I was a chunky kid who was not very athletic and not very coordinated. People said I had a cute face, you know what that means! On my dad’s side, we had an aunt and uncle who each probably weighed five hundred pounds. Their daughter soon tipped the scale in the same manner and another cousin was about four hundred pounds. The family motto seemed to be “food is love” and if you didn’t eat what they offered, they took it personally. They were fun and jovial people. We lived near them so we had many meals together or were told to come over and get some pie, cake, homemade rugelach or some serious chicken soup. It was a constant food fest.
My mom’s family was smaller and lighter. There was great food on that side as well, but more formal in its nature and certainly not pushed at us. My grandmother was a wonderful cook and I remember many of her dishes and make them now myself.
In high school, my mom sensed I was unhappy and brought me to a friend of hers who was a diet doctor. She was heavy and struggled with her weight, making her words believable. I lost twelve or so pounds and felt like my life changed. She had me exercise every day for 15 or 20 minutes and follow some basic eating rules; the three meal a day, snack on a piece of fruit type diet and it worked! I was a mother’s helper at the beach that summer, fell in love for the first time, and all was just fine.
I went off to college and the “freshman 15” was inevitable. All-you-can-eat in the dorm cafeteria, followed by a tasty late night pizza since the food in the dining room was not so great. I would try the three main courses but never felt satisfied. That pizza saved my life day after day. The snack bar at the dorm next door was also a great respite from studying and the soft ice cream was a real hit.
In my senior year, I began to fast and after consuming only water for three days I felt the most clear-headed I had ever been. My eating desires began to rapidly change after that. I was healthy and strong and had stopped eating meat and chicken right after I graduated from college. I was uneducated about the need for good protein and the relationship of carbs/sugar and empty calories. Weight Watchers helped me over the next few years to lose the weight I would gain, up and down thirty pounds at a time with no real plan.
It wasn’t until I was told I was prediabetic after I received chemo for breast cancer that I got serious about my weight and that part of my health. I now had a choice to make which was really no choice at all. I was going to do whatever it took to stop that train. I realized that what I ate which was healthy was all wrong. I ate a ton of carbs; the “thin” sandwich bread, ketchup, balsamic vinegar which contained added sugar, diet drinks, measured portions of white pasta, way too much cheese and not enough protein.
One day, in a doctor’s office, I saw a brochure about a new diet and attended a talk he gave about it. I went so that I could be up on the latest to share with my clients, but ended up signing up myself. It was all about protein and vegetables. Boom. I lost forty-five pounds over four months. With a few tweaks, I began to get on board with a new science of food balancing. I didn’t need to count points, I needed to keep the protein and veggies, add some healthy carbs and dairy and learn what to combine and when it was best.
These last nine years have proven to me that diets don’t work. What works is discipline, knowledge, commitment and self-awareness. Am I really hungry or am I really thirsty? Am I eating because I’m upset or am I nourishing myself with this food? I am active because I love it. I eat good food because there is nothing better.
If you struggle with your weight, please ask yourself, is that food more important than your health? A wonderful piece of cake once in a while is great, but there are no daily rewards that really matter. Create your vision and make that your destiny. Health comes first, the reward is your joy that you can be in charge.
Sharon Sklar is in her 40th year of private practice as a Certified Advanced Rolfer. State licensed and the only Rolfer in Central CT, Sharon works with direct manipulation of the soft tissue of the body and movement re-education over a ten-session series to help her clients feel freer, get more balanced and reduce chronic pain. Great for athletes, children and adults recovering from stress, injuries and the traumas of life. Call 860.561.4337 for more info or to schedule a consultation.