So thrilled to announce my weekly column with The Kingston Whig Standard! Check out my first article (February 22, 2013) here, or just keep reading!
My Journey to Health and Happiness
Editor’s note: Today, the Whig is pleased to introduce a weekly column by Molly Daley, who will write a weekly health and lifestyle column drawing from her past, which has seen her struggle with obesity and anorexia in her life.
The beginning of my story is an all too common one these days. Growing up just outside of New York City, I was a “normal” kid. I then became a “chubby” kid, and finally, I became a “fat” kid.
I really, really loved food.
We’re talking start-out-my-morning-with-a-cheese-danish-as-a-breakfast-appetizer-before-my-maple-syrup-and-powdered-sugar-laden-french-toast kind of love. And that love turned into an unhealthy, abusive love.
I hit 100 pounds in Grade 2, and got teased and bullied — a lot. I started to feel self-conscious about my weight, my body, and myself, and my unhealthy relationship got worse. Food made me feel good. Food was always there to be my friend, and I clung to that chocolate chip ice cream like it was my only friend in the world.
I began sneaking to the bathroom to eat in private. I started hiding whole bags of cookies in my toy boxes. I was like an alcoholic who hides a fix in every room.
Except it was tollhouse, not Tanqueray.
The bullying got worse and the number on the scale got higher.
By Grade 7, I weighed more than my father. I dreaded going to the doctor (those scales!), and the summer was a series of embarrassments. Shorts were a no-no because my thighs rubbed together so severely when I walked that I had awful, painful chaffing. The beach was terrifying, the pool no longer fun. I was wearing a women’s size 14 and let me tell you, that look isn’t great on someone under five feet.
Obesity is defined (roughly) as 30 or more pounds overweight. I was obese, and I’ve still got the stretch marks to prove it. Something changed, though, around the time I began high school. My family moved to Florida and once I got over the initial panic of year ’round swimsuits, I had a realization. It dawned on me that I didn’t have to be the “fat kid” at my new school. A fresh start that I simply couldn’t afford to waste. It was my only chance.
I started to become aware of what was going in my mouth. I managed my portions. I rode my bike.
Forty pounds fell off.
I really liked how it felt to lose weight. Everyone was telling me how great I looked. I didn’t have uniform skirts that went down to my ankles before they got hemmed! BOYS looked at me! And most importantly, the bullying stopped. The relief was truly unimaginable. I wasn’t skinny, but I wasn’t fat either, and that felt really, really good.
By my third year of high school, I started to like that feeling a little too much. I walked the line between healthy and obsessive. By senior year, that line was a distant memory. If I ate dinner and didn’t throw it up, I considered the day a failure.
I went away to university and got worse. A lot worse. My eating disorder completely controlled me; there was simply nothing else. I wore the enamel off of my teeth. Restaurants petrified me. And aside from going to the gym, I slept all day to avoid hunger.
I made myself sick so frequently that I began to vomit blood.
I was out of control, terrified, and ashamed, yet my eating disorder was the only thing that comforted me.
I started treatment about three years ago, and can happily say that I don’t recognize the person that I used to be. An eating disorder isn’t like a traditional disease. There is no miraculous cure; it isn’t like coming down with a case of the measles. But these days I am healthy, happy, and proud of my journey. I prioritize my health as opposed to my weight. I am truly grateful. While a part of my brain may never be happy with “only” my size two body, I have my life back, and I wouldn’t trade it for all of the double-zero jeans in the world.
Why am I telling you all this?
Well, I’m a girl who has run the proverbial gamut of weight issues (when you have both obesity and anorexia in your past, you’re covering a lot of ground), so no matter where you are in your fitness-and-health journey, it is likely a place I’ve been as well.
I’m going to share healthy recipes with you — recipes that you’ll actually want to eat.
I’m going to share workout advice with you — advice that you’ll actually be able to use.
I’m going to share my commentary on some elements of the diet and exercise industry, which can be such a laughable one at times. You name it, I’ve tried it, and I’ll let you know what I think.
And I’m going to share the tips, tricks, and general wealth of wellness knowledge that comes with living through two lifetimes worth of weight struggles well before my 30th birthday.
I hope you’ll join me here each week and let me make your wellness journey a little less challenging, intimidating, and a lot more fun.
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