The rapid weight gain was brought on by many factors that all led to me becoming an extreme emotional eater. Beginning in 2005, I would literally go get take-out or fast food or go to the grocery store, and buy/order enough food for 3 or 4 people. I became very ritualistic about it even. I would come home and put some comfy PJ’s on and sit on the couch in front of the TV and eat until I couldn’t stand it anymore. Looking back, I don’t really understand why I did this, because it always made me feel so miserable when I was done. I think it was some weird way of feeling in control of something, and also an attempt to drown away my sadness with food. I would almost get some kind of weird rush from it too, and I literally became addicted to food. This addiction was so hard to break once I decided I wanted to take back control of my eating habits.
Many of the stressors in our lives revolved around being newlyweds. We were still putting Skyler through school, and we had made the foolish decision to purchase 2 houses (1 to live in & 1 to flip). We bought the houses with the best of intentions, but unfortunately purchased when the market was high, and weren’t ready to sell until after the economy crashed. Thankfully God has pulled us through this (only 1 left to sell), and we have learned a lot along the way. But the stress that this put on us was overwhelming at times.
To top off having 2 house payments, and Skyler only working part time while attending school, I went through a couple of jobs that I was extremely unhappy in. I quickly learned another life lesson, that it doesn’t matter how much money you make, if you’re not happy it’s not worth it.
Then, in February 2007, two men broke into our house while I was home alone one afternoon. Thank God, I heard them and saw that they had a gun and was able to hide in the shower while I was on the phone with 911. God was definitely with me that day and kept me safe. But this incident only escalated my depression. I had never been so scared to the point I knew I was about to die as I was that day. After the break-in, I cried all the time, and just couldn’t seem to pull myself together anymore.
During this time frame (2007 – 2008), I not only used food to cope with life, but I also started binge drinking. This was definitely not a good combination with depression and weight gain. The alcohol just made me even more emotional, and of course contains a ton of calories. Luckily, I learned quickly that drinking wasn’t fixing anything so I pretty much swore off liquor and drinking to get drunk. These days when I drink I usually stick with beer or wine, because I am not a fan of being drunk.
By our vacation in late November 2007, I had already gotten up to the 180’s and was really struggling emotionally and physically.
Late November 2007 – 180 something pounds
Everybody made fun of me the whole vacation because I slept the entire 10 days. Part of the reason I slept so much was because I was physically and mentally exhausted from work. This was our first vacation since our honeymoon (so in over a year). But I think part of the problem was that the way I was eating at that point in my life just made me lethargic and lazy. I was also struggling with depression by this point pretty bad.
Intermingled with all of this, I was also having some family issues that were tuff to deal with. My parents went through a bad divorce that has lingered on for years and has divided our family that used to be pretty close. I really had a hard time dealing with this (not the divorce, but the family divide), and still do. I am the oldest of 4 siblings, and felt a lot of the weight fall on my shoulders.
And last but not least, the weight gaining itself caused me to become even more depressed. I wouldn’t admit that I was depressed at the time, but looking back I was just so overwhelmed and sad and stressed out. Food was the only way I knew to deal with things. It became a viscous cycle: gaining weight made me more depressed, but being depressed made me want to eat which made me gain even more weight.
By early 2008 I had reached 200 pounds for the first time and was devastated. I just bawled and was so upset that I had let myself go this far. Sadly, it still wasn’t enough to shake me just yet.
March 2008 – 200-210 pounds
By December 2008 I had peaked at my all time high of 225 pounds by gaining even more weight over the holidays. This was finally the point where I said “No More!” and I started to react.
Jan 2009 – HEAVIEST Weight of 225 pounds
Other parts to this series:
Part 1: Growing Up
Part 2: College Years
Part 3: The Gain
Part 5: The Loss
Part 6: Benefits/Rewards