What I believe now: no more diets

If this is your first time reading here, welcome, and let me give you the “Reader’s Digest Condensed” version of my life until now:

  • I spent most of my adult life considerably larger than the average American woman, and probably double the size of the average woman living in southern California, where I’ve lived since 1978
  • I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 1996, although I’d been experiencing symptoms of undiagnosed, untreated diabetes for at least 18 months prior to that
  • Three times in the last 20 years, I have lost a significant amount of weight, only to gain it all back and more
  • In late 2012, while taking at least 8 prescribed medications to (unsuccessfully) treat my high blood sugar and triglycerides, I asked my endocrinologist (diabetes doctor) to put me on insulin because nothing else was working and I was terrified that I would develop complications of uncontrolled diabetes
  • When my “last ditch” addition of insulin to my daily routine did absolutely nothing to lower my blood sugar levels, I was devastated, leading me to a place of despair so deep that I wrote about it on New Year’s Day and vowed to make a good faith effort to improve my health and happiness for the rest of 2013
  • Eighteen months from that blog post, I saw the smallest number in my adult life on the scale – it was less than one pound from being in the “Normal” range on the BMI scale; I stayed there exactly one week before regaining about 10% of the weight I’d lost. My blood sugar and triglycerides, however, stayed right on target and were even below what’s considered “desirable” for someone with diabetes
  • For the next two years and nine months, I pretty easily maintained within 10 pounds of that slightly-higher than “Normal” place. I completed three half marathons, two duathlons, and numerous shorter races in that time, too
  • While I was in the middle of my final long run – a 10 miler – for a fourth half marathon in March this year, I was hit from behind by a bicyclist that the emergency response personnel estimated had been going between 30 and 35 miles per hour. A fractured ankle and C7 vertebrae left me with strict instructions not to run for at least four weeks, terrible headaches, and intermittent vertigo; so much for the half marathon I’d spent nearly three months training for
  • A couple of weeks after the accident, there was a major reorganization of my team at work; I began eating large amounts of sugary, flour-laden foods to cope with my stress and anxiety about work and my injuries
  • By the time I left for vacation in New Orleans, a month after the accident, I was unable to wear any of my clothes and had to buy things a size larger in order to pack for the trip; I was so ashamed

About this time, I found a podcast with a host that I absolutely adored. She was bold and brassy and she talked about this crazy idea that diets don’t work and that you can live a happy life at any weight. I found myself moving from outright incredulity to grudging acknowledgement that she might not be completely wrong to wondering if it might be possible for me to be happy and healthy without trying to shrink my body; no more diets for me.

I started working with Summer in April and it’s been a crazy journey. I struggled with rebound binge eating for a little while but eventually the endless stream of sugary baked goods (and resulting stomach aches and lethargy) lost their allure and I settled into a comfortable way of eating that makes my body feel good and my morning runs a little easier. My blood sugar hasn’t changed appreciably from when I was smaller, nor has my blood pressure or resting heart rate. I started running regularly again and am training for a half marathon this October (in London).

I have no food rules, I haven’t weighed myself in months, and I eat what my body wants when it’s hungry and stop eating when I’m no longer hungry. I still struggle with occasional panicky moments of “oh my gosh, my body is too big – what will people think?” but then I remember that even when everyone around me was complimenting me on my smaller body three years ago I absolutely hated it and wanted nothing more than to lose more weight so that I could be “thin enough” to be happy.

Happy, Healthy Me

I am simultaneously larger than I’ve been since some time in early 2014 and also happier than at any time I can remember. I know this will not sit well with some readers but it’s my truth and I want to share it.

  • So happy to hear that you’re now happy within yourself now – that’s all that really matters isn’t it? Love reading your story Denise – which I’ve been doing for years now. Jx