enjoyable read--you are an awesome writer!

    I so need some motivation and inspiration to get my weight-loss journey back under control. I've been eating everything not nailed down. :(


  4. Thanks for sharing your life story Wendy, it must be an inspiration to others who feel like you did in those dark days, take care, Doreen x