Living Life Beyond my Wildest Dreams

By the time I turned 12, I weighed 175 pounds and was 5’7.  While growing up, my sister hated me for eating her cereal and goodies all of the time, and I had such shame over it all.  I couldn’t ride a bike or climb trees like the other neighborhood kids, and I was always getting bruises, broken bones, or stitches from being so fat and clumsy. In my senior year of high school, I hit my current height of 5’10 ½” and weighed 240 pounds. I was miserable and hated myself.

Worse yet, in high school, guys and girls would holler out, `Moo! Oink, oink! Fat ass! Or hungry, hungry hippo!’ as I walked by. And, I was never asked out on a date – no way.

In the end, my whole life revolved around food, especially sweets. I always had the insatiable desire for more. If I were at work, by 2 p.m., I’d be thinking about all the different places that I would go to pick up my binge foods. Baked goods such as donuts and cookies were my biggest downfall. It didn’t matter to me if I had money in my bank account or not; I’d just use my credit cards. I’d stop at various fast food places and grocery stores and try to hit ones I hadn’t gone to that day. I’d come home with boxes and bags of candy bars, peanut butter pies, pasta, crackers, and chips. Then, I’d close all the blinds, pull the phone out of the wall, ritualistically put out all the foods, open them, turn on the TV,  and eat until I passed out. I put on 200 pounds in two years and got up to 370 pounds. I was a size 32 and had to order all my clothes from catalogs. My life was falling apart.

For about 10 years, I lost the same 80 pounds about six or seven times while in another 12 step program. I tried Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, grapefruit diet, extreme exercise and other programs. Finally, I couldn’t seem to last one day on a diet.  The program I was in did not recommend a food plan.

I couldn’t walk long distances; I became short of breath at the slightest exertions; I couldn’t climb up flights of stairs without wheezing heavily; my ankles, legs and feet were always swollen; I had horrible back pain and achy joints; I woke up in night sweats; I had constant indigestion; and I was always tired. I was severely depressed, I totally isolated myself from the human race, and I barely made it to work. All this at age 30!  I tell you: I was totally insane at this point.  If I didn’t take my own life, a heart attack was right around the corner anyway.

Finally, on August 20, 2000, after my best friend suggested checking out the book, Food Addiction: The Body Knows by Kay Sheppard, I surrendered to the fact that I’m a food addict. I began attending RFA – Recovery from Food Addiction meetings (which suggest Kay’s plan as the food plan).  So, I stopped eating sugar, flour, wheat, caffeine, cheese, alcohol and other foods Kay suggests to eliminate. The first week I could hardly get out of bed. I felt lethargic, overly emotional and anxious. Disgusting smells were coming out of my body because I was detoxing. But, after one week, I had NO sugar cravings, and I have not had one since. It just brings tears to my eyes. You can sit in front of me now with a plate of brownies, and I don’t crave one. I have the mental defense now.

Before recovery, I was on one anti-depressant medication after another. Within a couple of weeks of changing my eating, my depression stopped.

I’m now living a life beyond my wildest dreams. I just never knew it could be this good. My body functions like a well-oiled machine. The twelve steps help me with my diseased, addictive thinking.  I feel free. I can fit in airplane, roller coaster and movie theater seats. I’m happily married to a wonderful man, and our communication has improved by 100 percent. I’m in a job that I love, where I stand up and teach computer software for a living. I sing in a Praise & Worship band in front of people; I’m active in church; I have dear friends; I moderately exercise; and I see my family often. I have a relationship with God, which I didn’t have before – the addictive foods blocked my spiritual connection and the 12 steps brought me back to Him.

I was told years ago that I was infertile by specialists.  Yet, in Jan of 2007, I delivered a healthy baby girl and in March of 2009 I delivered my second healthy baby girl.  Both pregnancies had no complications despite being aged 37 and 39 respectively.  I only gained about 25 lbs. with both pregnancies and that came off within one month of their births.  I’m convinced that I have 2 children because of abstinence; there is no doubt in my mind.  They are so healthy!

I have self confidence, which keeps getting better. My life is so full now that I don’t even have time to watch TV, which is where I did all of my binging.  My mental peace and serenity is the greatest gift. I’ve been abstinent for over 10 years and I’m also maintaining my 200-pound weight loss by the grace of God. I’ve gone from a size 32 to a size 10/12. Freedom from food addiction is miraculous!  Thank you RFA - Thank you for spreading the message of hope.

Stephanie Z.