Missed the first part of My Fat Story? Read more.
Food was the LOVE of my life, or so I thought. Food was someONE to turn to when I was happy, sad, depressed, or celebrating.
In 1998, I had survived college and graduated with a great job in children’s ministry. Unfortunately, the pastor where I served had someone else in mind for the position (cough… his wife) and beat insecurities into my head until I was convinced that I had to attend seminary to be accepted as a female in ministry. I packed up my stuff, kissed my parents goodbye, and headed to graduate school.
During my first job interview in Texas, my future employer asked if I was married. When I replied that I was single, he smirked and said, “Oh, you are here to get your MRS degree.” I was confused but after hearing this same phrase repeated in church, social situations, and in class at the seminary, I realized that the men in connection with the school thought that women only came to seminary to get married. Since I had no prospects for a serious relationship and had only dated one guy since high school, the feeling of failure was pressed even further into my brain.
I decided to share an apartment with an overweight friend, and together we obsessed over food. It felt liberating to be able to go into a pizza buffet and eat as much as I wanted across the table from a girl who had my same insecurities. We restaurant hopped each Sunday, and during the week, I would cook big meals for us to enjoy.
As I struggled to find purpose in my life, my depression flared, and I found myself alone in my room eating three or four candy bars at a time.
When my great grandmother passed away, I was forced to face the pastor who had run me from town at the funeral. I realized I was trying to meet his unreachable standards, that he never intended to have me on his staff again, and I decided to move home. I had completed half of my Master’s Degree in nine months while working three jobs. I came home completely depressed, burned out, weighing over 220 pounds, and had no intention of ever going to church again.
Falling in love (for real)
After returning home, my Dad insisted that I attend church. He gave me the “If you live in my house, you will live by my rules… and we go to church on Sunday” speech. He decided that we would attend a new church in the area, and honestly, it was the best thing that ever happened to me.
Upon walking in the door, I felt accepted. I established intense friendships, got very active with the youth ministry, and by 2000, I was living on my own and had great accountability with my best friend. She was super fit and I decided that I could be too. I spent hours in Bible study, trying to gain a healthy focus, and exercised for hours each week. I kept my portions small and saw the weight go away. I reached a normal, healthy weight (165 pounds for my 5 foot 9 inch height) right about the same time I met my husband.
Dating and dieting do not mix well, and meeting a man who loved me for who I was allowed me to release some of the strict dieting rules I had set for myself. We would go to restaurants late at night and I would try to find the best choice on the menu but often failed. When my back failed, I was laid out on the couch for weeks. He would bring me chocolate, and I would eat it without a complaint. When we struggled with his family’s acceptance of our engagement, our best friends would bring me chocolate, and again… I would eat it without complaint and as quickly as possible.
By the time we were married in June 2001, after just nine short months of dating and engagement, my weight was back up to 188 pounds, and I almost did not fit into my wedding dress.
And all of this was before fertility drugs and a financial disaster.
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