I’m approached often… “Ginny!! You look amazing! What diet are you following? I’m struggling so bad and need to lose some weight. Do you have any tips?” My answer is almost always, “Honey, I don’t diet.” If you want to settle down a minute with a coffee (or glass of wine because – girl I need it some days, too) I’ll get deep down and dirty into what really happened and how I get through it day-to-day.
Let me tell you about my life. Despite my involvement in sports. Despite any constant activity I’ve done in my entire life, I was a chunkier kid. I’m not saying I didn’t have a love for food, but I didn’t eat any more than my sister or my friends. I didn’t binge. I was just heavier. I had a spare tire of a belly pretty much my entire life. I can definitely remember it from at least the age of nine on. I was always conscious of it. It was always in the back of my head. I would always, ALWAYS, compare myself to the other girls around me and wonder why I looked like that and they didn’t. In fact sometimes it would really bother me because Sally or Jennie or June were not active girls like I was. I couldn’t put together at the age of nine or ten… or even 11 and 12… why Ginny was the one with the belly sticking out and those girls could wear a bikini or anything else for that matter and look good (more on this later in another topic).
Diets didn’t happen in my house growing up and I am so so thankful for that. It wasn’t discussed or mentioned. You ate what you were served. I think had it been, I would have been much worse off. I remember around 13 the doctor mentioning that perhaps I had put on too much weight and I was aware that some food choices were swapped out at home for others, but again… no mention of diet. (Thank you, Mom. Big props to you). As I got older some of the weight dropped here and there. I grew taller, became even more active because I loved it not because I needed it, and even though I look back now in awe of how I was then I still am aware that I was still searching at 16 or 17 for that perfect body and that spare tire to be gone. I hated the idea of changing in the locker room. I was always hiding my body. I was always ashamed of it.
In college, as with most first year students who go away to school, the freshman 15 hit. Here is when (close your ears, kids. Earmuffs! Dirty word) DIETS began. Restricted eating. Guilt ridden days. Atkins, Nutri-system, no-carb diets, SlimFast… whatever was trending I was trying it. THAT RIGHT THERE. That is where my relationship with food hit a nosedive. It followed me until I was almost 34. Around 32 I started to learn more about eating right for my specific body based on my condition. I started a new plan but I still struggled with it. I still considered it a diet of sorts because my main goal was to lose weight. I was eating the right foods but it was super restrictive and I felt guilty as hell if I ate the cake for dessert. Friends would coax me to eat the pizza at a their party. “No, thanks. I’m good. I had my salad before I left.” Then unbeknownst to them I would go home and binge on whatever I had in the house. After the binge I would hate myself. The guilt of overeating would screw with me for days. I was starting to hate myself.
Now, I know you’re sitting here reading this saying, “Well, what the hell happened at 34?” I’ll tell you my secret. I decided that I was over the idea of dieting. Just. Like. That. I hated it. It didn’t do me any good. I may lose a few lbs here or there, but they came back eventually. Two pregnancies by then made sure of that fact. I resented the fact that I HAD TO diet. Why did I HAVE TO? Who was telling me that? I was. I was telling myself that whether I was a slim size 12 or a heavier size 16. I KNEW that a lower weight for me would “help” to control my PCOS but when did that stop? No one had a set number for me. Doctors sure as hell didn’t know. How could I? That was my realization. That’s when I finally said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. DIETING IS DONE. I’M GOING TO LEARN TO LIVE. Just like that I did.
My day-to-day life now consists of controlling my food. I look to eat a set amount of protein, simple carbs and fats. I keep my foods natural. I rarely shop the middle of the grocery store. I am true to portion sizes. I am not a slave to food. I don’t keep ice cream in the house. I keep a limited amount of cookies. My kids have a ton of healthy snack options, but I will buy them chips or candy on occasion. If I want ice cream I refuse to sub in low carb versions. Sure as shit we are driving to Cold Stone that night for an ice cream creation…. and I feel no guilt. I fit it in my macros when I can. If I can’t and I go over for a day or so, then so be it. I have come to terms with my weight and I’m not afraid to share it. On paper it looks like crap. On paper I am considered not even overweight, but OBESE. I struggled immensely with losing the baby weight I gain during my last pregnancy even with my doctor’s assistance. On paper… on the scale…. my number is a lovely round 235 lbs most days. I don’t think many people would look at me and guess that. Most people I tell think I’m telling a lie. It’s true – and IDGAF at all.
Not one bit. I don’t care if I’m a size 12 or 14 as long as my pants aren’t falling down. I actually laugh because I know better. I know how strong I’ve become. I see my muscle. I feel how solid my body has become. I refuse to be a number on a scale. This is my life now and I’m going to enjoy it. I will do my best to control my daily intake for my own health but I want a healthy relationship with my food and body, too. That, in itself, is super important to me. It keeps my mind straight and it sets a good example for my kids, too. I want them to have a healthy relationship with food. I want them to feel good about their bodies at any size. I will not use the term DIET with them. Ever. They will eat the ice cream or get the corn dog, but they will also enjoy the apple and sit with a container of yogurt. Balance is key. So you can take the word DIET and throw it out the window. It is NOT welcome here.