Hey there everyone! Since I started this blog almost five years ago now (dear God…) I figured a brief recap would be in order. You know, on the off chance that anyone could possibly have started following the ‘Gurts more recently than April of 2012.
So here’s the deal:
As a little nugget, I was a pretty big nugget. I didn’t love being over-weight and I didn’t know how to eat healthy. My Freshman year of high school, I looked like this:
(This may have been a spirit week…it also may have just been any given Tuesday)
I decided it was time for a change, and talked to my parents about going on Jenny Craig the summer before Sophomore year. They agreed, and did it with me for that year. I didn’t mind the frozen food and I liked the structure. When the weight-loss stopped, I added exercise into the mix.
Flash-forward to the summer after Sophomore year, my first time being off Jenny Craig since I had started losing weight. I was a little paranoid since I was going to England for a month and a half and would have all new foods and restaurants to contend with. I was careful, and it worked out; I came home having dropped another ten pounds and having found a comfortable weight. I spent junior year eating healthy (a bit…super over-obsessively, I’ll admit) and learning about nutrition until one night during spring break I woke up in the middle of the night and started writing My ‘Gurts.* I wanted to tell people about nutrition info that I found interesting in a way that (hopefully) wouldn’t bore them to tears. And that was good for a while, while this Dana was still running things:
Things started getting rocky Senior year. Though I didn’t understand it at the time, depression was creeping up on me and I was starting to binge eat again. For anyone who doesn’t know, binge eating is not the same as overeating. Feeling like you ate too much happens to the best of us now and then. Binge eating is different. It has nothing to do with what you’re eating (which generally starts as one thing and expands throughout the kitchen). It is a compulsion to eat (and be sneaky about it) that doesn’t go away when you are full. It also doesn’t go away once you start to feel nauseous, or once your body is physically hurting. I have been through it and I still can’t understand it. But it’s awful. When senior year ended it got worse than ever. I struggled to leave my house, never wanted to go to bed (even though I wished I could just sleep until the bingeing passed), and spent everyday hoping that this was it, this was the last time and tomorrow would be better. I was in pretty rough shape by the time I was packing up for college, but I was optimistic that things would be different. A change, that was what I needed. Below are two pictures. The first is me on Christmas Eve of my Senior year of high school. The second is me getting ready to leave for college. The third is me in my Freshman dorm.^
Christmas of Senior year
Leaving for college
I liked college. I liked my classes…but nothing really changed. I seldom left my room and, despite my best efforts to be healthy, I was still binge eating, and frequently. It wasn’t until then, when I was in college (which I had been looking forward to for AGES) that I recognized that I was depressed. Though I hated it, I realized that it might be smart to keep writing the blog. Instead of nutrition info, it would be a blog about binge eating and weight-loss. It would be a weight-loss story that a person could follow along with, so that it didn’t seem like someone just got skinny one day and made the rest up. I included the challenges and slip ups, because all of the blogs I had read always made it sound so damn easy. Like, “I decided to get into shape and now I run ten miles a day!” Umm…I feel like some steps were skipped there…
Meanwhile, I was putting in a frustrating amount of work on my end to get connected to someone who could help me with everything I was going through. I finally found a (thoroughly careless and mediocre) doctor and started taking medicine. Once I got to a high enough dosage, the binge eating went away completely. The depression, on the other hand, did not. Still, just being able to control my eating again was such a relief, it wasn’t until winter of my second year of college that I realized things were starting to spiral beyond my control. It was getting harder and harder to go to my classes, or really make myself do much of anything. I took a quarter off (easily the hardest decision I’ve made in college – I was so scared and embarrassed**), and frequently met with my new (not-mediocre) doctor to find the right dosages of various medicines to treat my depression. Meanwhile, I was losing weight, largely just by not binge eating. I finally got to the right dose of medicine, and genuinely started to feel like myself again.
I went to Florida with my parents, feeling better than ever since I felt like me, and I had lost a fair amount of weight. (About thirty pounds just sort of fell off once I stopped binge eating. I was depressed and honestly don’t remember it terribly well, but it really just speaks to how much extra weight I forced on myself by the perpetual bingeing. That, and it may have been a sign that there was something physically off.)
I’m the not-green one. Like, 97% sure
I wasn’t terribly concerned with eating healthy during my week in Florida, so it was a bit of a shock to come home to discover I had lost another five pounds. Don’t get me wrong, I was pleased, but I also knew enough about nutrition to know that that would have been fast even if I had been eating healthy all week…and I hadn’t been. I went to see a doctor, who explained that my recent, rapid weight loss was due in part to the fact that my body wasn’t absorbing nutrients. (Don’t get me wrong, I was working at losing weight, but it was happening faster than it ever had before.) A couple of blood tests revealed that I had Celiac’s and was allergic to gluten. Within a week of quitting all things delicious, my body was back to functioning correctly, and my mood was better than ever.***
Even with the quarter off, I managed to get caught up with my classes, and decided to finish college early. Believe it or not, it had been pretty exhausting thus far and I was ready for the next chapter. I officially finished school on Thursday. 🙂
Which brings us to now. I have lost 75 pounds since things were at their worst, and now I have a holiday break to look forward to, followed by…we’ll see when we get there I guess. But I’ll be here too. If you ever want advice, or the ear of someone who has been there, or just want to read about someone else’s life for kicks.
Me and my Freshman roommate, Lindsey, the day we moved in, and the week I finished college.
*Like give us this day our daily bread…but with yogurt…well I thought it was funny. Still do.
^You can probably tell I have cropped a LOT of people out of these photos. That is largely because I don’t like using other people’s photos without permission, and I am lazy.
**It may sound stupid or crazy, but having depression was humiliating for me. It was debilitating and changed my entire personality, but there was nothing visibly wrong with me. I had always known about mental illnesses and was perfectly willing to accept them…in other people. Having to take time off of school felt like a huge failure on my part. I was sure that I would fall behind, wouldn’t graduate with my friends, etc. And a part of me worried that, if I left, I wouldn’t be able to make myself go back.
***Now let me be clear, quitting gluten improves your health and mood if you are allergic to it. If you don’t have an allergy there is no health benefit to cutting out gluten. Many people who see improvement are seeing the results of cutting down on processed foods. So if you just buy all the same junk food, gluten-free, the only benefit is the extra cost and inconvenience to others.
Bonus Image: Me as Jack Black, because it is a classic. Growing out a pixie is hard, okay!?