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Successful Weight Loss: Meet the Food Cop

Weight Loss How To | Meet the Food Cop | Ms. Fitness
Cake for Breakfast | Before/After

Lovers & Losers

When I was 17 my boyfriend was in the Army and stationed in Germany. I'd met him while he was on leave and fell madly in love. I had a nice curvy build and at that time I was about 36 - 26 - 36. Nice curves. Busty. I waited months, writing passionate letters and telling him I'd wait for him. After the tearful reunion at the airport, he turned and whispered in my ear, "You've gotten fat." Oh, that was nice. It was also the first time I'd seen who he really was. Too bad I was too dumb to notice.

"You've Gotten Fat," said the Food Cop

I had to pretend I was never hungry whenever he was around, because he'd make rude comments about how fat I looked. Because of this we hardly ever ate out, and even if he stopped for something to eat, I'd usually say I didn't want anything and watch him eat. It was painful and humiliating and I put up with up it because I was young and stupid. Maybe I should have found a boyfriend that liked curvy women, but I wasn't thinking straight at the time.

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It got so that I couldn't wait to get away from him. If he bought beer, he'd take one out of a six pack and buy five cans. That way he could have three and I'd only get two since I was, yes, "already fat enough," he said. Besides having a control problem he was a cheap as they get. My friends and I started calling him a pretty rude name behind his back (why don't we ever listen to our friends?). What a jerk. Soon I started to obsess about food. Thoughts of all the things I could eat when he wasn't around filled my head. It was like having a secret lover on the side, only mine came with ketchup on top.

I ate very little from 17 to 19-years old, and took amphetamines (speed) to control my appetite. I drank beer but never ate any food when we went out, so I guess my primary food source at that time was hops and malt barley. I slowly melted away.

Having a boyfriend who wanted me slender wasn't the problem. The problem was that I'd bought into the idea of trying to live up to someone else's ideals instead of my own. When I reached 120 lbs (I'm 5'7") he asked, "Couldn't you just lose five more pounds?" That was when I realized it was his problem, not mine.

It shocks me now that I I tried so hard to please him by starving myself, using amphetamines, anything to lose weight, and I was already far too thin for my height.

You Can Too Be Too Slim

I enjoyed being slim, but once I reached 118 lbs my friends started to comment on how drawn and tired I looked. "Do you feel all right?" they'd ask. What kind of fresh Hell was this? I couldn't believe it. I thought I looked incredible, as I saw only lovely hip bones, a very flat stomach, and incredibly thin profile. Plus my boyfriend wasn't calling my a fat cow anymore. It was sad, really. I've seen photos of myself since, and I'm alarmed by how small I was, yet I thought I looked fat.

It took many years before I finally realized my day-to-day habits were the problem. It wasn't a control issue anymore. This boyfriend was long since out of my life, yet I was still living as if he had control and I was trying to win it back. I needed to stop trying to prove I was in charge and simply take charge.

My boyfriend had even bigger issues than wanting a skinny girlfriend, I just didn't know it at the time. He preferred slim women. Very slim. He once showed me a photo of a woman he thought was very pretty and she looked like a starving war victim. Her arms looked like sticks. That's when I finally understood -- 15 years after our romance had ended.

Finally Free and Rapidly Gaining Weight

Once he and I finally broke up I was finally free to eat again, and eat I did. I quickly gained weight going from a size 9 to about a size 14+. This was where I hit my weight plateau, and stayed for a few years. It was larger than I wanted to be but I couldn't seem to break my new habit of eating everything in sight and ordering far more food than I needed just because I could. Now that I was free I was feeling more trapped than ever.

At that time my day-to-day existence revolved around food. My first thoughts when I woke up were, "What will I eat today?" I felt a sense of power in being free to eat whatever I wanted, and how much I wanted. I can eat whatever I want. And I did. I'd buy bags of candy, hoards of food. Food for ten sometimes. I'd make it look like I was having a party, only I was the only guest.

At the local Chinese restaurant I'd order dinner for four or even six people. Remember With Six You Get Egg Rolls? Well, it's true. The more people ordering, the more choices of dishes, so I'd happily order enough for six, bring home two huge bags of food and dig in. It usually took me two entire days to polish it all off, but I could do it, if I tried. I'd heap the plate as full as I could, then go back for more. Battered fried shrimp, egg rolls, barbequed pork, sweet and sour anything. Heavy on the grease, salt and sugar -- my favorite food groups!

McDonalds didn't open until 11:00 AM and on Saturdays I'd start craving a cheeseburger and fries by 9:00 AM. It took all my will power just to wait. Sometimes I'd stop at the grocery store and stock up on goodies for "after." Once 11:00 AM finally rolled around, by then I'd be so hungry I couldn't decide between the "special sauce" on the Big Mac or the "quarter pounder" so I'd order both, one with fries, one without, so the clerk would think I was ordering for someone else too. For a treat, I'd get a milk shake since I remembered when I was a kid my mom said, "No. You can't have a milkshake. You won't finish your food." So what?, I'd think.

Hawaii - Staying Heavy with Little to Eat

After graduation I moved temporarily to Hawaii and lived like a beach bum. Money was scarce as I didn't have a job, so my grocery splurges were completely curtailed. In fact, popcorn was a meal, or a can of soup poured over some steamed rice. I had no more drug connection, so no more speed to help keep my appetite at bay, but I don't recall being particularly hungry. I had begun listening to my body's true appetite without realizing it.

When Health Issues Strike a 20-Year Old

High blood pressure, ringing in ears, no strength. Finally it all came down to my crappy health. I was heavy, about 30 or 40 pounds over weight. I had high blood pressure discovered during a routine exam. It took all my strength just to make the walk from the hospital back to my car, up a steep hill, which obviously the other patients could manage, why couldn't I? I was huffing and puffing like it had been a 10 mile uphill climb, instead of about two blocks. My ears would burn from the exertion. I felt like I was dying.

Thanksgiving Day Diet

My moment finally hit me on the eve of Thanksgiving, 1975. I'd had enough of lugging the extra weight everywhere I went. I was tried of saying I was unhappy with my body but not doing anything to change it. I decided that day, from that day forward, that I would not eat unless I was hungry, and I would stop when I was full. Period. That was the plan. I had my new diet.

The next day was Thanksgiving. I didn't despair over the injustice of it all -- on the contrary, I considered all the food choices and chose the foods I wanted. I took small amounts, and didn't overload my plate. I knew I could have more, if I wanted. I kept repeating to myself, I can have more later, if I want it. I ate slowly, chewing, savoring each bite. I tasted my food, and watched others gulping theirs like it was their last meal. I enjoyed that food like I hadn't in a very long time and realized that this was how normal people eat.

When I finished the first plate, I realized I was quite comfortable. I could have eaten more, but I didn't need or want more. I felt very satisfied. I pushed my plate back and decided I wasn't going to have seconds. What a revelation! No one noticed, or cared. No one asked what was wrong, or why didn't I want more? It was so freeing to be in control, and there was no pressure to overeat from anyone else. I'd always had the power, I just hadn't realized it.

I had dessert that day. There were several pies to choose from, and usually I'd had some of them all, maybe a few cookies, some fudge, whatever there was, I'd have some. This day I chose what I wanted and ate it, not finishing it all, as I realized I was becoming over full. I left dinner that day feeling wonderful. Not deprived. I thought, this is only a turkey dinner, not something I couldn't have again. I can cook a turkey dinner any time I want.

Discovering the Non-Diet Approach

After that day I continued to eat in this manner and over the next few months I melted to my natural size, about a 10, somewhere around 130 – 135 lbs. My reading in books such as Breaking Free From Compulsive Eating taught me that weight wasn't as important as size, so I was no longer weighing myself, instead paying attention to how I looked and how I felt. How my clothes felt. How I really was.

I read and studied everything I could find on eating disorders. I attended workshops on bulimia and anorexia. But that's not the end of the story. I still hadn't discovered my true passion.

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Kathryn Martyn M.NLP
Kathryn Martyn Smith, M.NLP EFT Weight Loss Coach
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