Memoirs of a Cheeseburger

{February 8, 2011}   Bulimia is a b*tch.

It is really, really hard to kick the puke habit.  When I overeat (even if it’s healthy things), or have a cookie or two, or think about how my dinner will impact my weigh-in…

If it wasn’t so easy for me to throw up I don’t think it would be so hard to kick this habit.  When I was 15 and first starting on my path, I tried to be bulimic.  It didn’t work.  I don’t know how I got so proficient at throwing up, but I can do it at the drop of a hat.  Just tense my stomach muscles, do something weird with my stomach muscles, and there you go.  It’s a strange talent.

After my pregnancy, I vowed to never throw up voluntarily again.  I did really well for 8 months.  Then I went to see a counselor about postpartum depression and she told me I wasn’t depressed, I was just fat and I needed to exercise and get more sunlight.   I wish I was kidding.  And then she reported me to CPS.  And that was the end of my recovery period.

I’m doing better.  I’m throwing up once a day, maybe 4 times a week, instead of after every time I eat all the time.  I’m working on cutting that number down, but it’s a process.  A slow process, but I’ll take it.  My goal is to be completely done with bulimia by the time I turn 25 – that’s November 6th.  If I keep chipping away at it I can do it.

This week I am planning on joining a gym.  I’ll let you know how that goes.

My current weight is 270.2.  I can smell the 60s from here and they smell like celery!


{January 21, 2011}   Accidental Exercise

I don’t know about you, but I’ve read so many weight loss tips that there’s almost nothing new anymore.  Still, articles get passed around on the Internet touting sage advice such as “drink a cup of water before sitting down for a meal,” or “use a smaller plate to eat on,” or “park far away from the store so you get some walking in.”

Well, yesterday I did a variation on that last one.

My two year old wanted to go to the park, and yesterday just happened to be sunny (although freezing cold.)  I dressed him up in 3 layers, but I just wore a hoodie and jeans.  I live in Draper, Utah, which just so happens to have an amazing trail system.  I think there’s something like 120 walking trails here, with more being developed.  In the summer, people are constantly biking, running, walking, jogging, rollerblading, skateboarding, etc etc etc down these trails.  I love where I live – even though it really gives me no excuse to not exercise.

Anyway, I parked at the middle of a trailhead which ends at a park.  Pulled the kid out of the car, and we were off.

About an hour later, we finally made it to the park.  Yeah, that was 3 miles.  And the worst thing was, I only realized how far away we were after we’d already made it halfway there – turning around would have been pointless.

I was impressed with my kid though – he walked for 2 miles, then rode the last on my shoulder.  He played his guts out at the park for an hour while I collapsed on a park bench.  Then we started the long walk home.  He flatly refused to walk that time, so I carried him the whole way (minus about 10 yards when horse was spooked by the “two headed human” walking toward him.)

I wasn’t too sore last night, but boy this morning I waddled around the house for a good 20 minutes until my muscles were okay with moving again.  Yesterday is the first time in a week that I’ve hit my target as far as calorie burning goes, but I’m not planning on walking 6 miles again.  At least, not in January and not with a 35 lb toddler on my shoulders.  Next time (in March, when it’s warmer!) I’ll be pulling the kiddo in his wagon.

This is a response to Kelly and her post here.

I used to think that there was no way I would ever get married.  No way a guy would ever be attracted to me, an obese tomboy with social anxiety.  Are you kidding?  My mom can attest to the many emotional breakdowns I had over my fate as a lonely girl with only my French fries to comfort me.  I was your typical angsty teenager and my lack of a love life just gave me more ammo to shoot myself with.

When I was 18 I studied abroad in London.  I lived in a building (the former Russian embassy, in fact) near Hyde Park with 33 girls and 5 boys.  I distinctly remember feeling a sense of freedom as I realized that even if I tried every feminine wile known to me (which were about 0 at the time) I still wouldn’t have a chance in hell with any of the guys.  The other girls were older and far more beautiful.  And they were skinny.  Halfway through the semester I thought one of the guys liked me, but I’ve always mistaken gestures of friendship as confessions of love.

So, returning home from London.  I weigh near 300 lbs.  I move into an apartment with my best friend and we start hanging out with a group of 5 guys and 3 other girls.  I have just decided to swear off relationships forever, despite my attraction to one of the boys.  Over the course of that winter, I start losing weight (a combination of no money, being vegetarian and also courting bulimia.)  And right about there, that’s when my life changed.

A sweet, handsome young man who I knew I had absolutely no chance with asked me to be his girlfriend.  Boy weighed 180 lbs.  I weighed 260 lbs.

Here’s what that looks like:

Nov 2005 - 290 lbs

Boyfriend in 2006 (weighing 180 lbs)


Let me be honest – I had a hard time with it.  Because I was overweight, I was ashamed of everything about me, really.  I let things get more physical than I was comfortable with because I was terrified that if I refused, he would break up with me and I would have no more chances at love.  I let him jerk me around a lot.  I was just getting up the nerve to break up with him when he asked to marry me.

We’ve been married for 4 years.  Thankfully, he realizes what a jerk he was and I became more comfortable with telling him to back off.  Our relationship could be better (I think all relationships need improvement somewhere) but it’s strong – he takes amazingly good care of me and I know he loves me.  You know how I know?  Because he put up with me when I was throwing up several times a day for 7.5 months straight, and whining and sobbing hysterically in between visits to the toilet.  Yeah, pregnancy and I do not get along.  He put up with me, and he stuck with me.  And he still puts up with me when I’m a pain in the ass and when I am snippy and rude and really, not the nice sweet girl he started dating in 2006.

If I had been skinny, would things have been different?  Assuredly.  For one, I might have been comfortable in telling him to back off.  And I might have ended our relationship sooner instead of patiently waiting for him to pull his head out of his butt.  We might not have even started dating at all.  I used to think about this a lot when I was struggling with postpartum depression – did my insecurity lead me into a direction I might not otherwise have gone?  The truth is, I’ll never know.  But does it really matter?

What I do know is this:  guys CAN fall in love with fat girls.  Some guys, some amazingly intelligent men, they can see beyond the cellulite and the rolls and the chubs.  They can see into your heart  and – no matter what your outward appearance – you become beautiful to them.  And really, isn’t that how every relationship should be?  Shouldn’t it be about what your spirit looks like, rather than your body?   Looks fade, thin people gain weight, big people lose it, you could get leprosy, a cat could use your face as a launching pad (ask me how I know this).  I mean, if your guy is just attracted to your pretty modelesque figure and face, there’s gonna be a problem when you get pregnant and start breaking out like a 13 year old.

My guy?  Is amazing.  And he totally fell in love with a fat girl.  He still loves this fat girl.  And that makes me more secure in myself than ever, and especially in weight loss.  Because I know that I’m not trying to lose the weight for him – I’m losing it for me.  And either way?  He doesn’t care.  He loves me no matter what.

At least, until I stick my icy feet under his legs tonight.  Mwahahaha.

I’m still sick, but I’m tired of putting off eating healthy just because I’m tired and lazy.  And sick. For the last week I’ve given myself permission, in the name of “health,” to eat anything and everything I could possibly want.

After eating a dozen no-bake cookies and a carton of fried rice for breakfast yesterday?  I’m over it.

Last night for dinner I had a huge salad, which could have fed me for two meals.  I finished it up with 2 huge sugar cookies.  I only threw up a little bit after, but my goal is to not throw up at all.  I want to be 100% done with bulimic behaviors by the time I turn 25 in November.  I am seeing a counselor to help me overcome, but it’s taking longer than I would like.

Anyway, this morning for breakfast, though I was feeling kind of sick and weighted down from the food lodged like a stone in my belly, I made myself a big smoothie.  Orange juice (just to use it up, after this I will be using water), a LOT of kale, mango chunks, a banana, and assorted frozen berries.  It does not taste good.  It tastes not very sweet, and a lot like kale.  I maybe put too much in.  But it’s still edible, and I’m eating it anyway.

Because it makes me feel good.  I don’t feel sick and wiped out from a sugar high.  My stomach doesn’t hurt.  I’m not having heart burn.  I feel healthy.  And if this one small thing is the only healthy thing I do for the day, then so be it.  It’s a start, and starting is better than standing still.

I have a 12 pack of caffeine free Diet Coke in my fridge, but I try to limit my intake to 1 (12 oz) can a day.  Yesterday I had two cans, so today I’m not having any.  I’m trying to wean myself off Diet Coke as well, but one thing at a time.  At least I can be proud that I don’t drink caffeine.

Water is DELICIOUS.  I don’t know how people can go without drinking 8 cups in a day – I usually get around twice that without even trying.  I use a Nathan stainless steel bottle with a straw, and I love it.  I find that if my water bottle has a straw, I drink more.  I love the stainless steel because the water feels colder and thus I drink more.  Nathan bottles are also dishwasher safe, so they’re convenient for me because I am lazy and hate hand washing dishes.  Nathan bottles are very durable – my poor blue paisley has been dropped, kicked and thrown on anything from hardwood floors to asphalt to airplanes to gravel.  And it’s awesome.  My only complaint is that Nathan straws are not strong enough to stand up to toddler teeth – my son has bitten mine to heck and I’m going to have to order some new ones soon.

I’m not sponsored by Nathan but I wish I was.  Their products (other than the water bottles) look awesome and might just compel me to start running long distances so I can try them out.

Moving on.  In the spirit of planning ahead, here is my food plan for the day.  Breakfast and lunch will be green smoothies.  I might have some string cheese for a snack if I’m hungry later.  Dinner will either be the last of the smoothie, or some of the leftovers in my fridge (chili, chicken soup, or mashed potatoes.)  After my gluttony fest of the last week, I’m ready to take smaller portions and listen carefully to my body.  I’m tired of feeling sick all the time.  And maybe if I eat healthily, my body will think it’s healthy and I’ll get over this wretched cold.

The only downside of drinking lots of water is the need to visit the bathroom all the time.  The body does adjust, eventually.  On that note, adios!

{January 8, 2011}   The Background

Have you ever met a fat bulimic?

Actually, I’m almost certain you have.  People think that because you’re fat, you couldn’t possibly have a legitimate eating disorder.  Fat people just aren’t anorexic, are they?

You’d be surprised.

“[M]any behaviors seen as damaging and dangerous in thin people are outright encouraged in fat people. The specific example above is purging, but the sentiment is the same for many disordered eating patterns. Fat people are often supported in hating their bodies, in starving themselves, in engaging in unsafe exercise and in seeking out weight loss by any means necessary. A thin person who does these things is considered mentally ill. A fat person who does these things is redeemed by them. This is why our culture has no concept of a fat person who also has an eating disorder. If you’re fat, it’s not an ED — it’s a lifestyle change.”

~Leslie Kinzel

But I think I’m getting ahead of myself.

I’m Kris.  I’m 24 and have been overweight–obese–since I was 9.  As a kid, I thought I’d just grow out of my fat.  I was pretty active when I was young.  I played soccer and baseball and loved to run.  But I kept getting older without getting thinner, weird, huh?

Not so weird.  My parents were both overweight and I learned unhealthy habits from them.  It’s hard to diet when your dad keeps the pantry stocked with Little Debbie and Hostess snacks.  I didn’t have anyone to model healthy eating behaviors for me – I remember my mom and grandma dieting, but I didn’t really know what that meant.  All I knew was that I was bigger than any of the kids at school, and by the time I was in 7th grade I had to wear maternity clothes.

The last time I weighed under 200 lbs was when I was 12.  In the late 90s, there weren’t many options for plus-sized teen clothing.  I was fashion challenged anyway, but looking back at pictures of me from that time is particularly painful.  I wore parachute pants for the better part of my freshman year.  As a sophomore, my family moved to a different state.  I had no friends and wasn’t particularly outgoing, so I spent most of my time snacking and eating because I had nothing else to do.

Toward the end of my sophomore year, I watched an episode of a TV show called Boston Public, which featured a girl who visited pro-anorexia websites.  The next day, I Googled “pro-ana” and several listing for sites came up.*  I made friends on one of these sites and worked hard at avoiding food.  I lost 30 lbs in a month and a half.  I didn’t eat breakfast, skipped lunch, and tried to get away with as little dinner as possible.  My parents, busy with my younger siblings, didn’t notice.  As I started losing weight, the positive reinforcement from those around me kept me going, even though starving was no fun.  I was thrilled that people could tell I was getting thinner, and one of the best moments of my life was when, on my 16th birthday, my mom took me clothes shopping and bought me a jacket in a size XL instead of a XXL.

In my senior year, we moved again, back to my home state but to a different city.  I threw myself into school and graduated with my Associate’s Degree at the same time I graduated high school.  My family life wasn’t working very well, and I felt stressed because I was barely 17 and was supposed to be figuring out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, when I had no idea.  I shrank into Social Anxiety Disorder and ate constantly.

In 2005 I had the opportunity to travel to England for 6 months.  When I got home, my mom asked me to leave because I was stressing my little sister and making her suicidal, despite the fact that I had been home for all of 3 days and hadn’t even seen my sister yet.  I moved in with a friend and became vegetarian.

I’m not sure how I got started on bulimia.  It was likely an outlet for me – I had no money, I was stressed, my family hated me and I was tired of being fat.  It was a control thing.  If I couldn’t control what was happening around me, at least I could control what I digested.  I ended up losing almost 100 lbs in the course of 2006, mostly through bulimia.

At the end of 2006, I was married.  I was happier, and I wanted to quit bulimia because I didn’t want to gross out my husband.  I got pregnant in June of 2007 and became what I call involuntarily bulimic – I spent the 7 months I was pregnant throwing up everything that touched my lips.  After I had my son, I was able to eat and I swore I would never throw up again.

In 2008 I went to see a counselor for postpartum depression.  She told me that I wasn’t depressed, I was just fat, and I needed to lose weight.

And thus began the downward spiral.  I’ve been trying to lose weight my entire life.  The easiest way is for me to just throw up.  I lose fast, it’s easy, I still get to eat, and everything works out great.  And yet I recognize that it’s not healthy for me to go down this path.  So I am trying to lose weight healthily, but it’s not easy.  In the past week, I ate 1400 calories a day and exercised 45 minutes a day, and I gained a pound.  The one day I threw up I lost 2 lbs.  I mean, come on.

So this is the story of my journey till now.  This is what I will be facing every day – the knowledge that I can throw anything up and it will just disappear while wreaking havoc on my esophagus, heart and mouth, or I can lose weight slowly and healthily.  My life is not easy – I have a 3 year old son who can be a terror, an extended family that can be stressful to deal with and I struggle with depression and laziness.  But I want to do this – I want to be healthy.  I want to be able to chase my kid around and teach him to eat right and be active.  I want to be under 200 lbs for the first time in 12 years!

Right now I weigh 275 lbs.  My ultimate goal weight is wherever I feel healthiest, and where my body is “normal” instead of overweight or, as I currently am, morbidly obese.  From here, that looks like between 130-150 lbs.  So I’m aiming for 140.

In my next post I’ll talk about mini-goals, how I plan to achieve my ultimate goal, the roadblocks I can see and ways to overcome them.

* Most search engines now have a block on them and don’t pull up these websites, but there are ways to get around them if you’re sneaky enough.

{December 22, 2010}   Beginning of the Beginning

Like the thousands (millions?) of other Americans, one of my goals for 2011 is to lose a crap ton of weight.  This is where it starts.

et cetera