Sunday, January 25, 2015

New Column: Workout Wednesdays

Pictured at my friend Faye's Wedding in 1988
By Laurie Epps

I wasn't always heavy. I didn't start out this way. Most of the people in my family aren't heavy either. But this is my story. I know I'm not the only woman out there that has fought this battle. This column is meant to be encouragement for the people that struggle with some of the issues in regards to weight loss.

The picture at the right, most people would consider me to be in my best shape. I ran marathons, did martial arts, participated in triathlons, and practiced ballet. I've danced with both the Atlanta Ballet, and the San Diego Ballet. But I was also malnourished and very sick in this picture. I had anorexia. I weighed in at a whopping 112 pounds, and it was waif like on my 6'0" tall frame. Yet, I looked in the mirror and I saw a fatso. I couldn't exercise enough, and I couldn't eat too little.
A Year after having my second baby in 1997

My Fitness History

Let's back up a bit, and talk about babies. While I was pregnant with my first two babies, I gained 60-80 pounds per baby. I never did lose all the weight in between. The doctors couldn't figure out my weight gain with my first baby because I vomited violently all day, every day, every time I ate. I was hospitalized many times for dehydration with my first child. My second baby never attached to the uterine wall, so I was on bedrest the entire time. I'm sure that sitting around didn't help with my weight gain. After my second baby, I was diagnosed with hypo-thyroidism which the doctors attributed my weight gain to, and endometriosis which also stalled out my workouts once a month. After my second baby, my goal was to weigh less than 200 pounds. That's still the plan.

Moving back East, Holidays 2005
Working out has always been part of my life, much like getting my nails done. Without it, I go into a deep depression. Yet, when I moved to the Upstate of SC in 2006 with my ex husband, I threw it to the wayside. Not because of him, but because we decided to have another baby. That lead to a trail of tears, complete with three miscarriages, a myomectomy, and the birth of our youngest child. Bed rest wasn't kind to me, or to my body. I tried a lot of things. I walked with a woman from church in between miscarriages, and we're talking 3-4 miles per day. Between my third miscarriage and my pregnancy with my youngest, I even joined a gym for about three months, and lost 30-35 pounds. 

Graduation Day, May 3, 2014
Somehow, having that third baby changed everything. From my marriage dynamics to my lifestyle. I wanted to feel better about myself, so I went back to college when my little one was two. Second semester in, already I was having drama with my cycle. I went to the doctor, and that spring semester I fought a battle with uterine cancer. As soon as school let out, after Mother's Day, I had my hysterectomy. I started asking about working out again nearly right away, but the doctors didn't release me to work out again until a year later. That was about the time my ex husband left.

Christmas Eve, 2014
Two years have passed and I've still not worked out. Well, until recently. Since then, I graduated college with a bachelor's in English, and now I've started my graduate studies in secondary education. Now I'm approaching 300 pounds, and I really don't want to break it. I started keeping a journal back in September, and for a short time, I even kept a record of what I ate. I found that my caloric intake, was too low if anything. But one night, my 18 year old was mad at me and yelled, "You're always sitting at your desk writing, or on the couch writing." I know she said this in anger, but then I realized my problem was inactivity. With so much of my life out of my control right now, the one thing I had the power to change was my behavior. So I joined the local Gold's Gym, and I've decided to share my journey. This is to help my readers not give up, and it'll remind me not to give up either. Won't you take this journey with me?

Laurie Epps is a recent graduate of Anderson University majoring in Creative Writing. Already Laurie is most published as a feature article writer, essayist, and poet.  A seeker of beauty, her is dream is to travel the world one day and tell the many stories of those she meets. Columns include: Monday Morning Book Club, and Thoughtful Thursdays, a column dedicated to the fine art of poetry.

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