Friday, October 19, 2012

A Journey To Wellness. // Tifanni W.

Recently Mama wrote about “Why” she was overweight. This started me thinking. I knew exactly why I had been overweight. I had been battling it all my life. I didn’t need to bust myself to the point of breaking in order to figure it out. I’ve always knew. Like any good therapist will tell you, “It started in my childhood."

My mother is anorexic, yes, five feet eight inches, just like me, 85 pounds of starved frame… anorexia. I’ve helplessly watched my mother starve herself and become angrier throughout my entire life. My parents divorced when I was an infant, and my mother, bothered by my chubby baby frame, promptly put me on a diet. My father happily filled me up with candy and pop every time I was over to visit, just to aggravate my mother. And, that was where my food issues began. It didn’t take long to learn to love to overeat on sweets.

As my parents remarried, I became the target of physical and emotional abuse at my mother’s house. I was constantly bullied at school, about my size, my glasses, my crazy dysfunctional family. We lived in a teeny, tiny town. There were no secrets. And to top off my fabulous childhood, we attended a cult, like abusive church. And so, church, which should have been a refuge for me, was just as another dark cloud in my life. Despite all of this, I had two amazing grandparents, who acted as parents to me, when no one else would. They loved me, encouraged me, and gave me hope.

I had little control over much of anything in my life, including what I ate, and I became more and more overweight as I continued to junior high. I easily believed all the people who told me I was fat and worthless. As I became more and more self conscious of my size, I began many unhealthy eating habits including purging through vomiting or laxatives, binging, skipping meals at school which would lead me to pass out from low blood sugar, and excessive exercising. I even tried eating soap once because I learned in science that bases cut through fat, and in my nerdy junior high self, I actually thought this could have been my breakthrough.

In college, when I finally had control over my own eating, I lost weight, and for the first time I was thin, really, really thin. When I married my fabulous and amazing husband, I was 130 pounds, and I still thought I was fat. I was not healthy. I severely limited myself to what I would eat.

Then as the babies and the stresses of life continued, the weight slowly came back on again over the last 11 years. As my daughter got older, and I was forced to answer all of her questions about my mother’s unhealthy example, I became determined to not follow that pattern anymore. We preached moderation, walked daily, but I was still 20 pounds overweight. Most of that weight had come on during several miscarriages, and a horrendous two year international adoption. Apparently, you can eat with moderation, but if you don’t do the same with Blue Moons, you will still be fat.

So this summer, I decided to lose this weight for good. I was tired of feeling like all of my shirts were gripping my fat rolls or stinking tents. I was tired of feeling huge as everyone stared at my family when we’re out in public. We are a multi-racial family in Whitesville. No more, upping the exercise and then quitting. No more, backing off of the treats for a day or do, and becoming discouraged and stopping. I started out with a good pair of shoes, if I have learned anything from fighting the fat battle my whole life, it is, “don’t start running in crappy shoes.” I started out walking, then running, then running farther and faster. I only let myself have a Blue Moon on Saturday or Sunday. I quit eating a cookie every day after lunch. I realized that I don’t really need seconds. I was satisfied with first. And I have done it, I have lost 22 pounds. I am now 163 pounds. My BMI is in the healthy range for the first time in 6 years. I’m hoping to lose about 15 or 20 pounds more, but for the first time ever. I love my body.

I ran seven miles for the first time last Saturday. I thought about my journey out of the abusive cloud of my past. I’ve made peace with my family, my faith and food. I know that food is a gift meant to be enjoyed, but we shouldn’t use food as a way to punish our bodies. Food is fuel and life. I realized that our pasts and our present are so intertwined and just as becoming physically healthy is a journey, so is becoming spiritually and emotionally healthy, and one can not be done without the other.

So I encourage you, that may be reading this and can relate. Yes, your past happened, and many times it sucked, but it does not define you. You are worth it. You are amazing. You are a survivor. Don’t use poor lifestyle choices as a way to comfort you through your pain. Your past does not have control of your life any more. It is a sometimes a slow crawl out of your pain, but you can do this. Wholeness is a journey, but it is accomplished one small change at a time. You will get there.

- Tifanni

For more of Tifanni's journey check out her personal blog at Mountains to Mountains. 

5 comments:

  1. Congratulations, Tifanni! So much of what you've said here sounds like my journey. Thanks for sharing your victorious story and inspiring me this morning!

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  2. You look great!!! Thank you for sharing.

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  3. I am sitting here in tears!! What a transformation for you-mind, body and spirit! Thanks for sharinf, and congrats on your "new life"

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  4. That is awesome. Thank you for sharing.

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  5. Incredible story! Thanks for the inspirational words!! You look amazing.

    P.S. I've learned the hard way with Blue Moons too. :)

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