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Old 04-19-2011, 05:36 AM   #1
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Ever find an old picture of yourself, from when you were smaller, and you don't recognize your own face? Then you start thinking "what the **** happened?"

I did. I was looking through old CDs the other night and I found a picture of myself at age 16, complete with the blue hair my parents gave me the $100 for to get done for my 16th birthday. I was around 150 pounds, still got called "fat" in school but I think I look pretty good overall (I can't link a picture yet b/c I don't have enough posts). I could have probably stood to lose 10 pounds, but not unless I wanted to. I didn't NEED to.

It shocked me. I didn't even recognize it was ME for a split second, but then I remember when that picture was taken (I was with a friend, that's his car we're up against, and I had just spilled a huge Slurpee down his windshield ((I'm graceful))..) so I know it's me.

I'm used to being overweight. I'm used to be 200+. The last near full length picture of me that I have is in June of last year when I got to see my puppy for the first time. Complete with belly roll and double chin at 262 lbs.

That's what I'm used to. Ever since I was 16, I started packing on the weight. Sedentary life style, too much junk food, too much food in general, low self-esteem, a lot of stress due to school and social phobia, depression, anxiety, marks.. it all added up I guess.

I've seen pictures of me of when I was around the 200 lb mark, and they didn't strike me as severely as that blue-haired girl did.

I had a good, long cry. I don't REMEMBER being thinner. I don't REMEMBER what it felt like to go into any store in the mall and find at least something that fit me without having to go to the plus-sized specific stores. I don't REMEMBER what it feels like to run and jump and do cartwheels without worrying that I'm going to break my knee, or hurt my back.

What the **** happened to that girl? Why did I let myself get like this?

Why have I repeatedly started a plan, carried it out for a while (longest was 3 months) and then quit.

Do you ever get afraid of being thin again? Do you ever think that maybe you've continued to be overweight because you're too scared to be any other way?

I think that's what happened with me. I think maybe I'm scared to be thinner; scared of more attention on me; scared people will recognize me; scared maybe guys will talk to me instead of be repulsed (I haven't had an actual relationship since about the time that picture was taken, sadly). I think I'm scared of not being the person I am now, and have known for so long, and being someone else.

I've read DCHound's thread "This Is What's Different" countless times the past few days and I think I've faced the reality that even though I can take a pretty nice picture of myself either with my camera or webcam and think I look pretty cute, deep down, I don't think I really love who I am.

Does anyone else ever feel that way? Or do I have serious problems?

How do you know if you really love who you are?

And how do you go from "what happened?!" to "I can't believe it happened to begin with!"

(I'll link the pictures when I'm able to. I'd really love to get down to that 16-year-old weight again.)
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Old 04-19-2011, 07:49 AM   #2
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I look at pictures of myself when I was thin, (135lbs or 140lbs which is normal weight for me) and I don't see a happy woman. I see a woman who tried too hard to please the men she had relationships with, and who did not get her own needs met.

I think I put on the weight to push men away, to "hide" from them. I am so used to being "invisible" to them now, that I really do not know how I will react once I start getting attention from them again.

I didn't love who I was when I was thinner. I feel I love who I am more now because I spend so much time with myself and have learned to accept myself at this size over the years.

Last edited by authentic : 04-19-2011 at 01:13 PM.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:42 AM   #3
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What a great thread. From my experience, I realized that my weight, which is what I call my fat suit, was a defense mechanism. When I was in highschool, I weight about 115, was athletic and active. Then I gained a lot of weight. I gained 135 pounds over the course of 7 years. I got used to being over weight. It came naturally. There were even instances when I would think "Yeah, I wouldn't mind being this weight and size forever" Looking at my old high school pictures would depress me though because I couldn't believe I let myself get to this point. I wouldn't even go back to my home town because I didn't want anyone to see how big I'd gotten.

When I finally snapped out of it, I realized I wanted to do it for myself. I asked myself that exact same question, "What the heck happened to you?" I started my journey and realized I didn't want to hit my 30's obese. So I guess you can say that the weight loss was a birthday present to myself. Hopefully, I added a few extra years to my life as well.

As far as the attention, I don't really notice it unless someone is obvious. But I am in a relationship, so I tend not to be as outgoing as I would be if I were single. It's just how I am. I keep a "before" picture hidden on my desk under some papers. I occasionally look at it, just as I looked at my highschool picture. I no longer recognize the chubby girl I was for so long, even though she was a part of my life for almost a decade. Truth be told, I've almost forgotten what it feels like to weigh 250 pounds. I can't really remember feeling out of breath, feeling gluttony, craving all the bad stuff. I calorie count, I still eat what I want, but within reason.

Overall, when you find the person you once were, you realize you aren't that same girl. I'm not who I was in highschool. I may look the same from the outside, just older, but I've changed. I've matured. I fully understand both sides from being overweight, to being thin. I've also learned to treat everyone equally no matter what they look like. I've learned to eat healthier. I've learned to continue working towards this healthier lifestyle. It may have taken three girls, (My young, highschool self, my overweight 20-something self, and my current self) to tell me and show me who I am. Truth be told, I can't complain. I like who I am. I like who I can be. I'm not perfect, I'm still flawed, but I have a clearer perspective on loving who I am. I found that when I got to goal, I didn't feel what I imagined I would feel, nor did I get what I expected. It's completely different once you reach it. In my case anyway.

Best of luck to you, and if you find yourself someone different when you get to goal, let me know.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:52 AM   #4
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Do you ever get afraid of being thin again? Do you ever think that maybe you've continued to be overweight because you're too scared to be any other way?

Oh Man, you have hit the nail on the head. You are not alone and I can completely relate to your post (although the last time I was skinny was right before I hit puberty). I desperately want to be thinner for my health and my happiness. For some reason, I think that if I lose weight I will suddenly spontaneously become a happier person. Changing is scary and the fact that my life may not be everything I want when I lose weight...kinda let me sabotage myself in the past. I am terrified being skinny won't give me the things I want in life (which I know it won't magically do that but part of me can't help up hope).

Simply put, you are not alone and I can relate to your fears.
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:55 AM   #5
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I was raped by a guy in my junior year at college. I didn't tell anyone for more than 5 years. I thought I deserved it. I thought it was because I had too much to drink, or my skirt was too short, or I didn't fight him off enough. So, I pretty quickly gained most of my weight, and held onto it through 3 pregnancies, and a failed marriage. Honestly, I didn't put the whole thing together for a very long time. My weight was a defense mechanism against guys. It was literally like a fat "suit" keeping people from getting too close to me.

I knew my weight was unhealthy, and from time to time I would diet down to a healthy weight. But, as soon as someone would make a comment about my body, good or bad, I would start eating again, and gain it all back. I punished myself all these years because of what an idiot did to me (took away from me).

I also have looked back at pictures of myself in high school and wondered what happened to the self-confident, athletic girl in the photos. I wish I could go back in time.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:06 AM   #6
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I do this to, I try to avoid finding old pics of me, cause it is just to depressing. I have struggled pretty much all my life except for a few years. On another note, sometimes I find the pictures motivating, it is fun to see what i could look like if i stuck to my diet.
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Old 04-19-2011, 10:12 AM   #7
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I was in an abusive relationship my mid twenties and that is when I wanted to start pushing men away. I put the weight on slowly. I would take the weight off every now and then but I never got fully back to my normal weight after I left that sexually and emotionally abusive relationship.

On some level, I associate being thin, with being in an unhappy relationship. I have gotten very comfortable hiding in my "fat suit" over the years, and it is difficult for me to envision myself out of it.

But my life is limited at this weight. I cannot be as active as I want to be, and I can't do a lot of the things I really want to do (dance, hike, travel comfortably, etc)

I am doing this for me (not some guy) and for the experiences that I hope to add back to my life once my weight is normal weight again.
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by authentic View Post
I was in an abusive relationship my mid twenties and that is when I wanted to start pushing men away. I put the weight on slowly. I would take the weight off every now and then but I never got fully back to my normal weight after I left that sexually and emotionally abusive relationship.

On some level, I associate being thin, with being in an unhappy relationship. I have gotten very comfortable hiding in my "fat suit" over the years, and it is difficult for me to envision myself out of it.

But my life is limited at this weight. I cannot be as active as I want to be, and I can't do a lot of the things I really want to do (dance, hike, travel comfortably, etc)

I am doing this for me (not some guy) and for the experiences that I hope to add back to my life once my weight is normal weight again.
authentic-GOOD FOR YOU! BRAVO!

I agree 100%. I finally figured this out as well, that my life really was limited by my weight. I suppose we have to rewire our brains to think of weight loss differently. I choose to believe that it can be done!
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Old 04-19-2011, 12:49 PM   #9
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Wow! What a great thread to start Rainbow! I believe it's an important step to reflect on these types of questions so you get yourself "right" on the inside as you work on the outside.

I personally was always a chubby kid, then suddenly dropped all my "baby fat" my junior year in high school. Low and behold I was getting the attention of everyone around me and I was extremely uncomfortable. I met a really sweet guy who adored me and I married him two years after we graduated high school. Then the weight started coming on. By the time we had our son, I weighed 238 lbs (from 175) and when we divorced one year later, I weighed 275. I met my second husband in 2003, we got married in 2007. I maintained for a while, including through the birth of my second son in 2008 but have gained since with my highest weight being 292.4.

What I realized, is that I gained weight to test people. My biological father - who thankfully wasn't around too often - always judged me for being fat. In fact, I once weighed myself on a grocery store scale and when he saw the number, he made me get back on so his new wife (the evil step-mother) could see too. They had a good chuckle and she said that she didn't weight 100 lbs until high school. I was probably in the 4th grade. From then on, I didn't believe that anyone could truly love me and the only way I would know for sure was if they still loved me when I was fat.

I am afraid to be skinny. But, now, I'm more afraid of teaching my kids bad lessons like I was taught. Now, I'm afraid that my health will put me in a position of missing things because I'm too fat to participate or because I might die to early. So, my fear of being skinny is taking a back seat now.

Skinny - here I come!





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2nd Mini: 10%, 263.8 (-28.5)
3rd Mini: 20%, 233.9 (-58.5)
4th Mini: ONEderland, 199.9 (-92.5)
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Old 04-19-2011, 05:32 PM   #10
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You guys have all given AMAZING responses. Thank you so much! It's so encouraging to know that I'm not alone in these feelings; I always thought I was.

The past 2 years have been really hard. In 2009 (I was 24) I came inches away from dying alone in a hospital bed. I had been on Yazmin birth control for a month, and after 30 days I started having really awful pain in my right shin. I could barely move it. Over the course of 10 days, I was in the ER almost daily, complaining of the pain. One night, I was there for 9 hours (because our computer systems went down and EVERYTHING had to be done by hand) only to be sent home after x-rays came back normal with a referral for an ultrasound study of my veins the next day. I went to that and when I went to get up off the table, I couldn't stand up. I was screaming so hard the tech came back in and had to help me get dressed. I went back to Emerg and was told it was nothing.

The ultrasound showed nothing but I waited a few hours and went back to Emerg to talk to another doctor (the same one who sent me for x-rays). This time he put me on IV antibiotics, thinking it was an infection although there were no signs of it. I had a TERRIBLE phobia of needles so you can imagine how getting my first IV ever went. At the same time, the tech was taking blood work; I almost threw up from my panic.

I was on IV antibiotics for 2 days before they decided it wasn't working. They yanked the IV and gave me a referral to a rheumatologist. I saw her on a Monday, she sent me for more blood work. In the meantime, driving and working as a medical transcriptionist (operating a foot pedal) was excruciating. I'd scream all the way to work. It felt like someone was saying my shin apart any time I moved.

Wednesday of that week I stood up to go home and felt my heart begin to race and I couldn't catch my breath. I figured it was my asthma acting up from the stress and I went home (I still shudder at this thought today). The next day, around 6 p.m., I crouched under the desk (painfully) to plug in my space heater and when I stood up, I felt as though my heart was tearing through my chest. I had no oxygen; no ability to breathe in for a good minute, and then I couldn't catch my breath. My heart was racing, like I had just run a mile.

I made it as far as the office door before I collapsed and my coworker had to help me in a wheelchair. Wheeled me down to the ER and after witnessing the spike in my blood pressure and a blood test that they didn't do the week before coming back high, they shoved another IV in me and took me for a CT scan (during which, we all found out I'm allergic to CT dye; which feels like boiling oil going into my veins for me).

The results: MASSIVE pulmonary emboli. Blood clots in my lungs. The diameter of a Canadian quarter. Both went through my heart and got plugged at the largest section of both pulmonary arteries.

Chance of death if I didn't go to the ER: 75%.
Chance of death if they went to my brain instead: 100%.

Cause? Birth control, obesity, and sedentary life style.

It took almost a year for my lungs to recover fully and I had so many needles between November and December that year that I'm no longer afraid of them. I had weekly blood work, I saw a hematologist, all more needles, so I'm cured of that phobia lol.

The mental toll was hard. I suffered from panic attacks almost daily for the first 2 months. I took 2 weeks sick time after I was hospitalized because I just couldn't handle it. My mom wanted to come down to the coast to be with me but I refused. It would have only made things worse. I would start crying for no reason; I'd be looking at the clouds through the kitchen window while doing dishes and it would hit me that I was so lucky to be looking at them, that I may not have survived.. and then I'd curl up in a ball and cry. When I got back to work, I had to work through my panic attacks every time I got a report on someone who had a pulmonary embolism. The worst was when the patient died from a misdiagnosis (the same thing that initially happened with me) and they were only 5 years older than me. I didn't come out of the staff washroom for an hour.

This past year, I ended up with pneumonia 1 year and 1 week after my pulmonary embolic event (that was November 19, 2009, the pneumonia hit on November 25). I'm STILL trying to get over it. The infection was kicked out by December, but the whole episode did something to my lungs; kicked my normally exercise induced only asthma into full blown asthma and threw in some new seasonal allergies apparently. This month has been the first one that I'm sleeping THROUGH the night; not waking up because I roll over onto my left side and now am crackling and wheezing to the point of waking myself up all night. I'm on inhaled steroids and the difference is amazing!

I need to lose weight for my health. The embolism wouldn't have happened if I weren't overweight. The pneumonia wouldn't have caused all this mess if I wasn't predisposed to lung problems because of the embolism. It all comes back to being overweight.

I just don't know why I self sabotage or convince myself I don't deserve to be any different. I am scared of change, I am scared that I'll be a different person because I like who I am emotionally sometimes and personality wise, and I think I'm scared that'll change and what if I don't like her?

I'm trying hard to do positive affirmations every day. I think they really help, but I think it'll be a long battle convincing myself that I'm worth it. My future is worth it.

And like I said, I'm so glad I'm not alone!
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:20 PM   #11
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Holy moly! You have certainly been through a lot in the last couple of years. I always read those warnings on BC and never really thought twice about it. I have an IUD now for other reasons, but you have a very eye-opening story. Thank you for sharing it with us!

I can speak to the asthma. I have chronic severe asthma that I've had since I was a child. It's actually getting worse with age. I was in the hospital about 18 months ago with a severe asthma attack. The way the Dr. put it is "Shannon, we can't always bring people back from these kinds of attacks. Take your daily medications!" Message received. I used to be in the ER 4-5 times per year with asthma attacks. Since that hospital stay I haven't missed a single dose of my daily medications and I haven't had an asthma attack, not a single one. It makes all the difference! The great thing is that asthma can absolutely be managed and doesn't have to adversely effect your life.

Keep on keeping on, you're doing great!!
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Old 04-19-2011, 08:23 PM   #12
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What an amazing thread!!! I thought I was the only one that did this.

I also realized while looking at a picture from last thanksgiving where I was at my smallest I had been since 7th grade that I didnt give myself nearly the credit I deserved. I looked at that picture and though wow I had a waist! But I hadnt fixed anything on the inside and I think thats why I dont even remember looking like that and It wasnt that long ago. Im hoping that by working from the inside out Ill be able to realize the progress that I am making and give myself credit for it.

I was also sexually abused as a child for as long as I can remember until I was 9. I just recently realized that by keeping myself fat and comfortable so that I dont have to be vulnerable to anyone. That I am letting him win. That although he is in jail and physically out of my life. I am still letting him win. I have control now and he is done running my life!
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Old 04-19-2011, 09:18 PM   #13
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I am so sorry about your health issues Rainbowgirl.

For me, the biggest challenge is that as my body emerges, so do all the emotions that I have been numbing. As I start to feel those emotions, I just want to numb them again. Food is the way I have always done this.

Everything I do is different without food as a tranquilizer. If people annoy me at work, I just have to deal with it, without running to the vending machine or eating my lunch 3 hours early, and then going and getting another lunch at lunch time.

If I am afraid of a customer presentation, or driving in bad weather to get to a meeting, or anything else, I have to calm myself down and get through my fears without stopping at the nearest bakery or starbucks, or ben and jerry's to get something to numb my fear.

When I look in the mirror each day, I try to see who I truly am at this moment. I do not look for who I want to be in the future, or who I was in the past, I am trying to accept myself (flaws and all) for who I truly am in this moment.

It's hard.
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Old 04-20-2011, 11:14 PM   #14
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Gale, the reason it almost went horribly wrong for me was that my symptoms were completely atypical.

They often tell doctors in medical school "when you hear hoofbeats, think horses not zebras" meaning if it looks like a cold, sounds like a cold, it probably isn't cancer.

I was the rare zebra.

My symptoms presented as a very, very painful shin with no redness, swelling, or warmth to the skin. To look at my leg, there appeared nothing wrong with it. In fact, the ER doc that came around to tell me about the clots was the same one who pulled the IV out the previous weekend. He knew how many times I had been in the ER begging for help and he looked at me and said "I bet you thought we all thought you were crazy." I didn't, because I knew there was no way I could be crazy enough to imagine up that amount of pain and I knew that I was presenting as an anomaly. They did everything they could to find a clot, but it evaded them until it was too late. They did the blood tests, they did the ultrasound, they did the x-ray. The only thing they didn't do was a D-dimer on my blood test; that would have shown elevated levels which would have indicated many things, including clots. But, I survived.

The warnings on the boxes are serious. With Yaz, because it's a 4th generation progesterone, there have been more problems with it than other BCs, to the point that there are 2 massive class action law suits against Bayer both in Canada and the US. One 15-year-old girl in the US had so many clots she needed surgery to remove them, AFTER she had suffered a heart attack, by being on Yaz.

That's not to say no other BCs have risks: They all do. And if you're overweight, sedentary, over 35 (I'm not) and smoke (I smoke 1 cigarette a day), the risk goes up substantially.

For me, it was a combination of the above plus a determination that I'm likely allergic to the hormones in all birth controls. Progesterone and estrogen. Which means, I can't use any of them. Ever. My only option is an IUD which I can't have done without anesthesia because I've never had children.

Anyway: If anyone is taking BC and begins having sharp, excruciating pains in your SHIN, do not ignore them. It could be nothing, but it could be a clot in your pelvis somewhere. Always be careful when taking the pill - it's not 100% safe.

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On topic with this one though, since I'm over 25 posts now, I can post the pictures I originally wanted to.

Here's me at 16 with blue hair:


About 150 pounds, maybe 155. I don't even recognize my face there; I look like a completely different person.


That is 2 years later, at age 18, graduating high school. I'm around 190-200 here.


This is in 2007 (March) during a trip to Brazil. There was a local media contest called "Fitness Fantasy" in 2006. During 3 months of the summer, 4 finalists were chosen out of nearly 3500 entrants to train 3 times a week with a personal trainer at this kick-butt gym called "Innovative Fitness", work with a dietician, go for massages, etc. The winner (based on public votes, and scores for things like daily food logs, votes from the trainers, etc) was rewarded with a week long trip to a "health resort" on Ilha Grande, just south of Rio de Janeiro. I won ^_^ I lost 30 pounds, gained 10 pounds of muscle, and got more votes than my closest competitor, a firefighter who was trying to get back in shape after being in a car accident. I think, when this picture was taken, I weighed 230 lbs.


And that's me last June, at my heighest weight of 262, the first day I got to meet my puppy.

I just don't know what went wrong in the past 10 years. It's so frustrating to see that picture of me at 16. I'm only 25, I shouldn't be this overweight. I try not to beat myself up, but the fault for my weight gain is purely my own. So is the fault for not keeping up the progress I made to win the Fitness Fantasy contest.

I know that skinny 16 year old self is inside me somewhere, I just am scared she'll never find her way out.
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Old 04-21-2011, 03:25 AM   #15
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I do know how it happened, really. I know that everyone always talked about losing weight, becoming healthy.... but they never really taught us HOW. They don't teach you these things in school, and if your parents don't.... then who does? And we all know gaining weight is a vicious cycle.... the more you gain, the easier it is to keep gaining and harder to lose. Especially if you don't know how.

It took me to pay $250 a month for three months to get Nutrisystem to learn how to eat properly (portions, sizes, servings, foods). Yeah. Cos they definitely don't teach that in school.

And ya know... I only was skinny (skinnier, anyways) once in my adult life and that was for a year in my early 20's when I was using drugs heavily. *sigh* I didn't think I could handle being skinny either, but after a lifetime of feeling like crap and being in pain and sick constantly even before I was 30, I was determined to try no matter how it psyched out my psyche!!

And you know what?

I don't regret it at all. Yeah, every now and then I'm kinda like Holy crap how did I get here? But for the most part..... I just feel FREAKIN AMAZING. I mean, its awesome feeling tiny (comparatively, still got a ways to go) and being able to fit into normal clothes....... but whats is the absolute best..... is how great I just feel. Body wise. Healthy. Young. GOOD.

And THAT is what matters.

And I feel you on the medical problems. Before the age of 26, I'd been in the hospital twice on the point of near death for the most random infections and went through six months of an incredibly painful MRSA infection. I spent my childhood suffering from severe asthma (which was the beginning of a lifetime of avoiding physical exercise, once again another vicious cycle) and being sick constantly with colds and flus and whatever else. It wasn't until this past year that I found out I have an autoimmune deficiency due to my asthma and eczema problems. Making me vulnerable to random infections. Go figure. Almost 30 before a doctor finally pinpointed it... did I mention I'd been seeing specialists since I was 2 or 3? Still...... since I started my healthy lifestyle in early 2009.... I HAVE NOT BEEN SICK *ONCE*. Straight up. Eating healthy, and the way we're supposed to....... pretty much cured me. No more colds, no more flus, no more anything. Sure, I am still susceptible to those random infections (can't change my DNA unfortunately)...... but otherwise I am fit as fiddle compared to before.

I still bask in the amazingness of that.
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"Courage is being scared to death - but saddling up anyway." - John Wayne


Overall Weight Goal (Started Spring 2006)



My Newest Goal: Lose 2011's Gained Stress Weight & Get Back to my Lowest Weight in Time for my Dec' 11 Vacation!!

Last edited by starfishkitty : 04-21-2011 at 03:40 AM.
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