The day my weight reached 116 kg I freaked out. This was around the same time, my “anger management” had become such an issue that I finally admitted that I needed help, and began to see a Psychologist.
I wasn't diagnosed as having an anger management issue nor post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), I was diagnosed with very little understanding of my Emotional Intelligence; especially lacking in empathy and the capacity to control myself when things were not within my control (e.g. my work emails went down on pay day)
You may wonder why I thought I had anger management issues or PTSD. In Part 1 I discussed being picked on in primary school (yes, being picked on for being "fat" is a form of bullying), but that was not my only life experience dealing with bullying. I have in fact been "victim" to some form of bullying four times in my life, all before my 21st birthday; primary school, high school, TAFE, and in my first job at a supermarket.
Sadly, by the time the last occurrence took place, at work, I was a changed person. My little sister also worked at the supermarket with me and I became known as "Elizsabeth's Angry Big Sister". Later, as more time went on, I was told in several performance reviews at work, and even by my sister, that I was "scary" and that people were frightened of me.
What happened to me? To this day I still consider the saying "What came first: the chicken or the egg"? So what did come first? Did I always have this Emotional Intelligence issue? Was I, therefore, the underlying cause of my weight issues and the bullying? Or was it the bullying that led to my weight and emotional intelligence issues? It makes me really sad to think that perhaps if I was not bullied in primary school, maybe this would never have happened. But then what lessons would I have learnt, and would I be the person I am today? I still have a lot of work to do with this to be really at peace with my past, with who I was and who I am today.
At 116 kg I was the heaviest I had ever been. I saw a dietician my psychologist recommended, who said my diet wasn't that bad, but I could do a little more exercise. Together they both told me that I had to make peace with food; I needed to stop the negativity surrounding food as that was also having a massive detrimental impact on me. The dietician gave me a book to read called “If not dieting, then what?” I decided I knew enough about what was “right and wrong”, what Low-GI was. I went back to shopping every weekend at South Melbourne Market and cooking things that I enjoyed. I managed to maintain my weight between 100 – 110kg.
This series of events inspired me to go to a Health Retreat, where I got back in touch with healthy food and lifestyle. I found a love for water aerobics/aqua jogging, an insight into Yoga (which honestly I still didn't “rate” much then), and was introduced to plant based/super food eating. I will discuss this later in another blog because these changes were not overnight phenomena - they took time and an active choice to implement**.
I knew I had a lot of postural problems, too, and with my constant neck pain I sought out a personal trainer who specialised in treating the problems, not just "Give me 20 lunges! Don't tell me hurts! Do them now!" I found Meeckie MacRae, the founder of KalanetiX Australia. With her, I made great progress with my posture and started to maximise the utility I could get from my wrists, neck, shoulders and back. I also learnt to really listen to my body and what it was telling me. If I couldn't do an exercise, Meeckie would find a suitable alternative that would still work the required muscle area.
I finally discovered Deep Water Running at MSAC was really popular and had a flexible timetable. So I tried to go two to three times a week. From a fitness point of view I was really enjoying this combination (Kalanetics and Aqua Jogging) and was able to keep it up. Goes to show, when you enjoy it you don't need will power. You do, however, need money. Money was also an emotional issue for me and I was concentrating and working three jobs to achieve my debt free goal.
Coming up to my 30th birthday, my Dad did the Cohen’s diet and lost an amazing amount of weight which completely changed his life. I was inspired and decided to give it a go. I did not enjoy it at all despite the massive 6 kg I lost in the first week. It was also really expensive and really restrictive. You had to weigh everything, and I mean everything, and your food list was so minimal I started getting run down. I had some blood tests and was diagnosed with my first vitamin D deficiency. So I gave up on Cohen’s just after my 30th. I finally decided to just make peace with food and enjoy it for the love of it.
In part 2 of this blog you've seen me arrive at my turning points. Sure, previous to this I'd dieted, been to the gym and personal trainers and had gastric lap band (Part 1), but I'd never admitted that I had a problem internally that needed to be tended to. Realising that you have a problem is the first step, without this you are lost.
In Part 3 I discuss further what changes in my life began to occur and what steps I took to finally concrete a life long journey.
** Look for a future blog on Yoga, super foods and plant based eating.