bulimia

Body Love Week: I Want My Daughters to Be Proud of Their Mom

This week on 110 Pounds, we’ll be discussing the important topic of Body Loving. Here is the second post to continue the positive body image week. Enjoy. -Lisa

I Want My Daughters to Be Proud of Their Mom

Guest Post by

Katie Squires

 

I’m running my first Marathon in May and in many ways I feel like I am heading into the last leg of an incredible journey, about to cross the finish line.  You see, I’ve lost 105 pounds in the last year and 9 months.  But that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.  I’ve been trying to find my way to a whole and healthy self for sometime, I spent much of my youth from the time I was 16 till 23 struggling with bulimia.  When I started to recover, I gained weight very quickly.  I went from a size 4 to a 22 in a matter of years.

Despite the weight gain I have to say that I was much happier, healthier and confident at my larger size.  Then my weight started to affect me physically, the bones in my feet hurt, my back hurt, I was so very tired and lethargic.  I also started to want more. I wanted to recognize myself again when I looked in the mirror. I had many false starts, but finally had my AHA moment when I joined the gym in May 2010.

Maybe it was the fact that I had an hour plus to myself, without my kids demanding my attention, time just for me.  But really, the click happened when I started to sweat and move and I discovered an athlete hiding in a fat girls’ body.  I amazed myself in those early months at just what I could do at 258 pounds!  I ran my first 5km race at 240 pounds in 33 minutes!  A year later I ran my first half marathon with my husband by my side, and it was one of the best days of my life!

Since that fateful day at the gym, my family’s lifestyle has changed.  My husband and I run together (we’ve done 6 races) and go to the gym together.  My children go to the gym with me every morning, and even though they are in the daycare they see that exercise is part of Mommy’s lifestyle.  They ask me every now and again why we are going to the gym and I tell them that its so that Mommy can be healthy, to have a healthy heart and lungs.  Sometimes I tell them its because it makes Mommy happy and I ask them if they like grumpy Mommy.

I’m lucky exercise comes easily to me; I love it, and am thoroughly addicted to it now.  I lost about 50 pounds in the first year through exercise and some changes to my diet (you tend to eat better when you feel better).  But the real weight loss happened once I stated strength training and eating a diet focused on whole foods.  It was hard for me to realize that I needed to make changes to the way that I ate, after so many years of disordered eating I was reluctant to say the least.  But I have found that I don’t have to diet, or restrict.  I tried to think of myself as an athlete and to think about putting the best fuel in my body.

I am trying very hard to teach my children to love healthy food.  We spend a lot of time in the kitchen together baking “healthy” versions of cookies, muffins and cakes.  I sneak all sorts of healthy stuff into their food and they now think muffins should look green.  They do not, however, like fish oil in their mac and cheese (long story).

Having struggled with an eating disorder, having known how hard it is to be overweight, I want so very much to set my girls up for the best possible life. 

I want them to see a healthy, fit confident Mother. 

I want them to grow up moving and playing with their parents. 

I want them to see me cross that finish line after 46km in May and be proud of their Mom. 

 

Lisa’s Note: Thank you so much, Katie, for sharing your inspiring story! I think your reason for staying fit and healthy for your daughters is a wonderful motivator. And the fact that they think muffins should be green just cracks me up! Check out Katie’s blog at So Write.

 

QUESTION: If you have kids, how are you trying to teach them how to be fit and healthy in a positive way?

Book Review: Unbearable Lightness

Disclaimer: If you suffer from an eating disorder this post might be a trigger. I include quotes from the book that might be disturbing to some people. I’m in no way qualified to comment on eating disorders or how to get help, so please see a professional who IS qualified! 🙂


Book Review: “Unbearable Lightness” by Portia de Rossi

In my research for writing my own memoir, I’ve been doing a lot of research on the genre. I’ve been reading non-fiction guides in addition to reading actual memoirs to get a feel for format and style. I heard that this book was really good but my first thought was “A book about a rich movie star complaining about her life? WAH!” I wasn’t really looking forward to reading it and intended on just skimming to study the format.

I read the first chapter and was immediately sucked in. I had no idea what the book was going to be about and I was blown away by the subject matter, her brutal honesty and the crisp, eloquent writing style.

Portia de Rossi started her career in Australia at 12 years old when she started modeling. This was also the beginning of her eating disorder. She taught herself how to binge and purge and spent most of her teen and early adult life as an anorexic/bulimic woman striving to weigh nothing. The self-hatred she describes in the beginning chapters are very familiar to me. I was never anorexic or bulimic but I definitely binged and I had a self-loathing opinion about my obese body. The negative self-talk she demonstrates in the book mirrored my own thoughts. The only difference? I actually WAS fat. Portia weighed about 120 pounds and was hardly fat.

“I need to factor in the calories burned. Yesterday I got out of bed and walked directly to the treadmill and ran at 7.0 for 60 minutes for a total of negative 600 calories. I ate 60 calories of oatmeal with Splenda and butter spray and black coffee with one vanilla flavored tablet. I didn’t eat anything at all at work. And at lunch I walked on the treadmill in my dressing room for the hour. Shit. I had only walked. [pg 4]”

She was working out to the point of having a deficit of calories every day and when it got to be too much, she’d binge. She describes going out to a Mexican restaurant with her brother and eating an appetizer, an entree, part of her brother’s food, a bucket of chips and salsa plus bottomless margaritas. Then on the way home, she stops at a gas station and gets nachos, a Snickers bar, Cheetos and a bunch of other junk food. She binges on it in the car and then purges.

“It’s 4:15am. It’s time for my morning workout. I have exactly one hour to run and do sit-ups and leg lifts before I get in the car to drive forty-five minutes to the set for my 6:00am makeup call…As I slip out of bed and do deep lunges across the floor to the bathroom, I promise myself to cut my calorie intake in half to 150 for the day and take twenty laxatives…But it’s not the weight gain from the six ounces of yogurt that worries me. It’s the loss of self-control. [pg 7]”


It’s disturbing to see the sickness she describes in such honesty. The disorder grew worse when she joined the cast of Ally McBeal. I was a big fan of Ally McBeal and I remember when “Nelle” joined the cast. As a teen I remember being blown away by her ice-queen beauty. She was absolutely gorgeous, with what I thought was the perfect body. Who knew she was living a secret hell in real life.

She saw a nutritionist in LA to lose weight. The nutritionist instructed her to eat 1400 calories a day and gave her a food list. She ignored it and ate 1,000 calories or less. She had two food journals: the real one and the fake one she showed the nutritionist.

“I decided that because  I hadn’t eaten for many hours and my calorie count was fairly low that day, I would allow myself to have a piece of Extra chewing gum. I always allowed myself to have the gum, but at 5 calories a stick, I had to add it to my daily calorie allowance because it was these kinds of unrecorded calories that could build up and cause you to gain weight. [pg 175]”

She then goes on to describe stuffing the gum two sticks at a time into her mouth, chewing neurotically and then spitting them out and stuffing more into her mouth. She panics and realizes she just consumed “60 calories.” She says: “If I waited too long to finish burning off the calories consumed by chewing the gum, the calories might turn into fat. [pg 178]”

“At 82 pounds, the veins on my arms looked like thick strands of rope attaching my hands to my forearms and my elbows. The unsightliness of it forced me to put ice on my wrists to try and make them disappear. [pg 244]”

That quote made me think of Madonna and I wonder if she has an eating disorder? Portia eventually got down to 82 pounds and collapsed on the set of a movie. “I am tumbling now. I have fallen off my axis. I’m spinning into the blackness. The spinning suddenly stops. I have escaped. [pg 259]” The part in the book where she finally collapses brought tears to my eyes.


Heartbreaking. She weighed less than 100 pounds. She hadn’t had her period in over a year. She developed osteoporosis.


She doesn’t really mention her relationship with Ellen until the Epilogue of the book. She does discuss being gay throughout the book but in hiding. She was terrified of people finding out–of paparazzi discovering her secret, of Hollywood ostracizing her. It was really devastating to read how much of her life was a SECRET. Homosexuality was a shameful secret. Anorexia was a shameful secret. Eating was a shameful secret. Just brutal to read, but I think gay or straight anyone can relate to her book.

“I didn’t decide to become anorexic. It snuck up on me disguised as a healthy diet, a professional attitude…I didn’t decide to become healthy. I decided not to die. [pg 277]”

Wow, I hadn’t intended on writing a huge long post about this book but it seriously touched me in a way I wasn’t expecting. I could relate to the negative things she told herself about her body. I could relate to the slippery slope of too much exercise. I went through something similar when I was getting obsessed with the scale (which is why I made a rule to only weigh myself once a month). I’m glad that I was able to step back and see that I was nearing a dangerous zone with my thinking and correct the behavior. It’s not always easy, like Portia describes.

The book is wonderful. I read it in one day. It’s an easy read, yet a hard subject to read about. I really cannot recommend this book enough.

“If you can accept your natural body weight–the weight that is easy for you to maintain, or your “set point”–and not force it to beneath your body’s natural, healthy weight, then you can live your life free of dieting, of restriction, of feeling guilty every time you eat a slice of your kid’s birthday cake. The key is to accept your body just as it is. [pg 302]”

QUESTION: Are you going to read this book? Could you relate to any of the quotes?