Steph’s Health Her-story
Childhood: still pretty healthy, until I hit puberty at 10 years old.
Adolescence: Since becoming a “woman” at 10, I’ve struggled with weight issues. Even went to my doctor about it in my teens and instead of asking me to keep a food and physical activity journal, she put me on diet pills. That didn’t last long but the lifestyle I was leading continued, simply because I didn’t know better. By the time I arrived to university, I was 185 lbs and 5”4.
Twenties: Moving to the big city of Toronto opened my eyes to…well, more! When I left Renfrew, I was a shy, introverted book worm. I got a part-time job in a student restaurant/pub and suddenly I was forced to be social. A new me emerged! I turned out to have a vivacious and fun personality – and I met so many different people from different backgrounds and perspectives. Being happy and living an active life of a 20-something allowed me to shed an easy 30 lbs without even thinking about it.
I had A LOT of fun. My lifestyle worked for me at the time. My 20’s were AWESOME and I’m so lucky to have had that much fun and live to tell about it without consequence.
Hmmm…I’m alive…but did I really come out of it all unscathed?
I can remember the first time I experienced depression. It was during my quarter-life crisis. Even though I had lost a pile of weight, grown in mind and spirit, I was still about 20 lbs* overweight, drinking and smoking heavily, and lost in life with not much passion for anything more than my addictions.
*note: I’m using pounds as a measurement for health here – while generally suggest to focus on living a healthier lifestyle because weight loss naturally follows, they’re numbers and can be used to objectively measure progression. Besides, at the time weight was my primary issue. Not even one cold did I catch here in a five-year span!
My self-abuse, although extremely gratifying, was starting to catch up. Hence, my health research began in earnest. I wanted to feel YOUNG again. I mean, at this point, it was only a couple of years ago.
So fitness and nutrition ruled my life for a year or two and by the time I was 27, I was 135 lbs and in the best shape of my life!!! I learned more about the body and how it works through books…not only to satisfy my curiosity but so that I could learn how to work with it rather than against it. I learned how to supply it the necessary primo fuel it needed to become a fully-functioning machine. It was through the practical help and emotional support of a very special friend, Penny (who trained as a national female boxer and is today still a chef extraordinaire), that I achieved my goals and felt fabulous!
Then I fell in love. And over the next 2 years, I slipped back into my old habits. I got drunk on love. I think I got high from being in love and my body strove to maintain that same level. Food (especially the stuff that wreaks havoc on the system) is a convenient substitute. And exercise isn’t high on my love’s list of things to do so I went at it alone, half-heartedly. Slowly, I undid all my hard work (almost)! I was back up to 165 lbs and feeling horrible. Not only about my body image, but my mood and energy levels had depleted to a point of hopelessness and paralysis.
It was a rollercoaster. It was hard for me to lose that weight before and so it was hard for me this time. For about a year, I would work out religiously for about 3 months and then something would happen, like a vacation, to throw me off track. I wouldn’t try again for another month, two, three…it was a vicious cycle.
But this last foray into healing my body was this past February ‘07. And I rocked my body! I took everything I had learned thus far and made it work for me. AND IT WAS EASY! Shedding 25 lbs in 3 months and an additional 10 lbs up till now (November ’07), I’ve had the greatest results in the shortest amount of time yet!
I’m back down to 135 lbs and if you’ll wait for it, I’ll hunt down some inches I recorded shortly before I lost it all. But my journey is far from over. I’ve ended up revealing some health conditions (my theory that I need more information to back up) and have a lot of healing to do based on the years of damage my body took.