Brenda Sue’s Before and After Lost Weight
By the time that I was 4 years old, my mother was convinced that I was fat. She believed that I would grow into a morbidly obese adult. Although I was not fat as a child, weighing 40 pounds at age 4, my mother took me to the doctor to see if he could “do something”. He said that I would lose weight whenever I felt the need, that he couldn’t put a 4 year old child on a weight reduction program.
Years of diets followed. I lost and regained the weight many times. I left home at the age of 16 and I had probably been on at least a dozen different diets. The worst diet that I was on was the “Low Carb Diet”, which would now be called strict keto. I could only eat 20 grams of carbohydrates a day. By the third day my ears were ringing and I was in a stupor. I felt like I was dying. Since I was in school, struggling with my first Algebra class, that diet was devastating. I couldn’t think and had no energy. I was a straight A student and I made a D in Algebra that Fall. P.E. was horrible because I didn’t have the energy to do anything. Eventually I refused to dress out and sat on the bleachers the entire first 6 weeks of school. I got a D in P.E. too. My life was being destroyed by dieting.
After I left home and my eating was no longer being scrutinized by my mother, my weight started climbing. I went from being a normal sized teenager to being obese in about 6 months. I ate huge meals and rich desserts every day. All of the snacks and extra servings that I was not allowed to have growing up became an everyday occurrence. My weight spiraled totally out of control and I found myself a size 22 even though I lost weight at times.
The terrible irony here is my mother had done everything that she knew to help me lose weight. She paid joining fees and weekly membership fees for me to be in a well-known weight loss group. I had literally dieted for 12 years only to rebel against it all and balloon up to the person you see in the picture above on the left. You would think that in twelve years I would have learned something about weight control, especially after having lost weight more than once.
I learned to read by reading medical books. Ignorance was not my problem. I made good grades, especially in the sciences. Biology, Physiology and Anatomy were all easy for me. I am a health freak by nature but all of that knowledge did nothing to help me conquer the beast of obesity. The lost pounds would always return with a few extra.
One thing that all of the diets that I had been on had in common was they all allowed me to eat the foods that made me fat. Even on the strict keto, I could choose anything that I wanted for the few carbs that I was allowed to eat. Inevitably, that would be something containing added sugar. As long as I ate any added sugars, I wanted more added sugars. As soon as the rush of endorphins that I got from a small amount of sugar subsided, I was searching for more. Eventually, I would abandon any diet because the desire for more and more sweets became overwhelming. Any weight that I had lost would quickly return. When the amount of added sugars that I was eating overwhelmed my calorie or carb allowance for a day or so, I ditched the diet. The cycle repeated itself for so many years and I developed high blood pressure, depression and arthritis throughout my body.
At intervals during those dreadful years I would sometimes quit eating sugar. During those times, my weight would drop, my blood pressure would stabilize and I would escape the mind-numbing cloud of depression that had become my constant companion. Sooner or later however, I would succumb to the lure of a brownie, thinking that I had “learned how to eat” and the next thing that I knew I was drowning in cake frosting and ice cream again and the scale would skyrocket.
As members of a large weight loss group, David and I began to realize that the yo-yo dieting syndrome that was so common within that group was being fueled by sugar. Other members talked openly about their struggles with the scale week after week. Strangely enough, no one in the group advised avoiding sugar. The addictive nature of sugar has been studied extensively. In a 2007 paper, (1) in the Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews of the National Library of Medicine at the National Institute of Health the last line reads, “In the aggregate, this is evidence that sugar can be addictive.” You don’t have to read much else to discover the damaging effects that sugar has on our health. Since it can be addictive in nature and it is high in calories, as we eat more and more of this deadly white, crystalline powder, our weight and body fat continually increase. With increased body fat comes a multitude of problems ranging from arthritic knees to a predisposition to cancer. (2)
Before I began eating David’s Way, I was avoiding sugar most of the time. I knew that it was addictive and that it impacted the scale in a negative way. The problem was, I still ate it occasionally. This behavior kept me addicted to the white stuff and caused me to never truly reach my fitness goals. Although the scale would drop to an acceptable level at the top of the BMI chart, I struggled intensely to keep it there. It was not until I completely eliminated sugar from my diet that I found my inner athlete.
Since I began avoiding it at all costs, I have become a strength trainer and have conquered obstacles that I never dreamed that I could crush. This newfound strength pushed me to recreate my life from a miserable existence to a functional, self-supporting, healthy lifestyle. The addiction to sugar and the resultant bad health that was beginning to develop had destroyed my confidence. I lived in an abusive situation and felt powerless to extract myself. As my strength grew, I became highly confident and coined the phrase, “Create Your Life.” It’s hard to imagine that a love of any (non)food could so negatively impact anyone’s life but since I have lived that life, I can tell you, it did mine.
As my mind travelled farther into health and wellness, I completely changed every aspect of my life. People who have known me since birth are shocked at the person that I have become. Most people my age are retired and live vicariously through their children and grandchildren. That is not the case with me. My life is new every day. If I had not changed my diet, that would not be so. By now, I’m pretty sure that either the high blood pressure or the depression and anxiety would have finished me off. Not to mention that I would most likely be living with an abuser. Better nutrition and strength training gave me a new lease on life.
I changed the direction that I was heading just in the nick of time. The health problems that were increasing could be reversed at that time. There is a point where it becomes much more difficult to turn these things around. I encourage you today to examine yourself. While my path may not be the exact path for you, better nutrition is always the foundation for health, longevity, happiness and true success.
It’s All In Our Choices
The decision is yours. What will you do?
6 Comments Add yours
Great post! Sugar is for sure my enemy. You are right there is no such thing as having a little bit. When I cut it out of my life for good those were the times I felt my best and was healthy.
Thank you, Melinda! It’s good that you realize that!
Brenda. I always enjoy reading your articles and hearing your perspective. In addition to avoiding sugar I have to avoid Diet Pepsi and Coke. I feel like they are also addicting for me.
Thank you, Trish! I LOVE carbonation but I never drink carbonated drinks because they cause bloating. They do seem to have an addictive quality for me too but I think it’s because I just love the fizz! There’s some research that suggests that the CO2 can displace oxygen in the bloodstream. While it’s not supposed to be harmful, when I would drink a lot of them, I sometimes felt lethargic. I believe this is why. Thank you for reading and commenting!
I so enjoyed your articale. You are a super smart person and over came alot of odds. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, Carolyn! You’re a pretty smart cookie yourself. Thank you for being a part of David’s Way to Health and Fitness!