Hi!

My name is Gabby.  

I lost half my body weight through exercise and eating right.

 I'm here to motivate you, inspire you, and make you laugh on your journey to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

The Real Reason We Get Fat

The Real Reason We Get Fat

Warning: Adult Language

Please do not read any further if you are offended by adult language.

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This is me with my little cousin. I was not yet at my top weight of 262 pounds. In this pic I weighed around 230 pounds.

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Here's a news flash for ya... Your ass being big has nothing to do with food. 

Now if you only have 10-15 pounds to lose, this article may not pertain to you. Most people who are only a few pounds overweight often find that a new lifestyle change has gotten their schedules (and bodies) out of whack. Possibly a new job, a move, or simply some extra holiday indulgence is the reason for their pants being snug lately. This article is about obesity. It's about how us fat people get fat. 

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.

Pain was the reason I got fat.

Everyone has pain. Everyone. And everyone has different pain. Pain for a million different reasons and even more combinations. Some people choose healthy and productive ways to deal with pain and some people don't. I was one of those people in the 'don't category'.

I allowed what seemed at first to be a harmless coping mechanism to become a downward spiraling food addiction. It had gotten so bad that I was losing 3-4 hours at a time from going into food comas. I would eat to the point where my sugar spiked so high that I literally could not stop myself from falling into a food induced sleep. I would have these blackouts regularly. How? How is it possible that I let my life get to this point? How is it possible that THIS is how I chose to deal with my problems? 

I wasn't ready to do something about being fat and I wasn't ready to face the real reason why I was fat. I wasn't ready or willing to deal with the pain. I used food and fullness to fill me up and make me forget about the shit that was constantly bouncing around in my brain.

Food became my drug. 

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.

I mean I'm an intelligent person for God's sake. How could I let myself get to this point? How could I pick the dumbest solution ever to a serious problem? Because it was easy. It's easy to dodge your problems. It's easy to avoid the hard work it would take to fix something. It's easy to do nothing.

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.

For the very reason that everyone has their own pain, I'm not going to spend a lot of time talking about my own pain in particular. But I do want to give you some insight on my food addiction and what set up my downfall. Knowing my back story will give you a little peak into my brain and provide a real life example that coincides with this article's content and message.

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 gram, 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 really 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. 

Skipping past all of those years of watching two of the closest people to me be ravaged with illness, let me get to my final blow. 

I was about to give birth to my first child, Gianna, and I finally started smiling again. I wanted a child more than anything and my husband and I were over the moon waiting for this little nugget to come into the world. Sure enough she made her appearance and I took one look at her and realized that no matter what I had been through, everything from here on out would be okay. 

Well everything was not okay. My baby was sick.

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. It made me anxiety ridden to think about all of the hard work it would take to dig myself out of this food hole I dug for myself. 

And guess what I'd do after I'd start thinking about this heap of shit I piled up for myself? 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. 

Because guess what's about the only thing on the planet that can mask emotional pain, even if it's only for a half hour? Yup, physical pain. 

Do you see a pattern here?

So first I ate to mask my emotional pain from losing people that I loved and to deal with my daughter's illness by using food as a drug to escape the pain that lived in my head and in my heart. Then I ate to mask my emotional pain from the realization of what I did to myself. 

So let's get this straight. I ate to hide the pain and THEN I ate to hide the pain that came from eating? Yes, I know it sounds like madness. It sounds like madness because that's exactly what it is. When you develop a food addiction, it's just like any addiction, it doesn't make sense. You use something to cope... and then that very same thing becomes your problem. 

Food addiction has nothing to do with food. 

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.

So the next time you see someone morbidly obese and wonder to yourself how they got so big, take a moment and realize that that person has been through something. Something very hurtful. Something very difficult. Soften your heart and find compassion. They are not morbidly obese because they are slobs or gluttons or weak. They are obese because they are in pain. 

And if you are the one that is morbidly obese and reading this, soften your heart and find compassion for yourself. Be kind to yourself. Be understanding and forgive yourself.

You will not be able to rise above the pain and above the problem until you look at yourself in the mirror and forgive yourself. We all run from emotional pain. We all will do anything to escape pain. We all deal with it in our own way. If food is what you used to escape, you are not alone and it's okay. Now it's time to find a different, more healthy, and more conducive way to deal with your pain. Getting healthy is more than eating right and exercising. It's also about learning to love yourself and finding ways to mend a broken soul. Learning to be kind to yourself. Learning to care for yourself just as you would care for a cherished loved one.

So how do we get fat?  

We stop taking care of ourselves and choose to run from the pain instead of dealing with it. We get so scared of the pain that we run right into the arms of an addiction. We jump into it with every ounce of our being. We jump into it willingly. Because staring the pain in the eyes is too hard. We don't think about the consequences down the road. We only want to stop the pain in the here and now, even if that means just for 30-60 minutes. We do whatever it takes to escape. We don't realize that each time the pain resurfaces, it's stronger and digs it's claws into us deeper. Sooner or later it all comes to a head and at that point we are truly at rock bottom. 

{ Here's a brutally honest account of my rock bottom.}

I'm here to tell you that no matter how low your rock bottom is, there is a way out. There is ALWAYS a way out. It takes a shit-ton of hard work and patience to climb out, but it's absolutely possible. You just have to make the choice. 

I will tell you with certainty that the pain of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice is worlds better than the pain of being a slave to addiction. And most importantly, the pain of hard work is a pain that will end with you being liberated. 

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 nothing to be ashamed of. 

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. It's time to forgive yourself and to start making better choices. It's time to mend your own broken heart through forgiveness and to mend your body through healthfulness. It's time to choose to deal with your shit. 

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.

 

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*The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content in this article is for general information purposes only. I am not a doctor, nor am I a dietitian. Talk to your physician before making any changes in your diet or exercise regimen. The information found in this article is from various sources which include, but are not limited to, the sites listed above. I encourage you to do your own research and talk with your physician before making any changes in diet or exercise. What has worked for me may not work for you. This information in this article or on this website should never replace or serve as medical advice.

NEVER DISREGARD PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL ADVICE OR DELAY SEEKING MEDICAL TREATMENT BECAUSE OF SOMETHING YOU HAVE READ ON OR HAVE ACCESSED THROUGH THIS WEB SITE.

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