I’ve never been thin but one thing that was consistent about me was that my weight was constant. Yes, I was constantly overweight. Never by much (like 10 pounds) but it was always enough to make me feel self-conscious. After all, I had to compete with the likes of Twiggy. Nonetheless, my weight fluctuated between 135 and 140 on my 5’6″ Italian frame during my 20’s and 30’s. When I married the first time in 1974, I could barely contain my weight at 135. When I married again in 1987, I was 170 pounds. To be fair and honest, however, I looked good! I was Italian and we’re ample in all the right places. Also, I was a perfect size 9. And 11. And 12. And 14. (I never went above a size 14 which was the same size as Marilyn Monroe)
At age 66, my weight was 185. This may sound like a lot of weight to most people but again, I was tall, sorta thin ( I looked good in jeans) and had a solid, sorta athletic body (I walked an awful lot!) I was always health conscious about what I ate. I rarely ate dessert. I never food binged mindlessly in front of a TV. I NEVER eat popcorn, candy, soda or anything for that matter at a movie theater! I sorta kept track of everything I ate. I felt that as long as I looked ‘presentable’ I was doing AOK. I weighed myself often. And yes, I have always looked like I needed to lose 10 pounds. Probably since birth!
Something happened to me two years ago. I don’t know what it was but I started gaining weight. Slowly at first. I shrugged it off. It was only a pound or two. But then I got to the danger cut off zone: the two hundred mark. Let me advise you that I have never, ever, not even for a microsecond ever hit the two hundred pound mark. Till now. Yup, I got on my doc’s scale and the needle read at 200+. I was devastated. BUT I did absolutely nothing to change the direction of the needle. I just shrugged it off and accepted it.
I knew deep down inside that this was NOT me. I couldn’t figure myself out. Why was I doing this to myself? I couldn’t come up with any answers and I couldn’t stop myself. I had become addicted to desserts. For some strange reason, I was starting to have dessert after my dinners. In fact, I was eating a dessert each and every day. That included ice cream, donuts, pies, cakes, cookies, candy (I loved Jelly Bellies), butternut crunch bars, milk chocolate and almonds, caramel popcorn. What was my total downfall? Buying all this stuff was expensive, till I found the discount aisle at my local grocery store. Being the true frugalista that I am, I discovered the low, low prices of desserts in the day-old aisles right next to the in-house bakery!
Exhibit Numero Uno: Discount Cannoli (every Italian’s wet cream dream). Instead of paying $3.00 each, I was able to get day-old cannolis for only a dollar each!
I knew I had an addiction problem but I couldn’t stop. I actually went through withdrawal pains if I tried to stop. I wanted a slice of cheesecake! I wanted apple pie a’la mode. I hungered for candy. Any candy. I had a problem and I didn’t know how to get myself out of it. I wasn’t slightly overweight anymore. I was downright obese! I was actually fat! So much so, I couldn’t put on a pair of jeans!
OK. So what did I do? The only thing I knew what to do when times for me got desperate: I prayed. I prayed for God to release me from my addiction. Just like He does for alcoholics and crack addicts. But God never answered my prayers. I just kept on eating desserts. This went on for months and numerous doctor visits. The scale kept climbing and climbing.I got so disgusted with myself that one afternoon me, myself and I had an all-out, blow-out screaming match. I yelled out to myself “Why are you doing this?” and without blinking or thinking, I blurted out “Because I’m so unhappy“.
I was shocked at my answer.
I thought I had given myself every single thing I wanted. I thought I was doing whatever I was doing because that’s what I wanted to do. Turns out, I wasn’t happy at all. But when I sat down for a dinner or lunch, when I ate that dessert, I made myself feel happy. When I popped candy into my mouth, it was like a drug. It kept up my level of happiness. And I wanted that euphoric feeling to last all.day.long. I finally discovered what was wrong with me and why I was overeating.
I wasn’t happy.
Instantly, the realization released me from my ‘dependency’ on desserts. I know this sounds crazy that someone can be addicted to cheesecake and chocolate fudge sundaes (with chopped walnuts on top) but I was! Once I found out how unhappy I was, my desire for desserts came to a screeching halt. Now when I look at a key lime pie, crumb cake or apple spice donut, I gag. I want to vomit. For 66 years I cringed at desserts. Now? After two years, I was back to being my old self. I was back to figuring out how to make me truly happy. It certainly wasn’t found at the bottom of a butterscotch pudding bar!
And there you have it. It’s been several weeks since I’ve had a desert and my weight has been coming down slowly but steadily. I’m more health conscious than I was before. I make everything I put in my mouth count now. It has to be good for me or I just won’t eat it. I’ve stopped eating red meat, pork or anything heavy that would drag me down.
I guess God wanted me to find out for myself what my problem was rather than perform some instant miracle. I suppose it was a process. I was just saddened to think that for 2 years I was so unhappy and just didn’t know it. My goal is to get myself back to 185 pounds. 170 would be better but I am not going to put any pressure on myself. Thankfully, I haven’t tossed away any of my regular clothes. They are sitting on my shelf waiting for my return.
In the interim, I’m walking the peaceful Italian walk I used to enjoy as a child. Everything in moderation. Balanced and peaceful. You won’t find Twiggy here in Umbria. She’s been banished to Rome!