* The page that you are on right now (www.halfofgabby.blogspot.com) is no longer posting new articles and information. Half of Gabby has moved to www.halfofgabby.com and will continue to post new material regularly! In addition, all older articles have been updated on the new site!
When I was morbidly obese (262 pounds, 5'4" tall), I would always say that it was because I loved food. Being on the other side of my weight loss journey, I know for certain that was a bunch of horse shit. Yes, I loved food. That part wasn't a lie. I loved food then and I love food now. But my love for food wasn't WHY I was fat.
Why did I get fat?
The real reason I was fat? It's simple really.
Pain was the reason I got fat.
Food was how I numbed myself. It was my escape. It was what I ran to when I didn't want to feel anymore. I'm not sure how the logic in somebody's brain can get so fucked up. I would consciously eat until I had so much physical pain that it was impossible to feel anything else. It gave me a reprieve from my emotional pain. You don't have to deal with your brain when your belly feels like it's going to actually explode. You don't have to deal with your real life problems when you're too busy trying not to throw up. And you sure as hell don't have to deal with anything at all when you're blacked out for four hours.
I know this sounds insane to some of you, but believe me it really does happen. It happens more than you would ever think it does. Food addiction is real. It's not just something fat people make up to use as an excuse for being fat. It's real and it's debilitating. It steals your health and your quality of life from you.
But there's a big problem with the easy way out.
The easy way out turns into something very different. It becomes a black hole. An abyss. The whole time you think you're avoiding pain, but you're really just making it worse. By the time you figure that out, you're in deep shit.
My pain didn't result from one thing in particular. I would more accurately describe it as a slow build up that then got hit with a final blow.
When I was a teenager, my dad was terminally ill. His sickness was lengthy and painful to watch. When I lost him, I felt like piece of me went with him. We were always sidekicks, two peas in a pod. I lost my dad at the age of 25. I am now 43 and I can honestly say I still haven't fully dealt with his death. I still become a puddle when I let myself relish in memories of him or talk of him.
At the same time I lost my dad, my gramma, who was like a second mama to me, became ill with stage 4 colon cancer. She miraculously battled through the cancer only to be stricken a few years later with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), which took her life. Losing her was beyond difficult. She had lived with us my whole life. She truly was like a mom to me. She was my sounding board, my confidant. To others she didn't call me Gabby, she would say "My Gabby." It's difficult to lose your number one fan. I miss her dearly.
I've always been the type of person that buried my own pain and tried to be everything for everybody else, putting my own needs aside. I'd like to say that I did this because I'm a selfless person and that I want to make the world a better place through kindness, but knowing what I know now, that just isn't the case. It's a part of it for sure, but it certainly isn't the biggest part. You see, I never truly dealt with the loss of my father and my grandmother. I guess I figured if I helped everyone else with their problems and their grief that I wouldn't have to deal with mine. It's a helluva lot easier helping other people get over obstacles than it is jumping over your own.
I mean think about it, what better way to ignore your own problems than to take on everyone else's? I never said no to anyone. I did favor after favor for everyone constantly. I got to avoid my own shit AND I got praised for it because I was being such a 'nice' person. Positive reinforcement at its finest, folks. Man, that's genius, right? WRONG. I was being kind for the wrong reasons and I only hurt myself by delaying and avoiding what I knew needed to be done and dealt with. I made my schedule as busy as it could possibly be so that I'd never run into a string of days at home, alone with my thoughts. And if I was home, I was eating... and avoiding.
Today I still do favors and give of myself, but now I mean them. But I say no a lot more. I put my family's and my own needs before others now. I make sure that I have my shit handled. So if I say yes to you, just know it's because I really, really like you and that I truly want to help your ass out. If I say no to you, it's not because I don't want to help you, but that I have pressing needs or activities that need tending to. My most precious few and myself come first, everybody else comes second. I would hope those in my life do the same and if I ask a favor at a bad time, then simply tell me that. Believe me, I will respect it.
To make a very, very long story short, my daughter was born with an extremely rare neurological disease that causes seizure-like episodes along with constant and extreme stomach pain which prevents sleep as well as eating. Although the disease itself is not fatal, the pain sometimes causes infants to shut down, refuse to eat, and pass away from Failure to Thrive (FTT).
Gia's constant episodes mimicked catatonic seizures. While she would stare off and be unresponsive, her body would twist like a pretzel. It was the scariest shit I'd ever seen and watching this happen to my child was unbearable. These episodes happened daily and at least 2-3 times a week would land us in the ER. This was our life for 24 months. Only 50% of children who are afflicted get better. The other half suffers with this for the rest of their lives.
By the grace of God, Gia got better. She had her last attack one week before she turned two. The disease left her grossly behind in physical development. She was not able to walk until she was two and a half and not able to run until well past turning four. However, despite her physical obstacles, she beamed from ear to ear each day. She was pain free. Her little warrior spirit was able to soar.
I will NEVER stop being grateful. Her health was the single most blessed gift I have ever been given. And my heart truly breaks for all of the children who battle sickness each and every day and for their parents who are still waiting for the miracle they pray for each and every night. I don't know why my daughter was given her health back, but I will never forget how incredibly lucky we are and I will never stop being grateful.
Those two years seemed like a lifetime. I had never known true fear until she was born sick. By the time Gia was two years old and had battled through her rough entry into the world, my entire head was filled with gray hairs, my soul had been battered and worn out, and I had eaten myself into an abyss so deep that I was over 120 pounds overweight.
Yup, I'd eat. I'd eat and eat and eat until I was so friggin full that I could think of nothing other than how bad my stomach hurt.
It's about trying to escape pain, like all addictions. Do you think anyone addicted to alcohol or drugs is drinking or using because they like how it makes them feel? Hell no. They started using in the first place to escape something. What did they want to escape, you ask? Pain. They want to escape some kind of pain, past or present. But it is inevitable, what starts out as your escape eventually becomes the problem, one far bigger than the one that made you escape in the first place.
A weight loss journey isn't truly about losing weight, that's just the side effect. A weight loss journey is just that, a journey. One that will open up old wounds that demand to be dealt with, one that forces you to grow as a human being, and one that results in you becoming the best version of yourself, the person you were always meant to be.
Being fat is a product of poor choices in dealing with pain. Being fat is not who you are but what you've been through. It's time to stop being upset with yourself about being fat and start ridding yourself of the shame that you feel because of it.
It's time to declare to yourself that you are worthy and important regardless of your size and how you got this way.
This isn't about how big your ass is anymore. It's about how big your life is. I'm here to remind you that you only get one... and the clock is ticking.